By paring down their possessions, your children can stop being overwhelmed by having too much stuff.
Summer is a great time to include the kids in your de-cluttering and organizing. Many parents work hard to find lots of educational and fun camps for their kids for the summer. But your home can be a great educational camp that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and will make going back to school a smoother process.
Do your kids have too many things?
One skill that is not taught in the classroom but is a vital part of your kids' lives is personal space management and home maintenance. If you are cleaning your kids' rooms for them (or just letting their rooms go), you are robbing them of the opportunity to learn these skills. Our job as parents is to train our kids to govern themselves responsibly and we need to begin early, allowing them time and guidance to practice those skills.
However, I am in many homes where the parents have “over-loved” their kids and their rooms look like mini clothing stores and toy shops. If you have over-loved your kids, then you need to apologize and be realistic about how much they can maintain. Don’t expect your kids to clean up something that overwhelms you!
From school folders to those crayon masterpieces, there’s a lot that needs organizing when you have school-age children. (And what about getting those lunches packed before the bus arrives?) Luckily, Angie’s List is here to help:
● From book bags to wardrobe: Get a handle on all that school stuff.
● Five ways to organize your child’s artwork.
● Need more back-to-school organizing advice? Listen to the podcast!
How to curb kids’ clutter
Plan a camp week at home to get your kids' rooms in a manageable state. Break the room into zones and do a little bit each day, with a craft or activity planned after the day’s work is done.
Here are some zone suggestions:
● Toys and games.
To keep kids from being overwhelmed, only tackle one zone a day. Encourage your kids to choose their favorite items from each zone and put those away in the most easily accessible areas (known as prime real estate).
If you are not sure how many favorites to keep out, use the age of your child as a guide. For example, if they are five years old then they can have easy access to five stuffed animals, five games, five toys or groups of toys, etc. As they show the ability to maintain each zone, then you can always add more back in.
Once they have all their favorites put away, they can help you make decisions on what gets packed away for toy/game rotation, saved for a sibling or passed on to the thrift store.
RELATED: Creating the perfect playroom
‘Clean your room!’ — in 10 minutes
Once you’ve helped them cut their possessions to a manageable number, your children should not have to spend more than 10 minutes a day cleaning up their room.
How can you help? Make sure they have:
● A small trash can.
● A laundry basket.
● Drawers and organizing bins that they can manage.
● A bed they can easily make.
To make it more fun for the kids, make or purchase a simple daily chore chart. They can check off each day as they complete their tasks and work toward a fun activity or item to use in their room.
Chore charts work beautifully to decrease stress at home and to create the teamwork effect that you want to foster in your family. Our kids need to know that they are an important part of the family team.
Teaching how to be organized
Most parents would not even think of throwing their child into the deep end of the pool without any swim lessons. But many parents send their kids off to college with no lessons in personal or home management, and without home organization skills.
Start today teaching your kids these life skills. Then one day you can send your young adults off to college with the confidence that they can take care of themselves because they have learned and practiced the necessary skills.
If you haven’t learned these life skills for yourself, seek help and learn along with your kids!
As of February 9, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.