The Christmas Holiday is almost here and we really need to make room for more toys! In my opinion, we must remain very flexible when introducing an organizing system to young children. I would suggest that we keep it simple! Many times, the organizing system looks really “neat & organized”, but it may not be very practical and difficult to maintain.
With any new organizing system that we introduce, we must take the time to explain the system, how it is to be used and the benefits to the child as well as the parent. Organizing is a learned behavior — repetition, repetition, repetition and reward, reward, reward!
We have three (3) main objectives:
- We really want them to put their toys (and maybe clothes too?) away.
- We want them to be able to find the toy(s) that they play with most, without emptying the entire toy box every time.
- Periodically, we want to purge their toys, with their help, to make room for new toys. I’d suggest that you start a trade-off system, for each toy you give your child, they should also give up/donate a toy that they no longer play with.
We also need to make clean-up time fun!
- Music always seems to make clean-up time go a little faster (that goes for adults too.)
- Try to make clean-up time a game…. Toss the Toy, Hot Potato…. I don’t know I am trying to be creative.
- Maybe we could try not to play with all the toys, all the time. Of course, we have to remain flexible, but if we divided playtime up into smaller segments, we could clean-up as we go.
- Doll time, Dress-up time, Lego time, Race car time, etc. etc. Again, I am trying to be creative. 🙂
Remember, if the play/clean-up time becomes a routine (repetition, repetition, repetition), it will not appear as restrictive…. and the reward, reward, reward would be less clean-up time!
School has started… We suggest that you set the clock 30 min. early to allow a little extra time to snooze…. and time to make sure the kids get out of bed, because you may have to ask more than once. Then….
• Breakfast… VERY IMPORTANT! We all need energy to get through our day. Our children need nutrition to stay focused.
• Wash, dress and get ready.
• PRAY for your kids.
• PRAY for your patience with them! They may have had a rough day too. Reading, Writing and ‘rithmetic can be taxing on the brain.
Make a to-do list, to include what happens after school, i.e. family time, dinner, homework, etc. Remember, patience!
Let’s talk about our pre-schoolers & elementary schoolers. We have bought the “school” clothes, uniforms and some of the school supplies. Our summer routine is over and the “back to school” routine begins… Now pray for your strength and patience! We’d suggest that you start preparing for each school day as early as you can. I would suggest that the day/night before…
<>Lay out the clothes, shoes, socks, etc. Leave nothing to chance.
<> Prepare the lunch (or secure the lunch money) and the book bag.
Routines take practice. Things will not always go as planned, but you do need a plan. Don’t forget to take DEEP breaths often. Take each day as it comes and be the best that we can be. We must embrace our children, no matter how old they are, even when they are doing somersaults on our very LAST nerve, they are ours and we love them more than words can describe!
Do your children remember what they received for Christmas last year? Or the year before? Or the year before that????
Unfortunately, as parents, we are not always concious of what our children play with from year to year, we simply add to the existing toys and keep it moving. Then we get frustrated when there is no more room for not another toy! So here’s the Secret… We, as parents, have the right and privilege to sort through and purge our children’s toys, although it may be a very difficult task!
I would like to suggest that we take this opportunity (depending on the child’s age) to teach our children a valuable lesson. I believe that it is our responsibility to help our children to understand that there are those that are less fortunate than they are. Many are in our neighborhoods and most definitely, in our classrooms. It may be simply letting them know that we are just making room for their new toys.