Ideas and questions are rolling in and its’ hard to pick where to continue, but since a couple parents latched on to the kids taking care of their own belongings – we’ll go that direction.
In the LAST BLOG I mentioned our star chart idea for encouraging independent clean-up with my own kids. I’m happy to announce that it’s been working. In fact because the stars worked I can now replace old star points with harder tasks – like: 1 star for cleaning up ALL your stuff (this includes everything from their backpacks to their toys…), next star is for helping with an extra parent – assigned chore (like put away dishes or fold laundry), third star is for if we see a kid doing a chore without being asked. The same rewards / penalties as the last chart. While working in homes I’ve found that if you change up how they earn the stars the chart ideas don’t fade out so quickly (and you don’t need to up the reward). Just make sure they understand the first chart and follow through before any changes.
Consider purchasing small sized tools, such as lil’ brooms … and storing rags within reach for inevitable spills. When things are smaller and accessible kids can control their own environment and therefore feel more empowered to help out and care for themselves. Often this is where chaos starts… “I wanta do it all by myself, but I can’t!” So make everything you can (not the cleaning products, knives, etc…) accessible to them. Create storage bins that they can easily see what’s inside of with clear containers, open shelves, or pictured labels.
I recommend limiting the number of toys, games, etc… that are available for “free play” times. Keep everything else out of reach – and sight. We keep most things in the basement / play room, but limit what is in bedrooms for less chaos and easier clean up. Our kids enjoy changing what toys are in their rooms. Have you tried rotating toys in and out of circulation? Let your kids pick which ones they want out, encouraging them to try new things and not to just stick with their favorites every day. They will become more engaged in activities and be more encouraged to care for their things. Before you know it their space with go from this …
To This! And they will be proud of themselves because they did it – themselves!
As you can see, we don’t have the fanciest of shelves or organizational bins – we just use what we have, what we can build, or what we can find at the dollar store… Organization doesn’t have to be expensive and time consuming. In fact – until you’re sure that your kids are past the drawing on things with crayons stage – I wouldn’t buy the best equipment / furniture – I would buy durable and washable … and teach them to wash it up! For ideas on age/stage appropriate chores – check out housekeeping & organization tips on our Pinterest site.