Parents are reporting that even though kids are helping with chores (see our previous blog), their house still seems chaotic. Have you used your senses to figure out why? You see, it’s not just about having a clean toilet and the dishes done. Clutter = chaos and everything from the set-up of furniture to the texture of the carpet, the colors on the walls, the blinking of light fixtures, the smell of a dog, and the noises from a dripping faucet … environmental senses contribute to behaviors. Doesn’t it make sense that your senses contribute to your mood?
I had a rare moment of quiet time today to do some paper work, but every little noise the house made was making me feel paranoid, so I thought I’d get up and do some chores (sound sense = felt nervous = reaction was to distract by cleaning). I became annoyed because chores seemed to be taking too long and I hada whole list of to-do’s ahead of me … So, I stepped back and assessed the situation and questioned how to optimize time (which added time, but was later beneficial).
Since keeping supplies at a consistent and easy to reach location is often key to clean-up flow, I rearranged things where they would be easy to use and put back away quickly. My colander is now hanging above my sink – because I use the colander to drain things in the sink. Not rocket science, I just took some time (to save time later) … Part of my chaos contained = happy mom. Although most cleaning products are on a shelf in the laundry room, some things need to be accessible in the kitchen for quick clean ups – and easily accessible for kids to learn how to clean up their own messes. So, I rearranged under the sink with a lil’ broom, stool, etc… to encourage independence = happy mom:
Later I had my kids use their senses and re-arrange other areas to encourage independence & calm activities = happy & calm kids. Well, here is how my 6yr old designed his own room:
This picture may not be worth pinning – but it shows that it’s HIS room, it’s not adult styled. HIS interests are displayed, but not over-stimulating. Toys are accessible, but limited, and we switch out what toys (and desk supplies) are available to keep him entertained…. ALL his clothes are in his closet so no dresser is needed creating more floor space (shelves in the closet make it easy for him to put own clothes away). We simplified and smallified (ok I made up that word) … because by making things child-sized we encouraged competence and comfort. By allowing him to decide on decorations and materials he gains a sense of pride, which results in becoming accountable for his own belongings. You’ll find that when kids care about their belongings and independence is encouraged your ears won’t hear “I’m bored” as often – which is often when chaos starts. Chaos is also minimal when kids understand what is expected of them. Give structure, but also options. Try posting a schedule of “what time is it” and offering activities for when they really are board. “It’s play time, would you rather play with blocks, or trains or color?”
Now it’s your turn. Re-sense your home creating independence by providing tools and re-organizing to save time. Another time for chaos is when parents/caregivers are busy – so create time savors so you have more time to interact. Create quick clean-up ways to add time for more play = chaos to calm = happy home.
Some ideas for organization and housekeeping have been added to our Pinterest link.
Also check out these books by Logrippo:
In My World: Designing Living & Learning Environments
In My Room: Designing for and With Children
Check out our blog next week for more ideas & resources!