Posts Tagged: kids

Getting Your Play Room Organized for 2015!

It’s January and we’ve probably all pledged to be more organized in 2015.  My best advice to get you off to a great start is to tackle the kids play room.   After all, it’s the mass amount of toys we trip over that makes us feel like our whole house is messy! Check out these helpful toy storage ideas and playroom ideas.

1.  DOWNSIZE

The rule of thumb is that kids should be able to clean up the entire playroom independently (yes – I know, we’ll get to that issue in a minute) in about 5 minutes.    Most playrooms simply have too much stuff.  It’s an overwhelming task for a preschooler.

It’s time to cull the toy herd and find room for the new Christmas toys.  This does not mean running around with a green garbage bag threatening to give your kids’ toys to children who DO care about their toys.  (Haven’t we all had that parental fit?) Instead, it’s a group project to help create a new kids playroom environment that is more user-friendly.

2. PITCH / DONATE / STORE/ CREATE LIBRARY

Have the kids help you decide what needs to be thrown out (i.e. dried out markers) and what needs to be donated to goodwill. Some dolls and toys may no longer be played with, but they might be sentimental – those can be kept in a keepsake box.   That leaves the rest of the toys that are still in current use.  But here is the kicker – I’m betting dollars to donuts it’s STILL more than kids can clean in 5 minutes.  So here is my idea: create your own “toy lending library” or storage space.

Populate the kids toy room with a selection of toys:

    •             2 puzzles
    •             8 books
    •             1 connector set
    •             4 costumes
    •             1 riding toy
    •             etc…

You get the basic idea.  Have the kids pick what they would like to have out this week and then place the rest away in storage. Let them know that next week they can return the 8 books and pick 8 new ones from storage.  Refresh and circulate the toys weekly. This way they will be excited to see their old toys again! Even toys that were sitting out but ignored previously will create excitement again.

3.  EVERYTHING HAS A HOME

Make the playroom organized with toy storage solutions, like shelves and bins and baskets so your children know where every toy goes to “sleep” at the end of the day.   Make sure your toy storage is kid-friendly and easy to reach.

4.  CLEAN UP EVERY DAY

If you want your child to learn to be responsible, they need to understand the basic idea of cleaning up after themselves. It begins with playroom clean up and is an essential life lesson to teach children. To do this, explain to your child that it’s their job to clean up after they play with house cleaning tips. Help them in the beginning by giving instructions:  “Can you put the ball in the basket? Can you put the doll back in her crib?” Even a 16-month old can follow these simple instructions.

5. BE CONSISTENT

Make sure you are consistent in making clean up the child’s job.  If you sometimes do the clean up, or tidy up MORE after they are done, they won’t believe it’s really their job. Consistency is a key ingredient in any learning model.  It’s easier to learn if 2+3 always adds up to 5.

6.  ROUTINES

You will also find it’s easier to teach a child about cleaning up if you make it part of the family routine so it needs to happen at a regular time in the family schedule.  If you always clean up before dinner or bedtime snack, you reinforce the schedule. Say “FIRST we clean and THEN we eat”.   If they play or goof off, ignore them until they ask for dinner or a snack and then simply remind them of the family routine: “Yes, you may have a snack, but FIRST we clean up and THEN we have snack”.   After a few nights they will put it together and start cleaning up before dinner without fights or reminders.

[CONTEST ALERT]

Don’t forget to label all those toy bins and storage containers!  Need a bit of help organizing? Get 25% off all Household Labels at www.mabelslabels.com

Win a prize pack of Household Labels! Head on over to Instagram and post a photo of the messy room you need help organizing with #HelpMeMabel and tag @MabelsLabels and you could win!

Contest is open from 9:00am January 13, 2015 to 11:59pm January 15, 2015. Good luck!

 

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

 

Remember the good old days of PB & J?

When we were kids lunches were just peanut butter and jam slapped on bread, a juice box and that was that. Now things are more complicated and you’re probably already sick to death of making your child’s school lunches. With allergies and litter free restrictions and your own kids’ preferences lunches can’t be just a sandwich anymore.  Here are a few brown bag lunch ideas to spruce up the old ho hum ordeal.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Jennifer Chait

Think outside of the bread box. Here are some lunch options that forgo the bread and some school approved fillings:

  • Romaine, Swiss chard, steamed kale leaves or Boston lettuce as wraps
  • Rice paper wraps (they make great day old salad holders)
  • Grilled Portobello mushrooms stuffed with filling of your choice
  • Apple slices stacked with cheddar cheese
  • Use skewers to layer fruits
  • Baby pita used for dipping; layer bean burrito fillings: refried beans, cheese, salsa…in mini containers.
  • Hollowed out cucumber stuffed with tuna
  • Celery filled with cream cheese
  • Red pepper halves hold everything nicely

Jazz up fillings by turning them into salad toppers. Try:

  • Tuna, olives, grapes chopped celery
  • Cooked potatoes, chick peas, curry powder and yogurt
  • Salmon, dill, chopped kale, honey mustard
  • Feta cheese, chopped peppers steamed Brussels sprouts, oregano
  • Frozen spinach, blue cheese, mayo, dried thyme, chopped garlic

Slap this list on the fridge and take a look at it whenever you want to avoid the brownbag burnout.

Here is a healthy recipe for a delicious sandwich that all can enjoy!

 

Baby Kale Caesar Salad Sandwiches

This mixture is equally good cold or grilled. If you want to take it for lunch, keep the salad filling separate until you are ready to enjoy and pre-scoop the buns.  Keep insides and break up onto a cookie sheet, toast in oven and then blend into breadcrumbs. (If you want to go low carb or paleo, simply swap the bread for rice or lettuce wraps!)

Makes: 4     Takes:15 minutes

4 whole grain Kaisers or Rolls

2 boiled eggs

½ cup silken tofu

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy mustard

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

8 cups baby kale leaves or other hearty greens

Mash boiled eggs with tofu, parmesan, anchovy paste, lemon zest, juice, mustard, vinegar, oil and garlic.  Mix well and toss with kale. Scoop out the centre of each roll. Stuff into bread bowls.

If you wish to have a hot sandwich, add a layer of shaved parmesan and grill on a Panini press or in a skillet, pressing to flatten.

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Back-to-school blues or celebration? + Contest!

It’s nearly here. It’s really happening. The day many parents have been waiting for – the day the children return to school. Elementary school, or high school, it makes no difference, this time of year is fraught with mixed emotions. Children and parents everywhere are both excited and nervous.

So, as a mama who has six kids to get out the door, I thought I’d take what I’ve learned over the years and create a FREE e-book to help other parents out. Because let’s face it we all like to get free stuff and we could all use a little help this time of year! Yes there are many free books online but this one is chock full of great advice such as transitioning from summer mode to back to school, how to deal with social issues and of course, some of my favourite products for back to school shopping.

Make this the year that back to school goes smoothly with school organization tips! Download your free Ultimate Back to School Guide here!

 

More free stuff – a contest!

Another product that makes back to school easier of course, are our labels. But if you haven’t already bought your Ultimate Back to School Combo or are in need of another don’t panic! Since time is running out on this combo offered only until Sept 30th, I’ve decided to have a give-away.

Simply comment below and let us know how you’re feeling about sending the kids back to school and you’ll be entered to win your very own Ultimate Back to School Combo!

This contest is open from 8pm EST August 31 to 11:59pm EST September 1, 2014

 

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