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.
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
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.
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.
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 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