A Guest Post by Jo C.
When you have kids, maintaining a tidy home can feel like an uphill battle. You just have so much stuff to contend with (literally and figuratively)! There’s also the need to balance housework with quality time spent with your kids. But, who’s to say the two are mutually exclusive?
Depending on your child’s age, they can take part in home organization; doing so can even teach them responsibility. Who doesn’t like killing two birds with one stone???
In this post, I’ll share the ways that we’ve begun to teach our three-and-a-half-year-old son responsibility through organization at home.
In the Kitchen
As parents, we’re often preoccupied with keeping harmful things out of our kids’ reach. How about taking advantage of areas that are within their reach?
If you store your children’s dinnerware in a place they can easily access, they can then help themselves to things they would otherwise need your help for.
For instance, we keep my son’s kitchen-related items in this low drawer.
This drawer contains my son’s cups, plates, and cutlery, as well as a motley assortment of grown up mugs and glasses that didn’t make the cut to be displayed on our floating shelves.
We also keep our placemats and napkins in a low drawer, so that my son can help set the table. Setting the placemats and his own dinnerware is his job. As he gets older (and more reliable, re: hand hygiene), he’ll be assigned the task of setting our plates, cups, and cutlery as well.
In the Bedroom
To avoid clutter throughout our home, the majority of my son’s toys are stored in bins in the basement. We rotate the bins allowed upstairs periodically to prevent too many toys from being out at any given time. This also prevents boredom with any one set of toys. When he’s done playing with one bin, it’s his responsibility to return all of the toys to the bin. This must be done before he’s given another bin to play with.
In his bedroom, my son has two drawers’ worth of toys: one for stuffies, and one filled with assorted action figures and vehicles. He’s able to reach these low drawers and tidy up these toys on his own. The rest of this storage unit is for books.
He also has a large drawer of books at his bedside from which he can access and tidy his own bedtime storybooks.
I am a fan of junk drawers and using baskets for storage, and my son’s room is no exception. We have a ‘junk basket,’ into which goes anything that does not belong in his room (i.e. toys that are meant to go back into basement bin storage).
At three-and-a-half, my son is just starting to dress himself. His underwear and sock drawers are within his reach and he is capable of putting those on himself. I’ll admit, watching him do so without stepping in can be a slow and agonizing process for the both of us! There’s no better exercise in patience and self-control than standing back as you watch your kid struggle, at a snail’s pace, to wriggle off his shirt. It’s like having an itch that you so badly want to scratch!
In the Bathroom
My son has a folding stool in the bathroom which he uses to reach the sink. His job is to retrieve this stool when we brush his teeth, and replace it when we’re done. This is a very minor task in the grand scheme of things, but it reinforces to him that there is a place for everything and everything should go back in its place.
There you have it! Three ways you can use home organization in different parts of your home to teach responsibility to your kiddos! Hope this was helpful! How do you get your little ones to chip in at home? Let us know in the comments below!
Jo is a part-time doctor, part-time blogger, and full-time mom to a three-year-old son. She blogs at www.neatntiny.com about home decor, organization, and how to maintain your personal style (when you have kids).