When it comes to innate organizational and home management skills, some of us have got ’em, and well, some of us don’t. I, unfortunately, fall into the second catagory when it comes to household organization. Thankfully, my “sister by choice,” Boni, has more organizational skills than we have bones in our bodies! She sees a messed up closet or corner in a room, and her “clean it up” brain goes into overdrive. Within minutes (no joke!) she’s got a fool-proof plan of attack for whatever my organizing challenge might be. Did I mention that she has four kids under the age of 10?!?!?! Oh yes, there’s wisdom in her words! I asked her for her for organizing and home management tips that you and I could use with our kids. Here’s what she shared with me:
#1 MY CHILDREN DO LAUNDRY, WELL SORTA
A new concept I recently came up with is for laundry management. Each child has a small laundry basket in their rooms with their name labeled on it. Ideally that is where their dirty clothes are supposed to go. The idea has worked a bit better than the hamper in the bathroom.
Each Sunday I have the kids bring their baskets down to the laundry room. After I wash and dry the laundry, I fold and place their items in the individual baskets. On Wednesday they carry their own basket back up to their rooms and put their clothing away.
My next couple of steps are to have them sort their laundry when they bring it down to the laundry room and eventually fold their own basket full but we must take baby steps!
#2 OPERATION “KEEP THE CHILDREN ORGANIZED”
This idea I started last year and it has worked very well. In my kitchen, I have a small desk and office space to take care of my paper craziness. But the children needed it too.
I found a 5 drawer organizer that I sat next to a small wall in my office space. Each child has their own labeled drawer where they place their homework folders and assignment notebooks and/or journals. This is where I also place the signed paperwork or completed forms that I received after I go through my Work In Progress file. The 5th drawer is much larger and this is where they place their library books.
On the wall is a wipe off board that contains notes about our daily schedule and rewards. Below the wipe off board is a cork board that holds our Family Rules, a listing of the kid’s schedules at school and the school lunch calendar.
Also on this corkboard is a list of the jobs they must complete each morning. For example, make lunch, pack up backpack, shoes and coat ready.
This area is also close to where they store their backpacks so all they have to do is come to this area and everything is right there ready to go.
#3 QUALITY TIME WITH THE MUNCHKINS
Now that the children are organized, the papers are tackled, homework is done and the laundry is… well, let’s tell the truth, it’s never done but getting close, how do we spend some quality time with our kids?
A few ways we have come up with to help our children connect with us and with God is the God Box, journaling and Happy/Sad points.
The God Box is something I learned at a women’s retreat last January. I found a simple shoe box that I had our 4 children decorate. They labeled it their God Box and we told them that any time they have a concern or worry or prayer or even praise that they can write it on a piece of paper and give it to God in the box. Sometimes they use it often and other times they do not but it is a great way to get them to express themselves without have to pull it out of them. It is a safer way to get their emotions out.
We have also started journaling. Again with 4 children time management can be a challenge so each child has an assigned evening when they get to spend some extra time with Mom and Dad and write in a journal. Sometimes we talk about concerns, sometimes just what happened that day. We sometimes include prayers and pray together at the end.
Another idea that we have done since they were little is Happy and Sad points. Each evening before their prayers we ask each child what was their Sad point for the day and their Happy point. Again, conversation sometimes grow from here and then sometimes it gives us something to think about as Moms and Dads and approach again with them another time.
I hope these tips help you as much as they have my family.