PRACTICAL PARENTING ◽ HOME
Christmas is over, the presents are unwrapped and all the new “stuff” is now in your kiddos’ rooms waiting to be played with…or broken…whichever comes first! Some parents clean out their kids’ rooms before Christmas so that room is made for all the new. That’s a great idea. But sometimes, it’s overwhelming finding a place for all the toys and noise and parts!
A few ideas that might make your sanity return…
For the Legos and other toys that have tiny pieces – Provide bins with lids for each set. Label them. Don’t let them toss all Legos or pieces into a large bin where everything gets mixed together. I don’t know why toy companies don’t provide organizers with each toy! There are tiny pencil boxes that snap shut for tiny sets, and there are larger boxes like plastic shoe bins for the bigger sets.
Then place all of these SETS in one place, training them to only get down one at a time to play with (good luck with that!)
For the Barbies and all of the accessories – There are all sorts of organizers you can purchase, but sometimes they’re expensive. Consider drawstring bags from Dollar Tree. Barbies can be stored in one, clothes in another, and accessories in a third (and inside can be tiny boxes if you like). Hang them on three hooks, provide a cute label, and there you go!
Those big toys – Make space on the floor of their closets, like a tiny parking garage, and even tape off “parking spaces.” Make sure each night before bed that each dinosaur that roars or Barbie van that rolls is parked and asleep when lights are out.
Books and shelves – Hopefully, the littles received some new reading material this Christmas. They can be added to an already packed shelf where books fall off daily, or you can organize them another way! What if you made a rotating “library” of books that you change out daily? Maybe 10 a week in a bin that they can choose from, and then the next week you rotate them out for 10 more. And the big shelf with all the choices is way up high, where only Mom/Dad can reach!
Art supplies – Pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, color books, paint pots, brushes, stickers – oh my! A nightmare of artistry waiting to scare even the sanest of moms! There are these cool bathroom caddies (I found at Big Lots for $2.50!) that can house lots of these artistic items. One per kid would be ideal, with their name on the front. Then store these in a closet up high, with a larger bin of the coloring books and paper beside. Again, let them ask or you provide the caddies when they’re interested in art time. A lot of angst can be avoided if parents put things away and kids have to ask for them, in order to use. Then, parents can monitor and not allow another toy out until that one is put away. This solves the problem of multiple messes all over the floor.
A lot of screaming can be spared if kids are required to put away every single toy they’ve gotten out each night before bed. It needs to be routine. Otherwise, messes are out of control and no one wants to clean that mountain before them.
A lot of organizing can bring peace, if the kids are involved in helping you out with labels or pictures, and choosing bins and places. Offer them ownership and reward them with wonderful words and hugs when they obey and put away.
Happy New Year to all you parents that are sitting and wishing for an elf to show up and shape up your house. I hope that happens, but if it doesn’t, try some of the above ideas!