Control the chaos of children’s rooms


Nicole Anzia

THE WASHINGTON POST — Keeping kids’ rooms clean and organized is often difficult. Add to that a pandemic that has upended our lives and schedules for nearly two years, and many parents have understandably given up on maintaining any semblance of order. But the new year is a good time to regain control. Here are a few tips.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

Make it easy to store things for your kids. If they like books, choose shelves that they can reach and that can hold most of their favorite books. (Anchor heavy pieces to the wall to prevent tipping and injury.)

Old dressers are fun to pass down, but if the drawers are hard to open, kids will avoid putting their clothes away.

Clear, labeled bins are great for collections; open bins make it easy to clean toys and stuffed animals. Wall hooks are also great for keeping clothes off the floor.

When kids show they can do simple tasks, like making the bed and putting away clothes, involve them in choosing the storage products they’ll use in the styles they like.

This doesn’t mean that they have full control or that you have to spend a lot of money (you can choose from what you have or decorate old shoeboxes to hold items), but ask for their advice and opinions. help to feel connected. to the process and motivate them to stay organized.

CONTROL INFLUX, PURGE REGULARLY

There will be a constant turnover of clothes and toys for about a decade. The only way to keep kids’ rooms in relative order, especially when they’re young, is to manage what comes in and goes out. I know parents don’t have a lot of time to keep track of ever-changing clothing inventory, so keep a bag in a closet where you can put the pieces that no longer fit you as you come across them. .

Child development experts advise that children don’t need – and shouldn’t have – a mountain of toys at their disposal. They get overwhelmed when they have too many choices and competing items to grab their attention.

The holidays are already here, and it’s too late to stop the onslaught of novelties that are about to arrive. We all like to spoil our kids once in a while, but if we’re continually buying them new items, we also can’t get mad if they can’t keep up or handle everything. Once the holidays are over, refresh yourself.

Temporarily store some items. If they aren’t missed, it’s probably safe to give them away. Donate or pass out the coins your child has passed. And if there are any that are too big for you that you’d like to keep, create a keepsake box where you can store them.

Committing to buying less for your kids in the new year will make it easier for everyone to keep things under control.

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS, INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN

If your goal is to make your child’s room look like something you see on social media or in a magazine, you will never be satisfied.

The goal should be comfortable functionality, not perfection. You and your child should be able to find what you’re looking for – and clean up – easily. If the room seems quiet and relatively clean, pat yourself on the back.

Tidying up kids’ rooms takes longer when you involve them, which is why so many parents decide it’s easier to do it themselves. But that doesn’t teach your kids to value their possessions or have the organizational skills they’ll need later in life.

Children should feel ownership of their space and learn to clean up after them in an age-appropriate way. Most children can start helping clean toys and books as young as two years old. They won’t be able to stay attentive for long, but they can put away a few blocks.

When they get to primary school, children can make decisions about what to keep and what to drop. Eventually, they will be able to categorize the items themselves and do their own sorting and disposal.

Some kids will have a harder time keeping their room clean than others, not because they’re lazy or messy, but because learning challenges may require alternative approaches and additional tools. Cleaning up a chaotic space is difficult for adults with fully developed brains, let alone teenagers or children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or developmental disabilities. Patience and flexibility are essential. Try to establish a system that works for everyone, but still helps create an orderly space.

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