We are not our children’s slaves….
I just did a phone interview with my friend Marcia, the Organising Queen, from South Africa. Acck, could a person say ummm anymore than I did. Good grief! The phone delay totally threw me off but I figure it just adds to my freakness which is, as you know, my excuse for everything…LOL. Anyway you can have a listen to it here if you want.
One of the things we talked about though was how important it is to get your kids involved in the organizing process as well as doing age appropriate chores. It’s something I believe strongly in and so in addition to what I had to say about it in my interview I thought I’d elaborate a little more here.
As a stay at home mom it would be so easy for me just to do everything for my kids and not take the time to show them how to do things for themselves. In the grand scheme of things that wouldn’t help them much though would it. Organization is a life skill that we should be teaching our kids. Believe me I would love to march right on in to my kids rooms when they aren’t home and just have my way with their rooms. Instead I choose to work along side of them to help them learn to make the tough choices themselves about what stays and what goes.
Using containers is a wonderful way to teach kids limits and boundaries. For instance my daughter adores notebooks so we mutually agreed on a container that would hold a reasonable amount of notebooks. She now knows that when that container is full she has to decide which ones to keep and which ones to go. That is a hard decision for her to make because of course she loves them all and of course they all hold special meaning to her in some way. As tough as it is though and as hard as it is for me to watch her struggle with the decision I have to remember that she is learning skills that will be invaluable to her in the future when she has a whole household full of stuff to contend with. I regularly walk through the PROCESS with my kids and guide them to an organized space that fits in with their personality. I try hard not to set my kids up for failure. Creating storage for items where they use them and can easily access them can make the difference between success and failure. Just as there is with adults so many different systems and ways to organize any one thing so is there with kids.
Does that mean their rooms are always immaculate and never messy? Ha! Does it mean I don’t have to constantly remind them about what needs to be done and get after their behinds to do it? Ha! In fact if you saw their rooms right now you would wonder if I really was teaching them anything at all. I often wonder that myself believe me. However every once and awhile they will do something that gives me hope that they really just might be catching on to what I’m laying down. It would be unreasonable for me to expect their spaces to be tidy 100% of the time but because we’ve created designated spaces in their rooms for their stuff it’s a relatively quick and painless process to get their rooms back in order on the weekends. I posted awhile ago about some of the other chores my children have here.
I know it’s frustrating and I know that it’s so easy to want to throw our hands up sometimes and say it’s useless but if we are consistent about what is required of our children and consistent with the consequences if it’s not done, results will come….eventually. Also, as Marcia and I talked about in the interview, it’s important to set the example for our kids. If our spaces aren’t organized how can we expect our kids to be any different, we really can’t expect the kids to keep their clothes off the floor if we can’t.
It’s our responsibility as parents to teach our kids responsibility and what better way than with chores and organization. So put together some chore charts and let em have it….they’ll thank you for it……eventually :)