A Series by Paula Tobey
When was the last time you had a conversation (I say that word with a chuckle because it may feel more like a daily lecture) with your child about them remembering to pick up after themselves? I bet it was not that long ago. I bet just this morning you had to remind your fourth grader to put her homework folder in her back pack instead of leaving it on the counter. Well I can tell you, there is really only one way to fix that problem and as simple as it is, it is probably the number one thing that ALL people struggle with. It is establishing good habits and routines.
Routines rock, really they are so awesome! Ha, I know you are thinking I’m nutty, but hear me out- routines are the brain’s way of feeling safe, at the same time functioning on auto-pilot. Routines mean the brain does not need to worry (the fight or flight response) because predictability is peaceful. Children especially need routines and the more fine-tuned we have our routines, the better the outcome for the child!
Here are some ways you can build in routines with your kids, that makes getting ready for school much easier.
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Declutter the entryway.
I make this a routine every afternoon when the kids come home from school. You know, when they come in, throw their backpacks and shoes by the door, sprint for the pantry for an afterschool snack, and you are there going through the sea of papers that just came in. That is a perfect time to start your afternoon routine of decluttering. Go through the mail, go through all papers, fliers, reminders, etc. that come home in the folders right then. Next, have the kids put the supplies out they will need for homework, and have them get busy. Then, when they are finished, their job is to return all homework to the backpacks and get that part ready for tomorrow.
Declutter the pantry.
Declutter the pantry so the kids can help make their own lunches. I started my girls making their own lunches right away. I wanted them to eat what I was preparing and knew if they helped prepare it, they were far more likely to eat it. I then needed to declutter the pantry of the enticing junk that I did not want them packing in their lunches like the chocolate, candy, packaged cakes and cookies. This is good in that you too will snack less often if it is just not there! Put the items they need to make their own lunches at their level so getting the good food is right within reach. Place the items like chips that you want to limit, at the top of the pantry.
Declutter their closets.
Declutter the closets with school approved clothes. Most schools these days have guidelines of what can and can’t be worn (if not it’s a uniform). My girls’ school has rules about straps on tops and dresses, lengths of shorts, no holes, etc. When you do it with your kids, it goes faster and you can show them ways to group their clothes that make it easier for getting ready in the morning. When the closet contains only (or almost only) the clothes that can be worn at school, it prevents any problems that could arise.
By involving your kids in the decluttering process, it will help make them more responsible with their things and have an easier time transitioning into adulthood if they have these routines down pat.
Want even more ways to get rid of the clutter and start living the life you were designed to live? Get Kathi’s book Clutter Free Quick and Easy Steps to Simplify Your Space!
What are your best decluttering tips for before baby? Tell us in the comments below and we will randomly pick one commenter to receive “21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids” by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory.
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Paula Tobey is founder of PheMOMenal Life Ministries a community for women to go get encouraged and equipped to be the best mom’s they can be to their children by living a healthy balanced life and by becoming all that God created them to be.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.