Today’s parents are juggling more activities, obligations, work commitments, and family matters than ever before. If you’d like to add a bit more order to your family’s life, Mighty Mommy has 10 ways you can become a more organized parent and increase the harmony in your home.
Tip #6: The Toys
Legos, blocks, dolls and their accessories, matchbox cars, stuffed animals—the list goes on and on. Having kids means having lots of stuff and though the older they get, their toys get smaller and more electronic-based, younger kids need lots of developmental and other toys to help them build their budding imaginations as well as keep them entertained. I’ve tried many organizational methods for managing our toys throughout the years, and I have found that see-through bins and boxes with lids are the best at repelling toy chaos. Put cars in one box, blocks in another, dolls in a third. Get your kids (even your toddlers) into a routine early on to clean up their own toys by teaching them which bin they go into.
It’s also a big help to have a catchall basket in your family room or kids' bedrooms so if they don’t have time to sort the toys one day, you can sweep them all into the larger container, and at least they're out of sight until you can tackle them the next day. But don’t get into a bad habit of letting everything sit in that basket for weeks at a time. If it’s emptied on a daily basis, you’ll save lots of time in the long run.
Tip #7: The Morning Rush
Other than meal planning, the next best organizational habit that my family relies on is to get ready for school the night before. This includes making tomorrow’s school lunches, laying out backpacks, outfits, and extras like gym clothes or after school practice equipment, and anything else your family needs to step out the door without feeling like chickens without their heads.
Tip #8: The Age-Appropriate Chores
You’re not doing yourself or your kids any favors by not teaching them to help out around the house. Even younger kids can help by putting their toys away at the end of the day.
Even if you’re the type of parent who prefers to do things yourself because you want them done in a specific way, you’re not doing yourself or your kids any favors by not teaching them to help out around the house. Even younger kids can help by putting their toys away at the end of the day or helping you unload the dishwasher and put things like plastic containers in the drawer.
Chores teach kids responsibility as well as help keep your home clean and organized. Decide which chores can be assigned, such as kitchen duty, sorting and folding laundry, or emptying the garbage and recyclables, and make a chart that you can post in a central location where everyone can see it. When every household member is helping on a consistent basis, the entire home benefits because the load is lightened for parents and the house stays clean and organized.
Tip #9: The After School Activities
Whether it's soccer, clarinet lessons, or art class, designate a bag for each child's activity. We have separate nylon drawstring bags for each of our kid’s activities and on Sunday night we place shin guards, drawing paper and oil paints, soccer cleats, extra socks—whatever each child needs for their particular activity so that everything is ready to go when they rush through the door after school and have to rush back out again for their practice or lesson.
Tip #10: Learn to Say No
One of the top reasons I was disorganized and stressed out more than was necessary in the past was because I was the type of person who never wanted to say no. This included over-volunteering my time for my kids’ schools and our church, letting my kids sign up for too many activities at once, and over-committing to too many social things like play dates and birthday parties. Prioritize your social obligations and civic commitments and be honest with yourself as to the value that these items really hold for your family. By eliminating the ones that your family just can’t take on, you’ll free up time, be less harried, and thus more organized.
How do you keep your family organized? Share your thoughts in the comment section or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
Staying organized requires discipline, but if you include your family and come up with ways that will be time savers for all of you—it will be well worth the investment! Enjoy your family and until next time……………..Happy Parenting!