I love school holidays. Lazy mornings, family time, time to explore and make adventures around Melbourne. I love the creativity that my kids develop over the holidays (sometimes born out of boredom) and the make believe games they come up with are awesome. But before you start putting Mummy guilt on yourself for not loving school holidays as much as me, there are also challenging aspects of having 6-8 weeks of school holidays.
Firstly, lets talk about how much head space it takes to full time parent for an extended period of time and how exhausting it can be. My boys are FULL of energy and unless I allow them screen time they don’t ever sit still. And I get tired. So we have to manage the energy levels of everyone carefully over the holidays and that sometimes takes trial and error on my behalf.
And it’s amazing how much they eat while home over holidays!! I’m sure they eat twice as much as they pack themselves for lunch at school each day. I feel like I’m constantly answering the question, “what can I eat” and feeling like the pantry is empty the day after I do the shopping. I do enjoy baking with them over holidays though because that’s something we don’t get a lot of time to do together during school term.
Whether it’s because I’m a professional organiser, I’m not sure, but one thing I hear from people all the time is how much mess their kids make during school holidays. They seem to take out every single toy they own and leave it out on the floor of their bedrooms and play rooms. Because in Australia our summer holidays follow Christmas there are also heaps of new toys to be played with and usually families haven’t decided where to keep all the new toys.
Not long after I started Simply Organised I started getting parents asking for my help with organising their children’s bedrooms. Messy bedrooms had become a point of contention between parents and children and the arguments were escalating. Parents didn’t understand how children could seemingly happily live in ‘pigstys’ and children didn’t respond to the nagging and exasperation of parents by suddenly becoming organised. The issue wasn’t knowing there was a problem, it was finding a solution. So over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of being hired by parents to work with their children in their bedrooms. Under the authority of parents I’ve been able to engage kids and teach them some life lessons on how to look after and respect their possessions and living spaces. The results have been incredible! Parents have caught their children tidying their bedrooms before bed each night. Children have reported that “Amy was right, I do sleep better in an organised bedroom”. Parents have said that their children are sleeping better, playing better and the general feel of the home is more peaceful.
If you wish your child was more responsible and organised, here are a couple of tips that I teach the children I work with.
- A home for everything and everything in it’s home. Most children need to be taught about organisation and I teach them that if they have a spot for everything they’ll always be able to tidy up. Setting up really simple systems for kids is critical, don’t expect something of them you don’t even do yourself. Containers with lids are an excellent way of creating homes for their important possessions because lids create a natural limit to how much they can keep. And having containers means when they want to play with something they can pull out the container instead of tipping out a whole toy box to find what they’re looking for.
- You can’t keep everything. Surprisingly this is a new concept for some children. Teaching them how to donate and throw out things they no longer use or something that has broken is an important skill to learn. This is especially important if you have a child who is a natural ‘collector’ or ‘hoarder’. If you sneak into their rooms while they’re at school and cull their collections they lose trust and will try to hide their collections instead. Teaching them some life skills around what to keep and what to let go of is crucial for a child to maintain a neat bedroom.
I hope these tips are helpful and you can help your children develop good habits around looking after their toys and rooms in a respectful way.
Enjoy the Freedom!
If you’d like getting your kids organised this summer our school holiday sessions may be of interest to you.