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Kiss it good-bye

by respaced on July 20, 2010

Recently, I decided it was time to put some of my own advice I dish out here into action at home.

Nathan, my 4-year-old, is a prolific artist, creating about five masterpieces a day. Usually I pick up all of the drawings at the end of the day and hang onto them for a month or so. If he hasn’t asked about them in that time period, I recycle all but a few of the most charming ones.

His desk, too messy to work at.

But a few days ago, I decided Nathan was old enough to start deciding for himself what to save and what to toss. I gathered up the stack of papers covering his desk and instructed him to pick out his three favorite ones. He reluctantly said ok, and rather quickly picked his three favorites. I was standing outside in the hall cleaning at the time, so he didn’t know I heard him kiss each piece of paper while he told it “good-bye.”

Is that a little heart-breaking? Perhaps. But he seemed fine with it after I came into the room and he showed off the ones he wanted to keep. He got involved trying to figure out where to hang them, and that was the end of Sorting Papers 101 for the day.

His desk, with the 3 favorites he chose.

So I’m glad to see that it does work to tell your child to pick his or her favorites when learning to sort. (See blog post here and here) But I also have a new understanding of what it takes emotionally for a child to say good-bye to his or her things. Have you started teaching your kids how to sort and organize? Do they get emotional about it?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

Hi, thanks for all your great tips. I was thinking maybe you could photograph the art work and then you can do an art album! Deb

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MaryJo July 23, 2010 at 3:23 am

Hi Deb,

Thanks for the thanks! It's funny you mention that because I was planning to do that at the end of the year. I became a convert to publishing your own photo book, and I thought it would be neat to incorporate his artwork alongside photos of him. Great minds think alike, huh?

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