I give out a flyer called “Top 10 Organizing Tips for Parents” at the presentations I give. I’ve never shared it here, although I have blogged about bits and pieces of it. My intention is for parents to put the flyer on their refrigerator, so if they feel stressed out about how messy their child’s space looks they can look at the flyer and apply one or two of the tips to start getting some relief. I hope you find it useful:
1. Divide your child’s space into zones, such as the arts and craft zone, dress-up zone and reading zone. If you don’t know where to put something, ask yourself what zone it would go in.
2. Label every bin, box and basket. If your child is too young to read, tape a picture of the bin’s contents to the outside of the bin.
3. Make sure storage solutions are age-appropriate. No wooden toy boxes or drawers to smash fingers, no toys on high shelves, no heavy bins that cannot be moved.
4. Teach your children to put their things away each night by setting a timer for 10 minutes and cleaning up alongside them.
5. Each night your child cleans up his or her space, drop a marble in a small jar. When the jar is full, take the child on a special outing as a reward.
6. Don’t be afraid to put some of your children’s toys in “time-out” for a few days if they refuse to put them away.
7. Get rid of old toys and make room for new ones by hosting a garage sale and allowing your children to keep the money from any of their toys they choose to sell.
8. Encourage relatives to give gifts of experiences rather than things. Example: zoo passes, ice cream outings, gift certificates, trip to the movies.
9. Model good behavior for your children. If you don’t put your things away, you can’t expect them to.
10. If you feel overwhelmed and frustrated, consider contacting reSPACEd at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you dig out and transform your space.