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Featured Article 10 Tips for Getting Your Child’s Room Organized by Maria Gracia "Clean your room." "Ugh! Oh, Mom. I’ll do it later!" This same dialog is shared by millions of parents and their children all over the world. Do you suddenly have the driving urge to get your child’s room in order? Where do you start? Here are a few ideas: 1. Schedule a parent/child organizing date. Schedule a specific date and time to clean out your child’s room…with your child. By doing it together, you’re helping to teach your child how to be an organized person. Be sure your child gets fair warning. “Emily, we’re going to be organizing your room together on Tuesday at 11:00am.” If the room is very messy and it’s going to take hours to clean, don’t expect to get it done all at once. Schedule a 30 minute session, set a timer, and do what you can until the timer runs out. Schedule another session if necessary. Kids, especially young kids, get bored and/or overwhelmed very quickly. You want this to be a positive experience, not a long, drawn out, negative one. 2. Weed out. Have a large box on hand for items you will be donating or throwing out. Challenge your child to find five items (or ten if your child is a bit older) he or she no longer plays with or no longer wears. Have your child add those items to the box. If your child wants to weed out more, great. If not, do another five or ten during another session. Some kids are fine with getting rid of toys, clothing, etc. Others will have a more difficult time doing so, and again, you want this to be a positive experience. Be sure to communicate that it’s important to donate, sell, or discard anything that will never be used, to increase storage space and to make room for new, useful items in the future. 3. Sort. Encourage your child to love the concept of sorting…keeping like-items together. Help your child embrace this concept by ensuring he/she has bins, baskets, and/or cubbies to do so. Books go in one, Barbie dolls go in another, toy cars go in another…you get the idea. By the way, a see through, vinyl, over-the-door shoe rack is a great tool for helping your child sort small toys, hair accessories, and such. 4. Shoes. A shoe rack can keep kids shoes organized, easily accessible, and in one place. Show your child how to organize shoes, keeping all pairs together and separating dress shoes from casual and sneakers. Teach your child that when shoes are taken off, they are to be placed on the shoe rack so they can be easily found when needed. 5. Stuffed animals, toys and games. Consider adding shelves for toy storage versus large containers. In doing so, your child won’t have to rummage through a huge toy box to find what he/she is looking for…which can make a big mess in the process. Make sure the shelves are at a reasonable height so that your child can reach wanted items. You can still use baskets, containers and such to keep items sorted. Label each container, using words if your child is old enough to read or pictures for younger kids. Consider a toy hammock for stuffed animal storage. 6. Add some hooks. Hooks, hung within your child’s reach, are great for storing backpacks, umbrellas, baseball caps, etc. They can be hung on empty closet walls to maximize space, and to ensure the room doesn’t end up “looking cluttered” even if it’s not. 7. Institute a “one in-one out” rule. Kids have a tendency to grab one toy, get bored, grab another toy, get bored, etc. until there are a dozen or more toys out at one time, making “putting them away later” a daunting task. Make it a rule that another toy should not be taken out, until the one being played with has been put away. 8. A home for each item. Be sure your child knows that each item should have a home, and the item should live in that home when not in use. Allow your child to designate that home if he or she is old enough, giving your child “a say” in this process. It’s OK if it’s not exactly in the spot you, as a parent, would have chosen. 9. Paper. Create a filing system for your child, to keep artwork, blank paper, coloring pages, notes from family and friends, etc. Use a portable file box that is capable of holding hanging files and that can be transported to another room, the car, or to grandma’s house. The file boxes with handles are nice, since they can be transported easily. Some of these containers have snap-shut compartments for pens, pencils, clips, and more. 10. Responsibility. Teach your children to clean and organize as soon as they’re old enough to do so. If you help them do this now, you will be helping them when they’re old enough to move out on their own. Devise a simple daily checklist for maintenance. If you have two children sharing the same room, divide the room in half with an imaginary line. Describe this imaginary line to each child. Assign each one the responsibility of keeping their side clean and organized.
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Featured Article 10 Tips for Getting Your Child’s Room Organized by Maria Gracia "Clean your room." "Ugh! Oh, Mom. I’ll do it later!" This same dialog is shared by millions of parents and their children all over the world. Do you suddenly have the driving urge to get your child’s room in order? Where do you start? Here are a few ideas: 1. Schedule a parent/child organizing date. Schedule a specific date and time to clean out your child’s room…with your child. By doing it together, you’re helping to teach your child how to be an organized person. Be sure your child gets fair warning. “Emily, we’re going to be organizing your room together on Tuesday at 11:00am.” If the room is very messy and it’s going to take hours to clean, don’t expect to get it done all at once. Schedule a 30 minute session, set a timer, and do what you can until the timer runs out. Schedule another session if necessary. Kids, especially young kids, get bored and/or overwhelmed very quickly. You want this to be a positive experience, not a long, drawn out, negative one. 2. Weed out. Have a large box on hand for items you will be donating or throwing out. Challenge your child to find five items (or ten if your child is a bit older) he or she no longer plays with or no longer wears. Have your child add those items to the box. If your child wants to weed out more, great. If not, do another five or ten during another session. Some kids are fine with getting rid of toys, clothing, etc. Others will have a more difficult time doing so, and again, you want this to be a positive experience. Be sure to communicate that it’s important to donate, sell, or discard anything that will never be used, to increase storage space and to make room for new, useful items in the future. 3. Sort. Encourage your child to love the concept of sorting…keeping like-items together. Help your child embrace this concept by ensuring he/she has bins, baskets, and/or cubbies to do so. Books go in one, Barbie dolls go in another, toy cars go in another…you get the idea. By the way, a see through, vinyl, over-the-door shoe rack is a great tool for helping your child sort small toys, hair accessories, and such. 4. Shoes. A shoe rack can keep kids shoes organized, easily accessible, and in one place. Show your child how to organize shoes, keeping all pairs together and separating dress shoes from casual and sneakers. Teach your child that when shoes are taken off, they are to be placed on the shoe rack so they can be easily found when needed. 5. Stuffed animals, toys and games. Consider adding shelves for toy storage versus large containers. In doing so, your child won’t have to rummage through a huge toy box to find what he/she is looking for…which can make a big mess in the process. Make sure the shelves are at a reasonable height so that your child can reach wanted items. You can still use baskets, containers and such to keep items sorted. Label each container, using words if your child is old enough to read or pictures for younger kids. Consider a toy hammock  for stuffed animal storage. 6. Add some hooks. Hooks, hung within your child’s reach, are great for storing backpacks, umbrellas, baseball caps, etc. They can be hung on empty closet walls to maximize space, and to ensure the room doesn’t end up “looking cluttered” even if it’s not. 7. Institute a “one in-one out” rule.  Kids have a tendency to grab one toy, get bored, grab another toy, get bored, etc. until there are a dozen or more toys out at one time, making “putting them away later” a daunting task. Make it a rule that another toy should not be taken out, until the one being played with has been put away. 8. A home for each item. Be sure your child knows that each item should have a home, and the item should live in that home when not in use. Allow your child to designate that home if he or she is old enough, giving your child “a say” in this process. It’s OK if it’s not exactly in the spot you, as a parent, would have chosen. 9. Paper. Create a filing system for your child, to keep artwork, blank paper, coloring pages, notes from family and friends, etc. Use a portable file box that is capable of holding hanging files and that can be transported to another room, the car, or to grandma’s house. The file boxes with handles are nice, since they can be transported easily. Some of these containers have snap- shut compartments for pens, pencils, clips, and more. 10. Responsibility. Teach your children to clean and organize as soon as they’re old enough to do so. If you help them do this now, you will be helping them when they’re old enough to move out on their own. Devise a simple daily checklist for maintenance. If you have two children sharing the same room, divide the room in half with an imaginary line. Describe this imaginary line to each child. Assign each one the responsibility of keeping their side clean and organized.
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