I'm away this week with my hubby...
so I've asked Anna to fill in for me:
|I had the privilege of meeting Anna on HER vacation to L.A.!|
Hi I'm Anna from Ask Anna! I was flattered when Becky asked me to guest post for her because I love her blog! Becky has great advice for getting organized, she has a superb eye for decorating AND on top of all that she's such a sweet woman, I have loved becoming blogging friends with her. :)
I'm excited to share this post with you today because I think organization is so important when you have kids. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to seeing you over at Ask Anna!
I think it is so important to teach our children organization from the time they are very young. If we don't teach them who will? From the time Malea leaned to walk (10 1/2 months) we started doing clean up time with her. I looked up a cute little clean up song on youtube.com and tried to make it fun for her. Now that she's 2+ I'll hear her singing the song to herself in the other room while she's picking up her toys. :) It's my belief that kids need order, they thrive on it. I also think that if their toys are organized and easily accessible then they will get played with more. When every toy is thrown on the ground how are they going to know what's there? So here are a few tips for getting your toys organized.
1. Organization bins. If you don't have anywhere specific for the toys to go then clean up time is going to be confusing for the kids. My mom taught me that everything has it's place and that has always stuck with me. Where do the blocks go? Where do the books go? And so on and so forth. I bought this toy organizer for Malea and it has been awesome. They can be a little pricey but if you aren't in hurry to get one keep an eye out because Target and Lowe's have great sales on these! I got mine for $15 off!!
Of course the toys don't always look like this, I'm a mom not a magician :), however we do have an order to playtime. Another thing my mom always taught me was that once you are done playing with something you put it back. We have applied the same principles for Malea so when we are done playing with the block we put them away and get out the puzzles. When we are done with the puzzles we put them away before getting out the animals, etc.
2. Buy baskets. Baskets are another great way to organize your toys. They are practical for holding lots of toys, plus they are fun to play with. Malea loves to do chugga-chugga around the house with me pulling her in her basket. :)
3. Be an example. Be a good example in teaching your kids how, in real-grown-up life, things really work. For example Malea got a kitchen for Christmas this year. She LOVES it and plays with it all the time so usually by the end of the day it's a huge disaster! I'm teaching her though that just like mommy cleans up her kitchen, it's important for her to clean up hers. Each night we put the pots and pans away, the cups back up on the shelf and hang the cooking utensils back on the rack. It's a fun way for her to play but also I'm teaching her an important life lesson. I'm sure someday her husband will thank me!
4. It must be practical but also fit your style. Right before Malea was born my husband and I bought this ottoman and I absolutely LOVE it! Walking into our living room you would never know that we have a ton of toys sitting right in the middle of it because they are all hidden! Every night we clean up Malea's toys and books and then close the lid and VOILA! our living room looks "grown up" again. I was actually told recently that my home looks like a "model home" and that you'd never guess we have a ton of toys for our daughter. That was the best compliment someone like me could receive! Anyways, I think something like this is a MUST. After I bought this my sister and 4 of my friends when out and got the same one for their kids because they loved mine so much. Target you are welcome. :)
5. Book selves are a must. We have SO many books. I was blessed and my friends threw me a book baby shower but man those books add up! It seems like we have books everywhere in our house. Finally this January I got tired of having them in every room so I set up a bookshelf for Malea in her room. The bottom two shelves are for her to read as she pleases and the top two shelves are "special books" that she can only read with mommy or daddy. I have loved having all of the books put in one place (except for the few left in the living room) because it's fun when she takes me back to her room and we sit down and read through 10 books at a time. I think she feels like big girl now that she has so many of the books she loves right in her room.
I hope these few tips can help you get some of your toys organized. Having kids is hard work and having toys everywhere can just make things worse sometimes. I have found that teaching Malea how to clean up her things has made both of our lives easier and more fun. It's also very rewarding for me to see her learning a life lesson while having fun doing it, "clean up, clean up, everybody let's clean up, clean up clean up put your toys away..."