Are you ready for spring cleaning? Orderliness is much more than just keeping your house clean, it also includes organizing your life through prioritizing and paring down in order to achieve efficiency, harmony and more emotional stability as a parent. Spring is a beautiful time of year to recycle old belongings and habits and start anew. Teach your children by letting them take part in this process of creating a cleaner heart and home.
Help Your Family Become More Orderly:
- Family tradition. As a lesson in orderliness, tackle a spring-cleaning project as a family, explaining the method to your organizing. Don’t forget to make teamwork fun with snacks, music, breaks and encouraging words.
- Games. Young children will enjoy playing hide-and-seek with a twist. Pick several necessary household items that are kept in a specific place (for example: toilet paper, fire extinguisher or yogurt). After talking about why it is important to keep these items in a specific place, hide them in random places around the house for your kids to find.
- Object lesson. Make a Priority Jar by filling a clear jar with ping-pong balls to represent important priorities. Add dried beans to represent the extras in your day. Let your children manipulate the contents, trying different combinations of balls and beans to see which fits best back in the jar. They will learn that the only way it all fits is if the priorities (in this case, ping-pong balls) come first. When our priorities are not in order, important things get neglected. (Taken from 10-Minute Life Lessons for Kids by Jamie Miller.)
- Stories. While you are at the library looking for books on orderliness, such as The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room by Stan and Jo Berenstain or Franklin is Messy by Paulette Bourgeouis, ask the children’s librarian to talk to your children about how and why the library is orderly. Let your kids tell you about why other places need to be very orderly (such as fire stations, hospitals or your home). For a great read about organization for grown-ups, look for titles by the amazing home manager, Kathy Peel. As she says, “Mess causes stress.”
- “I will” statements. Encourage orderliness in your home by committing to the following statements. Say these “I will” statements aloud with your children, and encourage them to apply them to situations in their everyday life.
- I will pick up after myself
- I will keep my work and play areas clean and neat
- I will put things back where they belong
- I will not over-schedule my time
- I will remember to put my priorities first
Sarah Holmes lives in Norman and is the founder of Wildflowers Character Resources. Find more at www.thecharactermom.blogspot.com.