Kids

Tips for Keeping Your Family Organised

It’s not enough to keep yourself organised, many people also have little people and/or a spouse to keep organised too. It’s not an easy job!

Here are a few tips to help you keep everyone in your family organized:

  1. Organize yourself first. If you’re disorganized there’s no way you’re going to be able to keep track of anyone else’s itinerary. Use whatever system works best for you; day planner, mobile device, computer calendar or good old fashioned pen and pencil.
  2. Create solutions that fit the person’s personality. Some people are detailed and able to follow through, others…not so much. Address the challenge your family member is facing. For example, if your daughter has a good system for organizing her school work but fails to follow through then her challenge is in the follow through. Help her create new habits.
    Additionally, some people like very structured organization while others are more relaxed about it. As long as they can immediately find what they need and mistakes are not made then the system works. For example, one child may keep a calendar on their wall of all their practices, meetings and homework. Another child may keep the information on their iPad and have it send them messages when things are due. Both systems, while very different, can work.
  3. Create a central zone. While individual family members may be able to keep track of their own tasks and responsibilities it can be difficult to pull it all together as a family. Many families create a central information zone. You might use a chalk board or dry erase board. You might use a large hanging calendar. One great idea is to create a monthly calendar on a piece of poster board. However, instead of writing on the calendar you use post-its for each day. You can color code the post-its for each family member and write down their schedule. That way everyone can tell at a glance what’s going on for the entire family.
  4. Their own space. The entry way of your home is a perfect example of a location where everyone needs their own space. Children come home from school and just dump their stuff on the floor. Your spouse comes home and drops his or her keys on the table. Eventually it all gets muddled together. It’s a mess and things get lost. Create a space for each person. Use a coat rack, shelf or baskets. Label them and teach everyone to put their items in their space. That goes for you and your spouse too. Central mail, keys and charging stations also help ensure items never get lost.

You can embrace this “own space” concept in other rooms too. The laundry room, bathroom and even the living room can each offer storage space for each family member. It helps keep things organized, minimizes lost items and squabbles.

Keeping your family organized is no small task! Organize yourself first. Pay attention to each personality in your family and try to create systems that work for them. Finally, provide space for each family member in key areas of your home.

Creating Family Routines – How to Get Back on Track

The start of 2011 has been pretty stressful for people in Queensland and it seems many people are struggling with finding their rhythm and flow again. In the last 30 days, Queenslanders in particular have gone from Christmas to New Years eve celebrations and parties, to making New Year Resolutions, to holidays with the kids, to floods, to cleaning up, to getting the kids ready for school, and then sending the kids off to school. Phew! No wonder many are exhausted and wondering where the month of January went.
Getting knocked off track can happen at any time and for any reason, for example, illness, death of a loved one, or natural events. What all of this unexpected activity does is knock us off track and upset our usual routinue.
Here are 3 tips to getting back on track and finding your flow again:
  1. Research shows us that kids whose families who have a routine do better in school and are more socially confident. Especially given the trauma some children will have faced with the floods, having a routine will also provide a sense of security that at least some things haven’t changed. Have a look at your family routine and tweak it where necessary or create a new one if you don’t already have one.
  2. What are the two things you want to achieve this year as a family? It could be taking a family holiday, eating 5 out of 7 dinner meals together each week, or the kids picking up after themselves.  As a family, write down the steps you need to take to achieve your family goals and everyone sign off on it. Then post these goals and steps where you can all see them and start to tick off the steps as you achieve them.
  3. Leave room for fun and creativity. We all obviously need fun and the chance to let our hair down so go have a play in the park or do face painting at home on each other or go to a theme park. Be spontaneous and enjoy.
To find out more about creating routines for your family, click below to download your free ebook.

Car Games for Kids (And the Adults)

Holidays usually means we will be spending more time in the car driving greater distances to visit family and friends or to go away on holidays. Here are our tips to avoid the inevitable “Are we there yet?” cries from the backseat.
  • Create a bag for each child with new fun things like books, games and comics.
  • Pack energy bars, fruit, poppers and water.
  • Create a music folder on your ipod of music that both you and your kids love.  After all, there are only so many times you can listen to The Wiggles!
  • Collect together a great range of car games to keep the kids entertained. Here are a couple of our favourite car games:
    • Car Bingo – create cards with pictures of items that the kids need to look for. If you are heading to the sea, make up a bingo card with pictures of palm trees, the sea, sand, surfboard, etc. If you are heading to the country, make a bingo card with pictures of cows, sheep, tractors, ute, shed, etc.
    • Noughts and crosses – plain paper and a coloured pencil is all your kids need to play this fun game.
    • Hangman – once again, plain paper and coloured pencils are all you need to test you and your kids knowledge of words.
    • Cars and License Plates – have your kids write down all the different brands and types of cars. They can also do this for license plates, noting the different States.
    • Alphabet Game – starting with the letter A, one child names something they can see that starts with the letter A. The next child then names something they see that starts with the letter B. And so on through the alphabet. Remember to have your turn too!
    • Colour Game – each person chooses a colour and then on your count, each child looks for as many passing cars in their colour. When you call stop, the child with the most points wins.
    • Drawing – have plain paper and coloured pencils so your kids can draw.

Keeping the kids entertained on car journeys can be a challenge however with a little bit of planning and organisation, you will find that your car trip can be fun and enjoyable.

8 Home Organisation Tips for Family Friendly Spaces

Does your household include young children with piles of toys or teenagers who always seem to be complaining about having no room for their clothes? Save yourself a lot of aggravation, with our eight tips that will save you time and money and help you arrange rooms and furniture in ways that create family-friendly living spaces.

  1. The first step is finding room for the stuff. Kids come with a lot of gear, from the time they’re babies until they’re out the door and into their own place. In the meantime, you have to find ways to accommodate everything from strollers and building blocks to hockey sticks and Barbie collections. When there’s a place for everything, there’s a better chance that the stuff will get put away.
  2. Don’t waste closet space – use as much of the closet space as possible. Add a shelving unit and storage bins, and put up hooks on the back of the closet door wherever possible.
  3. Children’s beds often come with storage compartments underneath, and nightstands can have either drawers or shelves. When children share a room, bunk beds and sleeping lofts are obvious choices for saving space. Teenagers, especially those 6-footers, may very well need a full size bed. Again, think storage space underneath or headboards that incorporate storage space.
  4. Even if your school-age child has a computer desk, he or she may still not have enough room for spreading out books and binders at homework time. Consider a large desk if there’s room, or maintain an open policy about using the kitchen or dining room table for homework. If you are using the dining table, remember that a young child’s feet should touch the floor to prevent restlessness, so if the dining room chair is too tall, use a box or stool under their feet.
  5. Toys and sports equipment can be kept under control by using storage chests, large plastic cubes, or shelving units with bins. Hall trees often come with a storage bench, and are a great solution for coats and boots and skates.
  6. Save yourself a lot of trouble by painting children’s rooms rather than using wallpaper. Children quickly grow out of cute prints, and new paint is a simple solution for changing tastes.
  7. Keep living room and family room furniture looking good by choosing fabrics with a high thread count and tight weave that clean easily and hold up to hard use. Flat weaves are better than textured fabrics for durability. The new microfibers are a good choice for surviving kids and pets, and nothing is easier than slipcovers that can be removed and washed.
  8. Buy sectional sofas which are very versatile, able to adapt to any room and comfortable for everyone in the family. Add a set of nesting tables that can be handily moved from room to room for games and projects.

Don’t trip over the stuff of family life. There’s a way to make everyone happy . . . especially Mum.

How to Promote Healthy Organising Behaviours in Your Children

Setting your children up for success is a top priority for parents and when it comes to teaching your children how to be organised, the younger you start the better.

Structure and Organisation for Children

Studies have shown that children who have structure in their lives do better at school, are socially well adjusted and cope well with stresses.  Also once the habit of being organised is learnt, it is something your children can take with them into adulthood.

Keep these tips in mind as you promote organised habits with your children:

1. Children learn by example. Look to your own habits first. Are they up to par? Your children watch every move you make and they’re likely to repeat your behaviors. While failing to tidy up after yourself is fine every now and then, if it becomes a habit, your children will expect it is ok for them to do to the same.

Be a model for your children by being organised and tidying up after yourself. Show them that they must pick up after themselves by showing them how to do it themselves and then expect they do so every day.

2. Make be organised fun. If you make healthy behaviours fun, your children will look forward to engaging in them. Get excited about them packing away their toys when they are finished with them. Make cleaning up after themselves a game and have fun with it and reward your children for doing a great job.

3. Use repetition. Fight the urge to give up when your kids forget to pick up after themselves.  It takes 21 days to instil a habit so remember that you whilst you may sound like a broken record from time to time once your organisation habits are instilled in your kids, your home will be easy to maintain.

4. Be clear with your kids that you expect them to help you around the house and give them tasks suitable to their age.  Your children are used to being organised as they are required to put things away in their place when they are at pre-school or day care.  Continue this same expectation at home.  Your kids will soon get the message that you are serious and that they cannot get away with bad behaviours just because they are at home.

5. Turn off the TV. In this day and age, the TV plays a large role in life. Establish a no TV or video game policy during certain hours and have your children complete their chores during this time.  If they finish their chores early, encourage your children to go outside or read a book.

6. Stay involved. Get actively involved in your child’s life. If you continue to encourage them when they’re doing something good, they’ll enjoy the attention. Getting involved in this way will give your children the confidence to continue with their healthy habit.

When Things Go Wrong

People lead busy lives and sometimes you’ll realize that you’ve let some bad behaviours take over. In these situations, it’s important to stay on top of the problem and search for a solution.

Define the problem and develop an action plan that will help you get back on track. For example, if your family has fallen into a pattern of going to bed and leaving the lounge a mess, then have a family meeting and remind your family of their responsibilities.

Following these tips will keep you and your children on the right track to be organised for life.