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How I keep the toy clutter under control and maintain my sanity at the same time.

June 9, 2016

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Urgh.. Toys!

If there is one thing in the house that used to do my head in, it was toys. I know that toys are an important part of a child’s development;  play reduces stress, improves self-expression, supports emotional development, strengthens physical development and much more, but toys can just be so messy and all consuming in a house.

A while ago I worked out that it was me that was causing all my toy grief. There was no one else to blame! My eldest two had a playroom that was filled with sorted boxes. Literally hundreds and hundreds of pieces of toys, games, animals, blocks, dolls, cars, puzzle pieces filled those boxes when the playroom was clean and tidy. When my children were in full fun fest mode, all those toys would be scattered throughout the house in every room they were allowed and usually not in the playroom at all!

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I got toy savvy and I’m going to share how I do toys now and how you can get to the point where toys aren’t an overwhelming part of parenthood. The first thing I did to combat the toy clutter was to get rid of the toy room. It is now my office slash sewing room.. Mum’s room in other words! 

1. Sort

You need to start by getting messy. When the kids are in bed is the best time to do this! Turn on a podcast and get busy. Tip all the toys out onto a table or bench and sort. Sort it all out! Like goes with like and then into separate containers, baskets or crates. 

2. Cull and Purge

Get rid of anything that is broken, dangerous,  cheap crap (ie Happy Meal toys) or noisy that you can’t stand (and then preferably give it back to the person who gave it to your child for their birthday!) Bag it up if it is still play-worthy and bring it to an opshop. Go through your books and get rid of any broken or torn books. Sort games and puzzles, making sure they have all the pieces.

3. Ask the question “How much do they need?”

Kids don’t need a lot of play with. They don’t NEED a whole games room FULL of toys. In fact, having a toy room full of toys with your child having access to EVERY toy at ALL times is not that great for their development. It is overwhelming and counter-productive when trying to teach a child to concentrate on things for an extended period of time when they have too much to choose from. 

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4. Store and Rotate

Once you have sorted the toys, store them away from the play area. (Mine is on a corner of my linen cupboard) Take one or two boxes out at a time and let your child use only those toys to play with. Believe me, this works. Do not buckle to pressure to get more toys out. Keep the boxes out for a week and then rotate to another box or two. (Keep a few favourites out.. for J at the moment it is his matchbox cars

6. Store all messy things up high and out of reach. 

Puzzles, games and art equipment gets stored up high. The peg puzzles for toddlers fit perfectly into large ziplock bags. Boxed puzzles do well to have an elastic band wrapped around the box just in case it drops! 

7. Steer clear of fads & tv character toys

Fads come and go, as do tv character toys. They are usually over-priced for poor quality and next month there will be another movie or tv show released, with a whole other range of toys that your kids will think they need. Disney are on to a good thing!

8. Keep toys for birthdays and don’t use them as behavioural treats

This is hard to do, especially in today’s materialistic society. Think about this for a second. If every time you go to the shop and go past a toy aisle, you could quite possibly take home a new toy, or component of a set fifty-two times a year. Hmm.. And who is in charge of your wallet?   And toys as behavioural rewards? Just no. 

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Yes, you are in charge of the toys in your house. Not your child! Be firm and you will reap the rewards for years to come. 

Tomorrow I will be sharing a few tips my readers shared on Facebook. Some of them are just awesome! 

What are your toy sanity saver tips?

 

Family Life Photos

Lately

May 18, 2016

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Meet Tonka. He is our new twelve week old Chocolate Labrador. Full of mischief and sometimes I honestly think ‘why in the world did we do this?’ and then other times, usually when he is asleep, I am so glad that we did. 

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Not all teens are bad. This one has been a superstar in the past few weeks. She has been so loyal to her friends in need and I am just so proud of the awesome young lady she is turning out to be. 

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Paige’s Snap Dragons are growing finally! Her garden box is filled with a multitude of pink flowers. Let’s see how long they will last with the pup exploring in the backyard! 

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Homemade Chilli Oil for when something needs spicing up. Great on pizzas, stirfries or pasta. Find the recipe here.

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My roses. The blooms are slowing down as the nights get colder, but there is always enough for a few bunches each week. 

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Shell Stitch blanket. You can find a video tutorial here.

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And last, but not least my Mr J. He has grown up so much in the past few weeks. He thinks he can do EVERYTHING that the big kids do. (Including writing with a pen..) 

So, what have you been up to lately? 

Family Life

Building Work Ethic in Your Kids

March 15, 2016

Building work ethic in kids

My middle kiddos a long time ago!

Teaching and training your children to have a healthy attitude towards work does not come easily! 

It takes time, years and a lot of diligence on the part of the parents. 

A good healthy work ethic is a godly thing. 

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command; If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. 

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. 

There are so many more reminders in God’s Word about how hard work will be blessed, and how doing it out of thankfulness is something to be admired. 

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So, how do you teach and build a work ethic in your kids? 

  1. Role Model! As my children often hear, “God has made no mistakes in giving children parents”. Not only for direction and boundaries, but also as godly examples! Role model a healthy respect for work. Don’t complain, do everything with a spirit that will be so infectious, they will want to help! 
  2. Start Early. When your children go to kindergarten, they will be expected to help out around the classroom. Make sure that you have started expecting them to help out around the house before then! My motto has always been that if a child can tip a container of toys over, they can also help clean the toys up! 
  3. Use a Chore Chart. Having a chore chart will bring order, structure and routine to your household. You can read my theories as to why chore charts are so important here. 
  4. Team Work. No one works alone.  No one is singled out to complete chores or jobs on their own. That is punishment and I truly believe that chores and jobs that need to be done around the house should NEVER be used as punishment. 
  5. Appreciate Strengths and Weaknesses. God has created us all different, with varying gifts and abilities. Work to your children’s strengths. Help them out with their weaknesses. 
  6. Work out motivators. In my household, making things a race is a huge motivator to get things done. What motivates your children? Time with you? A treat? Verbal praise?
  7. Foster copying and mimicking from an early age. Children want to be just like you.  Let them! Allow the kids to help out with the lawn mowing. If they can push a lawnmower, they can mow a lawn with supervision! Other ideas could be; Encourage them to stand beside you and rake a lawn together.  Fill up a bucket of water and let them wash a few pieces of clothing. Give them a dust pan and broom. 
  8. Never expect perfection. Your children will not be able to do the job to your perfecting standards. Don’t expect them to either.  Encourage them to do a job well, choose your opportunities to coach and encourage some more! 
  9. Reward Initiative.  If your child has asked to do an ‘extra’ job, find a way to reward that! It could be something from the list of motivators (6) or it could be some pocket money. 
  10. Encourage Civic Responsibility. Promote ideas in your family about how you can use your work ethic in the community. This can be represented in so many different ways; bringing in the bin for a neighbour, raking the lawn of a relative, bringing the trolley back to the grocery store and not leaving it in the carpark, leaving any public place as you found it, picking up rubbish and disposing of it when you see it. 
  11. Down Tools! There is time to work, and then there is also time to rest. Make sure it is well balanced! Kids need to be kids!

Start using a few of the tips above and you will start to see a work ethic developing in your children. They are growing up in a society which is bombarding them with ideas that scream “It’s all about you! Do what pleases you! You don’t need to wait for anything, you can have it ALL now!”

This is an ugly perspective to have on life, and let me assure you,  it will not be blessed. 

But, blessed are those who  work hard.  Most of all? Make it fun! building work ethic kids

Other posts about Work Ethic and simlilar parenting topics:

Chore Charts

Persistence Pays

The Done List

Helping your kids with homework

Permissive Parenting

Family Life

Only one parenting label for me.

February 24, 2016

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What sort of parent are you? What label could we give your parenting style? 

What label could you tag onto your social media photos that lets the whole world know just what type of parent you are? 

For me, I don’t want any. 

 

I don’t breastfeed. So no #fulltermbreastfeeding tag for me.

I am not an #attachmentparent as my children have never liked to be held for any long periods of time. 

I am not a #gentleparent, even though I’d love to be. I have teenagers – ’nuff said! 

I am not a #fitparent.  

My children have always slept in their own beds/cots, so no #cosleepingfamily tag for me.  Continue Reading

faith Family Life

Social Media Contract {For Christian Homes}

February 16, 2016

Children as young as eight with unsupervised internet access including social media accounts and being exposed to pornographic content and images. 

Teenagers as young as thirteen years old addicted to pornography. 

Children giving away all their private information on their social media accounts. 

Girls being bullied and groomed by sexual predators via social media and messaging apps.

Girls posting seductive selfies, usually with sexed up fish lips, hiked up cleavage and so much thigh that doesn’t leave much to the imagination. 

Girls posting selfies using toilet mirrors or while lounging on their beds. 

Boys using foul language, degrading women and using inappropriate tags on their photos.  

Parents who are oblivious to the dangers on social media. 

Parents who choose to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to sexting, pornography and cyberbullying. 

 

A little uncomfortable? Good. So am I.  Continue Reading

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