4 Tricks for Organized and Disciplined Kids This Summer
Remember those first days back to school when the kids came home and, with purpose, gently put their backpack in its place?
Oh, what memories! As school winds down, the backpack is flung to corners near and far as soon as they walk in the door. We’re flipping through papers looking for a last form that needs to be returned or library books that have mysteriously disappeared. And we’re tired and grumpy and we’ve had enough!
When it comes to summer, we have a sense that it’s just going to be more of the same unless we put an end to the chaos pretty quickly.
After picking up swim towels, bathing suits, ponies, Legos and all those other tiny pieces that have become embedded in the bottom of our foot one too many times, it’s time to put our uninjured foot down! This is a home not a summer rec center!
Here are four valuable tips for keeping your kids organized and disciplined during the summer:
- Mis en place – the culinary doctrine of “everything in its place” is wholly applicable to pretty much everything in life. Summer doesn’t have to mean everything is strewn all over. Sure, encourage creativity, let the Legos and ponies and Barbies and bears stay out. But don’t let things take over. The rules are still the rules – laundry in the hamper, shoes in the basket by the door, wet towels hung up to dry. But add new summer rules to corral those pool towels, drippy swimsuits and of course all those books checked out from the library.
- Label, label, label – mom’s need a rest too! With the kids in and out with their friends and the sun and heat requiring constant hydration use disposable cups with names written in permanent marker, color-coded water bottles or some type of system to keep from ending up with every cup, glass, plate and bowl in the sink at the end of the day. Same with flip-flops, towels, and pool bags. These things aren’t cheap, and we all have a child whose life would be over if they couldn’t have their favorite item – so even though they’re not going to sleep away camp, label their things. Also, it makes it easier to divvy them up when they need to be put away.
- Summer Chore Chart – as much as mom doesn’t want to play maid servant, the kids aren’t looking for a summer of housework. However, since they’ll be at home more it’s the perfect time to start a chore chart and get them participating in household organization. It’s also a great way for them to earn special treats like a trip to the bookstore, a movie or a day at a local water park.
- Don’t forget the car – it seems like the car quickly becomes a black hole for summer things. It’s easy to toss it all into the back to quickly get out of the heat. With a few storage bins in the back and maybe even a small back of the seat organizer there will be no need to completely unpack everything when something appears to be missing.
We all know that staying organized is important. In the summer it may not seem as important though. Nurturing our kids’ inner spirit, encouraging free-play and recognizing the need to decompress are key reasons for the lazy days of summer. But in the process our lives and home don’t need to completely dissolve into a messy heap.
How do you keep organized in the summer? How do you get the kids to help out?