Are your children organized? Do you wish they would just pick up after themselves? Is your child a collector of sorts and cannot let anything go? Would you like to help your children to be more organized? I have to be honest here. I don’t have any young children living in my home but I did at one time. I do have grandchildren visiting from time to time and I do expect them to clean up after themselves, make the bed for the next sleepover, pack up their clothes, etc. etc. Children need these kind of guidelines or boundaries and I believe they learn respect when they know what is expected of them. Our grands love to come over for Gramma time (x2) and a sleepover. Of course, at this time we are all missing each other. Hopefully we will all be able to visit again soon.
What if your child is a Collector (of stones, feathers, shells, treasures, etc.)
If you have a child like this, perhaps you could help them to have a way to display their items. If they start to get too much, help them to be able to make decisions about which ones to let go of. Always reward them for not bringing something home and/or for discarding items.
What if your child loves everything?
Ask your child to pick out a number of items (say 10) that they love. Next ask them to rate each of the items on a scale of 1 – 10 as to how much they love the item and how much they need or want the item. Ask them if they are able to let go of their least favourite item. If they are having trouble with this and think they cannot let go of this or any item, suggest that someone (maybe you) hold on to it for them for a week. They will think they can’t do it but they can. At the end of the week ask them how they are feeling, if they have actually missed the item and if they are now willing to let go of the item. Praise them if they can follow through.
What if your child has a hard time with making decisions?
I see this a lot with my clients as well. I really believe that being comfortable with making decisions has to do with self esteem, knowing who you are and what you want and trusting your intuition. It is something that takes time and practice. To help children, I suggest offering children a choice whenever possible. For example; “do you want to wear the pink pyjamas or the blue pyjamas tonight?”
What if your child likes to acquire things?
Teach your children that there is a difference between Need and Want. Ask them questions such as “do you have room for that?”, “where will you put it”, “how will you use it?” Make a deal with your child. If you really believe you “need” it, then you have to make room by getting rid of something else. Limiting items might be helpful, explaining to children that there is only so much space so this is what we will allow in this space.
What if your child does not want to clean up?
As a busy parent, I really get it. It can really feel easier and quicker to do it yourself. However, you will want to have patience and take the time to show and help your child to put their toys and things away. Everything needs to have a home and keep like with like. This will make things easier for you and your child. This will help your child to see what he has and to help him to have respect for his belongings. Don’t forget that you are your child’s role model. They learn from you.
What if your child doesn’t want to let go of anything?
Generally, I do not think it is a good idea to get rid of children’s belongings (or anyone’s for that matter) without their permission. Especially for children eight years and older. If they figure out that their belongings have been discarded, this can be traumatic for them and likely they will hang onto their items even tighter. If your child is pretty adamant that they cannot discard anything it may be time to get some outside help. There are ways to help children and the earlier this can be addressed the better.
Some of the therapies would be things like Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mental Health Treatment for OCD, Anxiety, Trauma, etc. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.
Here is an awesome online resource I found with videos that are made especially for children who are struggling with challenging issues. These are videos that you can watch with your child.
Children need to be encouraged to follow their passions no matter what they are. Never shame or blame your child. Honour their choices. Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have. Kudos to all the parents out there who are doing the best everyday. Please let me know if you have found this post to be helpful. Happy Decluttering!
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