At ReclaimYou, we make personalised tidy tubs. These have the child's name on them. This gives the child a sense of importance and empowerment – this is my special tidy tub and it helps me do a good job of tidying up my toys. It is a tool we use daily in our home. They also come with a leaflet for parents, highlighting different games that families can play together, to create a happy habit of tidying up. Last year at the Better Home and Living Show, which is a 3 day event, we didn’t sell a single tidy tub.
As a life coach, I have spent some time studying body language and would you know what I saw?
As soon as a parent learnt that they had to engage WITH THEIR CHILD. TO TEACH THEM HOW TO RESPECT THEIR BELONGS, TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR TOYS AND THEIR SPACE…THEY DISENGAGED ENTIRELY. Eyes glazed over, interest lost completely! How in the hell do you expect your child to learn how to tidy up without your guidance? You are their PARENT or GUARDIAN!
Now, I am not disappointed that I didn’t make a single sale – I achieved my personal goal, just by being there. No, what disappoints me, is that in my experience, children often have commands barked at them like
PICK YOUR SHOES UP
TIDY YOUR ROOM ... I TOLD YOU TO TIDY YOUR ROOM
IF YOU DON’T PICK YOUR TOYS UP, I’M GOING TO THROW THEM IN THE BIN.
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO YOUR FRIENDS HOUSE UNTIL YOU’VE CLEANED UP
No guidance. No educational information. No support. No Fun. No clear communication. Did you hear these threats as a child? Are you hearing your own parents when you open your mouth? Now as an adult, do you read these, and do they make you feel inspired to go and declutter and organise your room? Or do they make you feel small, helpless, confused, frustrated or worse…. fearful.
I’m not judging, because let me tell you that I too have uttered words similar to these. The thing is, you can change this damaging cycle around stuff. When we engage in the process with our children, we teach them that is safe to tidy up. That they do not have to protect possessions and ‘hoard’ them. It gives us an opportunity to teach them that when something is broken, if we cannot fix it, that we discard it in the appropriate manner. We teach them that when they have outgrown something, that it is beneficial to donate it or pass it on to someone who may need the item.
When our children take care of their belongings, when they make their bed and tidy their room, they are flooded with a sense of accomplishment and pride and we should be too. Proud of them and proud ourselves, for engaging in the process, teaching them correctly and supporting them.
Follow me, @declutteringcoach for games and tips on HOW to support your child at tidy up time in your home