Teaching Your Kids Time Management

kids time management kids

 

Telling time is part of our school curriculum in second grade.  Our kids learn about analog clocks, what time it is and how to tell time. They see digital clocks everywhere in our homes. Telling time is just the first part of time management.  More than just telling time, time management is about prioritizing what to do when, how long a task takes, and breaking a task into smaller steps for completion.   Teaching your kids time management skills takes time, practice and patience.

 

Time management basics

Time management is about prioritizing, duration, and chunking.

  • We prioritize what tasks need to be done when we have a date or deadline.  How do we know what’s important when there is neither of these?  Tasks become a priority when we have a clear value for ourselves personally.  We have parents shaped those values with our family.
  • We know the duration of a task, or how long it takes, from experiences we have.  Each of us can do the same task but have it take different amounts of time depending on many parts.  Allowing ourselves extra time to complete a task makes it easier.
  • Chunking is breaking a task into manageable chunks.  We can’t always complete a task in a certain amount of time, but if we break it into smaller bits we can be assured of completion.

 

Time Management for elementary age kids

As parents are a “talking the talk and walking the walk” of our priorities for our kids.  In elementary school most kids have a variety of academics and extracurricular activities.  We have set up extracurricular activities for our kids to have varied experiences.  Our priorities for their experiences shape their activities.

  • If your family values wellness, choose one activity that includes exercise such as baseball, dance or gymnastics for each child.
  • If your family values spirituality, attend weekly at church or synagogue or bible study.
  • If your family values academic success, establish a daily homework time starting at an early hour.

Keep mindful of how many priorities your family has.  Weigh the value of over committing to an abundance of extracurricular activities.  All activities are good, but which is best for your family.  Your kids can be over scheduled in elementary school and feel stressed by being rushed between activities.

 

Help your kids learn how long a task takes by establishing time for them to work on a chore or a project.  We often are unaware or unsure of how long it takes to unload the dishwasher, look up information on a computer or complete a worksheet as homework.

  • Keep a time log and see how long an activity takes.
  • Set a timer and see how long an activity takes.
  • Use a time timer and see how long an activity takes.

 

Breaking tasks into management pieces takes practice too.  It could be a school related project or organizing your space, but every project can be broken down into smaller units to complete.

  • Use the pomodoro method with a timer, segmenting your work into 20 minutes time slots.
  • Use a mind map and map out a plan for each step of a project.
  • Make a list of the steps in a project.

 

Each of these tools helps you model time management and engage with them in the process. We always need improved processes ourselves.  Teaching our kids will make us use these tools more effectively too.

 

Check out more on time management here.

 

Time is on my side, yes it is!

3 Surprising Tips for Keeping Your Kids Organized

 

organizing your kids

 

 

Keeping our kids organized can be a challenge! We know it’s an important teachable moment for the long term, but it’s also vital for our family sanity.  An organized family feels more cohesive and positive. Even the most organized families can struggle with daily maintenance.

 

  • Set up systems that are kid friendly as a start. The first step is to set  up organizing systems that work for them. Create a system that works with their individual styles.  A simple system is best for their clothes, media and toys.  Give them a good baseline to stay organized.

 

  • Do some decluttering with them twice a year to keep pared down.  Without a time line, there is more coming in for our kids than going out.  Working alongside them in their spaces, your kids will learn that decluttering is an important life skill.  Rather than being overwhelmed, they will welcome the time working alongside you too.

 

Check out these surprising ways to get your kids into organizing each week.

 

Think gadgets

Kids stay better organized when there is an innovative tool to use.  Swiffers, cleaning wipes, and gadgets keep your kids engaged in organizing.  Have a dust buster? Have them break it out under their beds to clear out dust and get organized in their rooms.

 

Get goofy and make it fun

There’s lots of ways preschool teachers make organizing fun. They use the clean up song or set a timer.  It’s easy to incorporate these same tools at home.  Have a designated time each day for “resetting” your home.  Use a timer on your smart phone or create a Pandora playlist for this time.  For just 5 minutes each evening, get everything back to it’s spot.  Make it goofy and get in the act too!  Not a spot for everything?  Have your kids use the label maker (another gadget!) to set up a spot.

 

Change things up and rearrange their rooms

Just when you think your kids’ rooms could not get any more disorganized, it’s time to rearrange their space.  Surprisingly by changing up the arrangement of the dresser, bed and books, your kids are more organized than ever.  It could be the positivity of a new space.  It could be the arrangement better suits their current needs.  It could be that there’s new energy in the room.  Kids will keep their rooms better organized once it is rearranged and they have a new room.

 

When it’s more fun to be organized than not, our kids love to be organized!

 

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Decluttering with your kids

decluttering with your kids

Summer is the best time to partner with your kids in decluttering your home.  You have a little more time during the week without the pace of school.  Your kids need a little something more to do around the house.  Most especially we all need an annual time to declutter what has built up throughout the year.  There are many philosophies on decluttering with your kids.  All have merit.  It’s time to think about what works best in your family.

Working alongside your kids

 

Many of us as kids were just sent to our room to “clean up.”  It might have been a frustrating experience. Where do we start? What does our room need to look like in the end?  What do we do with all our stuff?  Work alongside your kids to get their rooms organized.  Start with trash.  There’s a lot of it!  Trash includes anything broken, stained or unusable.  Coach your child through categories.  It can be general, like toys, clothes and media.  Then work through sub categories, like XBox and Wii, Barbies and Barbie clothes, or vehicles and animals.  Start to pare down once everything is grouped together. It’s much easier to let go of stuff if you know what you have.  Keep working steadily with your kids until they start disengaging.  It’s good for you to continue without then at this point and work until the space is complete.  By working together, your kids will learn the organizing process, learn to simplify and learn that less is more!

 

Working without your kids

 

Sometimes kids’ spaces are too overwhelming for them to be a part of the organizing process. As the parent,  you know there need to be changes.  Go ahead and organize their space without them.  It will be a blessing to them that you are working at organizing.  You can delete toys and place  these in black garbage bags in the garage to be sure you have not eliminated a precious item.  Start by grouping items together, then deleting what is excessive.  Create spots to store the items so that your kids can easily access them and label each spot.  Your kids will need a “tour” of the space and some reminders on how to stay organized.

 

 Kid keepsakes

 

Most kids have school and other papers in their space. It’s best to have a keepsake box for them. It’s a place to stash what they think is precious for their keepsakes.  If your child is an artist, think of a display area for their work.  Many parents are using clothespin lines for art display.  If your child creates lego structures, think of adding ledge shelving for display.  Honoring your kids’ keepsakes is another way of connecting with them.

 

Other decluttering tips:

 

  • Your children can share their blessings by decluttering before a birthday or holiday. Encourage your children to donate to local philanthropies that are important to your family, such as a women’s shelter or relief fund.
  • Sell the items online or at consignment and have them also learn about money.  Go through your children’s clothes at summer and winter intervals to be sure only what fits is in the drawers or closet.
  • If you store clothes for the next sibling, keep these in uniform, labeled containers with the size, season and gender on the outside of the container.
  • If your children are not ready to part with certain toys, the toys can “go on vacation” on an upper shelf or other storage area to be brought out later.  Expect to work together for 30 minutes, and then finish up.

 

Great kid storage options

 

IKEA small bins

IKEA small bins

 

 

Kids keepsake boxes

Kids keepsake boxes

 

 

toy organizing

Container Store busy boxes

 

 

More organizing ideas for busy parents here!

Organizing Your Purse for Work

purse productivity

 

Can’t find your keys, phone or badge at work?  It’s the little things that matter when being organized at work.  Did you know your purse is an important part of organizing and productivity?  Not only will you be be effective and efficient with an organized purse, you will feel more confident.  Here’s the strategy for organizing your purse!

 

Start with a medium size cross body style purse.  This medium size purse holds your phone and wallet.

 

Use a small fold over wallet for your credit cards and drivers license.
Add in a larger handbag with divided sections for  your iPad and notebook.

 

Finalize with a wristlet  for use throughout the work day.  Transfer your smart phone to this purse, keep your badge and pens in here all the time.

 

Stack all the purses inside the larger handbag as you travel to and from work.

  • Keep your keys in one pocket of this larger bag to be sure you know where they are at all times.
  • Designate a receipt pocket for all those tiny slips of paper.
  • Clear out your purse weekly to keep up to speed.

 

More ideas for productivity here!

College Preparation and Organization

college preparation and organization

 

It’s a big transition that first year of college! Being sure you have the right stuff makes that transition easier. College preparation and organization make this transition easier.  It’s important to get started with the right stuff.

 

Preview

Take advantage of  your first peek at college life while  you are registering for classes during the summer.  Look over your space with an honest appraisal. It’s much smaller than  you think!  See what is built in to your room and what storage exists.  If needed, use a tape measure too.

 

Less is more

For most college bound, the big items to take are clothes and technology.  It’s tempting to try to bring it all.  But that can lead to chaos.  Decide on clothes by deciding on a number to take. You can can 10, 14 or or a specific number of items. Shoes and accessories are harder to store so think about practicality too.

 

Here are favorite college clothes storage items.

 

shoe organizer

Shoe organizer, not just for shoes.

 

command hooks

Command hooks

 

hanging shelves

hanging shelves

rolling cart with drawers

Three Drawer Rolling Cart

 

For technology, bring your game system and other goodies grouped together.  It may not be possible to install a 52 inch screen, but you can consolidate your games.  Use a notebook for all the CDs, a bin for the controllers, and a crate for anything else.

 

media storage

Media Storage

 

media organizing

Shoe box for organizing your media

 

More than clothes

Remember, you need to be prepared for more than just partying.   Prepare for studying, room decorating, laundry, bathroom, and other room stuff.

  • For academics, you will need one spiral notebook for each class, a planner, flash drives, and folders for handouts.
  • For laundry be sure to bring a laundry basket to tote your clothes to and from the laundry room.
  • Find out where your bath and shower are.  A caddy is a handy tote for your shampoo, soap and more.
  • Coordinate with your roommate who will have a  mini refrigerator, microwave, and printer. Tiny spaces need just one of each of these.

 

College prep time line

• Start after your orientation week in June/July
• Break your preparation and purchases into baby steps with clothes, organizing, study stuff, and more
• Create a spot to keep it in while organizing
• Set a time to give away extra clothes
• Group items together and label your boxes for organized packing

 

 

Organize a July 4th Summer Celebration

organize July 4 summer celebration

 

It’s easy to get in the spirit of our nation’s biggest celebration July 4th.  It takes just a little organizing for summer celebrations for us to have a grand ole time!  Organize July 4th summer celebration with these easy to do ideas.

 

Red, white and blue

Easy to pull together, our patriotic colors set the stage for fun.  Coordinate your party goods, food and beverages around these colors.  Strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon are healthy additions to every celebration.  Make homemade ice cream and add red, white and blue sprinkles.  Guests love to be a part of the food preparation and are happy to bring pot luck items to share.

 

Lanterns, twinkling lights, and sparklers bring light to your party after dark.  While waiting for the fireworks, have on hand glow sticks, glowing necklaces and glow in the dark toys.

 

Patriotic music is a must for this holiday celebration.  Pandora has a special patriotic music station.  Create your own playlist with God Bless the USA.  Choose music from all generations to play throughout the day.

 

Decorate your home with small flags at your curb.  Place American flag toothpicks in your edibles.  Share your patriotic spirit.

 

Let’s the fun begin

Old fashioned games are the best!  Think about croquet, frisbee, kick ball and other outdoor games we played as kids.  Serve water infused with strawberries and basil while you are playing to keep hydrated.

 

Bike rides and picnics are a fun way to celebrate the 4th too.  Decorate  your bike the evening before with red,white and blue streamers in your bike spokes and on your handle bars.  Bring a picnic lunch with a red checked tablecloth.

 

Rained out on your party date?  Take the fun indoors with charades, Heads Up app on your smart phone, or a top 10 July 4th movie like Independence Day or National Treasure.  Watch one of the national celebrations on tv from Washington DC or New York.

 

Plan to pick up these items early in the week to stay away from holiday crowds.  Enjoy your day with family and friends as you celebrate our national holiday.

 

Let’s party! Ideas on pinterest.

 

Top 5 Clutter Questions Answered

clutter questions

 

Many of us face the same clutter challenges.  Questions like what to keep, how to keep it and how to get started organizing are some of the most frequently asked questions.  These solutions can be simple ways to start decluttering and organizing your space.  Check out these clutter questions and see if there is an answer for you here.

 

I don’t know where to start organizing.

You see clutter in many different spots in your home. You may wonder what’s the best place to start organizing.   I suggest starting in one of these two ways.

  • Start with what’s most frustrating.  When you are frustrated, you are ready to make change happen.  You are ready to let go of items and donate them.   What’s most frustrating is most motivating.
  • Start with a small space. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by organizing. By starting in small space,  you are see the change you are creating. You can finish a project quickly because it takes only an hour or two to complete.

Any space you start in is a great space! Start with just 15 minutes at a time and you will be amazed at how much you accomplish.

 

I never have enough time to organize.

Our lives are busy and full. It’s not always a top priority to organize and other activities take priority.  There will seldom be a time we are truly ready to organize or have the time we want to do it all.

  • Make an appointment with yourself (and those helping you) to organize.  It can be as compelling as any appointment you make with a doctor, dentist or any professional. Your appointment will prevent other activities from being scheduled at the same time. Write in your calendar the time you will work.
  • Work in baby steps.  We often think organizing will take longer than we think. It fuels our procrastination.  By working in 15 minute increments, with a timer, you can make a lot of progress.

Make organizing a higher priority by thinking about your benefits. When you think about how your home or office will feel when you are organized, you will be more likely to get started organizing.

 

It’s not my clutter.

We’re not always partnered with those who view clutter the same way we do.   However, we know that all relationships work best with respect and communication.  Share and listen.  Your family will want to make their home a serene environment. Set up small ways that organizing can happen on a regular basis.  Most importantly, start with your own stuff first.  When you model organizing, your family will follow your lead.

 

What about “just in case?”

We live in a world of vulnerability and unpredictability. It’s in our natural to want to keep more than we need as a result.  There are a few antidotes to this thinking.

  • The Minimalist share their theory of 20/20.  Anything you can replace for 20 dollars or go out of your way 20 minutes to get can be eliminated.
  • Anything you have not used in a certain number of years can be eliminated.  You set that number of years.  You may have to use it in the next 6 months, but it is worthy of storing as a result?  You be the judge of which is more valuable to you.  A little inconvenience or more added space.
  • Share your story of why you are keeping an item. Does it make sense as you tell someone else?

Just in case keeps us paralyzed.  Check in with new perspectives to see if you are ready to let it go.

 

It’s a gift from someone special.

Unused wedding gifts, sweaters from sister’s that are too small, or a collection from a deceased family member can have a strong hold on us.  Sentimental clutter is hard to let go of.  Decide if it is something you love first.  If not, let it go and let others be blessed by it.  If it is, then here are more options.  Is it an item that you can take a picture of to remember it, instead of keeping the item? Write a journal or blog post about why it’s special.  Keep a few of the most precious items and sell the remainder.  There are many ways to move forward with special gifts that have lost value for us.

 

There are lots of decisions to make in organizing. There are lots of resources to use to help you. Check out my pinterest boards to find answers to your organizing questions.   Join my monthly newsletter for more answers too.

8 Routines of Organized Families

8 routines of organized families

 

Family routines make family life run smoothly.  It’s no secret there are lots of reasons to be an organized family.  It’s these 8 routines that make a difference and help your family be THAT organized family.

 

1.  Family meetings help everyone communicate, work together and know what is needed.

2.  Grocery shop on the same day or days each week. Never run out of milk, bread or other essentials.

3.  Your family calendar can be paper or digital.

4.  Completing laundry twice a week means everyone can find their jeans and underwear all the time.

5.  Have a landing strip where kids backpacks and your bags sit ready to go each morning.

6. Have a spot your mail comes to each day, open it over the recycling container and shred right away.

7. It could be just once a week, but having family dinner together makes for cohesiveness.

8.  Everyone needs a good bedtime.

 

 

Organized families keep up with habits and routines with charts, check lists and signs.  Organized families make time for organizing and prioritize working together to organize.  Organized families know the value of organizing.

 

More ideas for busy parents here!

 

 

 

Paper Processing (How to make your paper disappear!)

paper management

 

Overwhelmed by paper and just want to make it vanish?  Paper processing is a way to be sure you are getting rid of as much extra paper as you can.  Check out these ideas!

 

Gather paper together mail, your kids’ backpacks, and other areas.

  • Set up a command center with slots for action, pay, file and receipts.
  • Set up baskets for your kids’ school papers to keep for a month
  • Process incoming papers 5 minutes each day
  • Create a weekly administrative time for one hour to process everything in your command center and file.

 

Kids papers

  • Once a month review your kids papers. Keep only what is precious.
  • Keep precious papers and art in a box in your kids’ closets, photo it for a photo book, or use a large portfolio to store it.

 

Annual paper review

  • Each February as you prepare for taxes, gather papers for tax prep, archive financials, and shred papers.
  • Group papers by year that may be of  more importance, such as medical explanation of benefits, credit card statements or kids school documents.

Going paperless

  •  Use PaperKarma to eliminate paper
  • Use Catalogchoice.com to eliminate junk mail and magazines.
  • Choose a scanner to move from paper to digital.
  • Include a To Be Scanned section in your command center.

 

References for what to keep

  • Oprah.com ABCs of Important Papers
  • Real Simple 5 Steps for Simpler Record Keeping
  • Ellen’s Blog Important Papers

 

More ideas for getting rid of paper in my monthly newsletter.  Join here!

 

Organizing Quotes I Love

organizing inspiration

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