Organising with children.

Welcome to week 28 of Tidy 2020. As we start to swing towards the summer holidays, schools in Scotland have already broken up and the ones in England and Wales won’t be far behind. Hopefully the pressure of trying to keep up with school work at home whilst tackling your own job has eased up. Whilst Lockdown restrictions are relaxing in many areas, it doesn’t seem like a huge number of people will be rushing off on foreign holidays and I thought that we would bring our focus back inside the house for a couple of weeks to focus on organising with children.

The very first thing to remember when working with children is that they often have very different priorities from ourselves. We may love certain toys, such as the beautiful wooden rainbows, whilst they hang on like grim death to the tiny plastic toy that arrived stuck on the front of a magazine. What I always say to people if I am working with their children is to focus on the end result. What do we want? Children who grow into adults able to make decisions about what they want to keep and what sort of lives they want to lead. To that end, we really must allow children as much autonomy as possible in this area. If they feel confident that they are not being pushed to discard, then often they will discard far more. I am frequently amazed by the ability of children to make these decisions.

During lockdown I worked virtually with a fantastic little chap who was so confident in his decisions. He really knew what he liked and he was able to let go of so many toys that went to deserving cases and to raise money for his school.

As always, let’s not start by trying to tackle the difficult decisions, let’s start with clothes. What fits? What makes them feel good? What do they like to wear? Again, I try to give my children as much autonomy as I can over how they dress and they really are so very different. My eldest loves to wear tracksuit bottoms and her favourite t-shirts all have holes in the sleeves. She loves for her hair to be tied neatly back in a French plait. My son is similar (minus the hair!), but my middle daughter is definitely developing a style of her own, with waistcoats and wild hair. My youngest would wear sparkly pink dresses for everything – I am really not sure where she gets that from!

Obviously there will be clothes that they are not fond of that they have to keep, like School Uniforms and perhaps one or two outfits that will do if they need to be smartly turned out. Even here though, I do try to get them to choose what their favourite smarter clothes are and work with those.

Once you have sorted their clothes with them, take some time to teach them how to fold their clothes properly. Remember that this is an art that takes time to learn, but it is worthwhile teaching it to them. My children have been folding their own laundry for years; when it comes off the line, or out of the dryer, I sort it into baskets and then part of their daily routine is that they fold it. They may well not do it as well as you would, but try to ignore that – if you do it for them, all that they will learn is that you are better at doing it than they are.