Thursday, August 05, 2010

simplifying life with kids (part 1)

I have a thing for the concept of "Simplification." I love the idea of it. I love how it feels to fill garbage bags and bins destined for the trash or Helping Hands. I love reading about tips on how to live with less, how to cut corners and save rather than spend, how to slow down, how to live in the moment, how to enjoy the journey. But sometimes, I find the process of simplification to be a bit like shoveling the driveway while its still snowing. The toys, clothes, scrapbook supplies, books, etc.... in our home seems to magically multiply on their own. Yet, I still strive for a life that is more simple, less complicated. I still clean out closets and try to resist the urge to spend hundreds of dollars every time I walk into Target. I have not given up!!

Yesterday, I came across an article I had saved on my computer a while back (I came across this article during my quest to "simplify" my inbox and inspiration folder on my computer). I remember quickly scanning it the first time I came across it, but this time I decided to really think about how I could make these concepts work in our home, for our family, at this stage in our lives.

(1) Teach Your Children Self-Sufficiency
* sometimes its just easier to do it yourself, but it is time to start enforcing a little self-sufficiency around our house = brushing teeth, making beds, putting plates in the sink, getting dressed
* thinking of starting a Star Chart with a list of chores and rewards

(2) Keep One Calendar
* starting today, I will enter ALL activities for every family member into my iphone and I will make these entries as soon as I become aware of the appointment, recital, practice, etc...

(3) Regular Cleanups
* we do a pretty good job of this at our house already, but I like the idea of letting the kids know that we will have scheduled/regular cleanup times every day (before bed, before meals, before leaving for school in the mornings)

(4) Quiet Bedtime Routines
* OK, so this is an area that needs tweaking in our family.....we have recently gotten into the bad habit of letting the kids watch about 30 minutes of a movie nearly every night before bed...the result has been that the kiddos are less interested in reading and become quite angry when we suggest we might do something else
* starting today, we are going to reserve some nights for "Story Time" and other nights for "Movie Nights" (we are trying to decide which night will work best as Family Movie Night where we all watch a movie together, make popcorn and make it a special weekly event)
* the rest of our bedtime routine will stay the same = dinner, clean up, baths, brush teeth, pajamas, story or movie

(5) Prep the Night Before
* when school starts, I am going to make a huge effort to get things done the night before....this will include packing lunches, preparing back packs and laying out any forms, projects, etc...that need to be turned in the next day

(6) Toy Bins
* this is another area that we are doing really well in....I have toy bins in both kid's rooms as well as in the playroom, and I am not super strict about making sure everything gets put away in the "correct" bin, just that everything gets put away in a bin
* every couple months we go through all the toys and either throw away (broken, missing pieces, Happy Meal) or donate (outgrown, no longer using) and then I re-arrange them into their proper bin

To Be Continued............


bobo2roo said...

Hi Kristy!
I don't know you, nor do I have any idea how I started reading your blog, but I do! Regularly! and I love it. I love this post and it wraps up all the things that have been stirring in my mind for my house and my boys! Thanks!
Brittney King

Erin said...

Love this Kristy! I was feeling pretty good reading this because I do most of the things on your list...and that is a great list! I'm especially working on having the kids have assigned jobs and help out around the house more. When I had my baby I realized just how little my girls were doing to help out. It's a hard one for me because it takes SO LONG to have them do something I could do in minutes, but you're right - totally worth it!

Kelli said...

These posts are really great! I have realized that I need to be much more consistent in our routine and how we do things. Thanks for sharing.


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