My four year old daughter loves to tidy and clean her room, playroom, and bathroom. She loves it! You don't believe me do you? If you are anything like I was you are thinking "barf, this woman is crazy." This is how I USED to feel too. Let me tell you how my daughter went from having a meltdown every time I asked her to pick up her playroom to loving her toys and keeping them in order.
Now our time together is free from arguing about simply picking up stuff, to enjoying each other, and our home. It is such a beautiful thing when it all falls into place.
Oh boy, oh boy, this playroom had been through so much over the years...especially BINS. BINS became an obsession for me, I had a bin for everything and a label too.
I am going to be so organized, and the girls will be able to pick up after themselves so much easier now, I am so good. I got this. Boy was I wrong. BINS do not solve your problem. Why was nothing put back in the bins? We went over the new system. She understands which bins are for what. Maybe I need to hide the bins so she can't get into them. I will make her ask me for them. Wow, now I just sucked the fun right out of the "play" room. Oh well, this is what needs to happen. So I executed this new plan and oh boy how it failed. Nothing changed!
I used to be the Mom that let my 3 year old watch youtube whenever she wanted. Youtube videos of people opening up eggs filled with junk mostly. Why do kids love this? Why is this fun? What is happening to us? One morning while I was watching The Today Show I was inspired to put youtube away. I told Lyla we could only play games on her iPad now, and no more youtube because it was not good for our eyes. She completely accepted this and was fine with games only.
I then created a rule of iPad play only during her little sister Livi's nap time. This way they can play together. How awful was I for allowing my daughter to sit on a device and ignore her sister? This is supposed to be her best friend. That's what I wanted for them anyway. That's what I love about having a sister.
Okay, CHANGE MADE. We did it, she is not watching meaningless youtube videos anymore and is fine with that. Now why can't I make changes with the playroom and getting my kids to tidy up their things?
So I began the decluttering process in the playroom. I looked at every toy closely and asked myself?
Does she love this?
Will this add value to her life?
Will this be interactive?
Does she play with this?
I removed so many toys. I had four categories: discard, donate, love now, and rotate. When I was done the playroom consisted of three very small white baskets, about the size of a shoe box. One cute bin, that says THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE, a dress up area, with three dresses and two tiaras, an easel, a microphone and keyboard, one baby doll and bottle, a small pink chair, three puppies, an etch a sketch, and a fisher price smart stages toy. That is it!!! You may be thinking well that's not a playroom, that is not enough. But let's look at this from a different perspective, in this new playroom there is:
An art area, a music area, a dress up and be whoever you want to be area, a be a mommy area, a care for a puppy area, and the most fun area of all use your imagination area.
When my daughter walked into the playroom the first thing she did was look around and spin in a circle. "Mom, I love my playroom thank you so much!" My mouth dropped. "You do?" I am so happy."
All of a sudden it was easy to clean up. She wasn't overwhelmed with so many toys she didn't know where to begin. I watched as she began playing with her toys. She played teacher, princess, sang and danced, mom, built a fort under the easel, and loved her toys more than she ever did before. This was amazing. This is life, this is the Mom I Dream to Be.
Let's simplify playrooms, and get back to the joy of using our imagination. Not only will our children tidy as a result, they will thrive and we will too.