With the Chinese New Year round the corner, you might be feeling inspired to spring clean your kids’ rooms. Make sure you leave no room for this list of items!
1. Broken Stuff
Check your kids’ toys for hazards like loose parts, broken pieces, sharp edges and leaking batteries. Be sure to discard them. These broken items may result in children suffering from cuts, falls, suffocation, strangulation, burns, poisoning or even death. A decluttered room is not simply for the aesthetic pleasure of visual orderliness, but first and foremost for the safety of your children.
No matter how strongly you feel about the benefits of having a spare, your kids do not need two or more identical items. Decluttering can be an experiential learning opportunity for them. By having only one of each toy or book, kids learn precious lessons such as sharing, taking turns, understanding and negotiating boundaries between siblings or peers such as cousins or friends who come over for playdates.
Put away electronic devices or battery-operated toys because research has shown they cause children to be sedentary and this in turn increases their risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Instead, keep toys such as wooden blocks, Lego, dress-up supplies or any other toys that encourage hand-eye coordination, movement, dexterity, as well as a sense of imagination.
4. Plagiarised and Pirated Items
Many plagiarised and pirated versions of character-based toys, books and games are available in the market today. It is common to see pirated Star Wars Lightsabers, Lego bricks, Disney Princess Dresses, Transformers robots, Monopoly sets and the list goes on. Discard these plagiarised and pirated stuff to teach your children that the infringement of any intellectual property is essentially stealing. Convey to your kids that the innovative and creative industry deserves our respect and we should only purchase originals.
Now that you’ve cleared out your kids’ rooms, what’s next?
Help your child understand that every item has its place at home
Have you ever tidied their rooms only to find them reinstated to their original messy glory a week, a day or even hours later?
Children need to be taught that being organised is a personal responsibility, says Mrs Dianne Seet-Swee, Principal of Ascension Kindergarten. This in turn allows children to be accountable for their behaviour. “Organisation is a skill where children focus on the task on hand and not be distracted by the unimportant matters. This will help them in self-regulation. Self-regulation requires a child to develop the ability to manage his emotions and control bodily functions as well as maintain focus and attention,” shared Mrs Seet-Swee.
In Ascension Kindergarten, children are acquainted with “Oscar Organisation”. Oscar Organisation is a character found in the You Can Do It (YCDI) Programme founded by Professor Michael E Bernard. The YCDI Programme equips children with positive habits of mind, giving them strategies to overcome the slew of emotions they face. It gives both children and teachers the appropriate language to bring across the said strategies.
Some of these principles include packing their own bags, putting on their own personal effects, and finding a home for their belongings. Recently at our assembly, Oscar the bird lost his egg. He simply did not remember where he left it and was fretful. Much later, a friend found it in the toilet! Children learned that like an egg which belongs to a nest, every item has a home.
For example, your child would need his socks and shoes on a daily basis. Place them at the same place all the time so that he can look for it before leaving for school. If this “home” is not accessible to the child, it is time to make one so that the child is made responsible to ensure these items are ready the night before school. When it is done on a daily basis, praise him for his behaviour. When he is ready, move on to another item. Take one step at a time.
See also: Steps to declutter your home
One of the best gifts you can bestow upon your child is the joy of becoming minimalist. Help them learn from a young age how to declutter and know that truly, less is more.
By Rachel Lim