This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments, and before long the house is as cluttered as the calendar. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.
Tips for Maintaining an Organized Home
(Family Features) This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments, and before long the house is as cluttered as the calendar.
Fall is the perfect time of year to recommit to an organized household so you can keep the chaos contained. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.
Embrace routines. The idea of dedicating large chunks of time to organizing and tidying the house can be overwhelming. However, making time to clean as you progress through the day can help control clutter and keep the time commitment more manageable. Commit to cleaning up the kitchen after dinner each night. Set expectations for kids to pick up their rooms before bed. Before long, routines become productive habits that make a visible difference.
Purge the excess. Over time, nearly everyone collects too much stuff, and clutter is often more an indication of too much volume than poor organization. Items are purchased to replace outdated things, but the old pieces sometimes don’t actually get discarded. Getting control of your clutter starts with eliminating the things you no longer want or need. A good strategy is to create piles of items: keep, sell, donate and discard.
Create a drop zone. In most homes, the entryway is a catchall for family belongings that get shed with each pass through the door. It’s convenient to have shoes, coats, backpacks and other essentials ready to grab as you head out, so instead of fighting the inevitable jumble, find a way to organize it. A stylish drop zone using ClosetMaid’s Space Creations organizers is a solution that attractively contains all those essentials. The line includes a range shelving kits, complementing drawers, baskets, rods and more so you can customize the storage unit to your exact space and needs.
Avoid junk piles. Nearly every home has at least one junk pile, drawer or even room. In most cases, the reason is that the contents are a mish-mash of items that don’t really have any place else to go. Make a point to identify ways to create order, whether it’s adding drawer inserts to contain all the odds and ends or buying a standing file to capture bills and mail.
Be mindful about use. When you’re on a mission to eliminate excess clutter, it can be tempting to go overboard putting things away. It’s important to be realistic about where you store the things you need and err on the side of keeping the things you use regularly within reach. This may mean getting creative about how you organize or even adding new storage containers or furniture, but remember being organized is only helpful if it’s also practical.
Find more ideas for better home organization this busy season at ClosetMaid.com.SOURCE:
Being stuck inside with a baby during the colder months can leave even the most seasoned parents feeling a bit stir-crazy. Consider these activity ideas that you and your baby can do together no matter the weather or where you’re traveling.
Building Babies’ Brains
(Family Features) While traditional academics are an important component of a child’s education and development, not all lessons can be taught in the classroom. Teaching children skills for life often starts at home. With school back in session, it’s important to take advantage of learning opportunities for your children and encourage their independence.
Responsibility, confidence and independence are traits many parents strive to teach their children that can guide them through obstacles even after they are grown. You can create an environment for your children that encourages independent thinking with these ideas:
Encourage effort. Not every pursuit ends in success and children need to know that it’s OK to fail sometimes. Celebrating the journey and reinforcing the benefits of an experience are important ways to encourage effort that doesn’t reach the desired outcome. For example, a T-ball game that ends in a loss might be followed with a conversation about what your little player learned and what play he or she was most proud of. This is an opportunity to promote the value of practicing to develop skills and learn new things.
Acknowledge accomplishments. When your child achieves a goal, it brings numerous teachable opportunities. One, of course, is the joy of victory and the sense of pride and accomplishment it brings. Rewarding milestones gives added meaning and incentive for children to strive toward their goals.
Create fun learning opportunities. Some of the most unexpected learning opportunities turn out to be the most memorable. For example, you can make oral hygiene fun and educational for your kids by allowing them to become the coach of family brush time. One way to make brush time fun is with the Colgate Kids Interactive Powered Toothbrush, which encourages children to gain independence every time they brush with the help of their favorite characters’ voices. Available in Minions and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this toothbrush teaches children when and where to brush, and congratulates them when they finish brushing for the dentist-recommended two minutes. Find more information at Colgate.com/kids.
Set high expectations. Children are generally eager to please and strive toward the level of expectations that are set for them. Every child is different, but always set the bar high. Setting expectations slightly over a child’s comfort zone is one way to encourage children to challenge themselves and try new things.
Give more responsibilities. Parents often strive to instill independence in their children so that they are eager to do things on their own. Giving responsibilities, such as household chores, is a practical way to show kids how to develop the skills they need to get a job done. For example, a young child may be able to help his or her parents fold clean clothes, but not yet be old enough to operate the washing machine or dryer. Fast-forward and soon the same child is able to do that chore “all by himself.”
Although parenting brings plenty of opportunities to nurture and protect, it also offers the chance to guide children in developing the traits they need to become independent, successful adults.SOURCE:
(Family Features) Juggling jobs, kids and the demands of a busy, modern life often comes at the expense of family mealtime at home. Even though life never seems to slow down, now is the perfect time to renew your commitment to creating and serving meals at home that nourish your kids’ brains and help them flourish.
Not only is time together around the table an opportunity to catch up and reconnect, numerous studies provide evidence of the positive, lifelong benefits of family meals. Regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes that ensure a bright future for children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and less risky behaviors.
For example, according to research published in the “Journal of Pediatrics,” kids and teens who share meals with their families three or more times per week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders.
Other studies have shown that children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit positive social behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect.
On the other hand, research also suggests that aside from missing out on the benefits, families that have fewer meals together can also experience adverse effects when it comes to certain risky behaviors. A study on the relationship between certain family characteristics and adolescent problem behaviors, published in the “Journal of Adolescent Health,” found that teens who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or have used an illegal drug; 2.5 times more likely to have used tobacco and 1.5 times more likely to have used alcohol.
Meal Planning Tips
Planning for family mealtime can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Take the stress out of planning and preparing family meals with these tips and begin reaping the benefits of more time together around the dinner table.
Make Family Meals Count
Gathering the family for a daily meal offers numerous ways to make lasting impressions. Promoting one more family meal each week is an educational program created by the Food Marketing Institute Foundation and the nation’s grocery stores.
Role-modeling. Spending time with adults where they can observe positive behaviors in action teaches kids valuable life skills such as using table manners and taking turns talking without interrupting.
Family values. In a busy home where various activities and demands create divides in time and attention, family meals let everyone come together to honor the family unit. Demonstrating value for family and making this together time a priority helps teach youngsters lessons about the importance of work-life balance that they will carry into adulthood.
Time to relax. Not only is mealtime a time to nourish bodies, it’s a chance to force each member of the family to pause and put a temporary hold on the chaotic pace of life. Kids and grownups alike can benefit from a daily break to recharge not only physically, but mentally as well.
Fond memories. A family meal tradition has all the makings for fond childhood memories. An activity that plays an important role in the family’s schedule is sure to create a lasting impression for kids when they look back on their formative years.
Learn more about the positive impact regular meals at home together can have for your kids’ emotional, intellectual and physical well-being at nationalfamilymealsmonth.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family at table)
Food Marketing Institute
American Academy Of Pediatrics
Back To School
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
Early Childhood Education
High School Prom
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