Teaching children how to be productive and how to use their time well can be hard when we struggle with it ourselves.
We want them to be better at it than us. But this means leading by example, and sometimes that is really difficult!
Even if your children are at a young age, you can start helping them identify clutter.
Try working with this simple equation:
Identifying Clutter + Cleaning Up = More Time To Play With Things You Love.
From a child’s perspective, less is not always better! It’s up to us, as mature, adult role-models (yes, that’s you!) to show them the power of decluttering.
Let’s look at productivity from a child’s perspective, using TOYS as an example.
Are You A Help Or A Hinderance To Your Child’s Productivity?
If started early enough, children are able to develop minimalist traits. Despite their attachment to toys, they will be able to let them go as they mature.
As parents we must hold back those barriers that stop us from decluttering and let the kids make their own choices. They need to be proactive and productive.
Yes this means they may make a mistake or they make a wrong choice. However they are still moving forward. They’re not stuck in a mindset. They are learning to be productive.
You’ll recognize the common scenarios; things like:
- Family loyalty: … you can’t throw that out, Grandma, Aunty, Uncle, Cousin gave you that!
- Sentiment: … but that’s your first tooth/ball/toy/rattle/teddy bear!
- Longevity: … I only bought that last month, you WILL play with it!
- Cost: … that cost me a fortune, I’m not throwing that out!
So, the lesson here is: YOU have to be the first one to let go.
Let’s take a minute and think about that. YOU have to be the first one to let go.
If you have trouble letting go, here are three mindsets to help you tackle that.
With the right mindset and consistency, children can clean out their own toys and avoid a vortex of clutter and unproductiveness that can haunt them for life.
Here’s how we (as parents, carers, role-models) can help.
Strategies To Help Children Become More Productive
1. Limit Purchasing Budget
Setting a budget for birthday or Christmas gift requests makes them think about the value of the toy and whether it’s worth it.
It may take a few trial and error purchases to get this right, but this is all part of the learning process.
Any ill-thought out purchase can be sold at a later date or passed on. Yet another life-lesson that will reinforce the value of purchases.
2. Don’t Give In To Fads
This is so hard! Especially if their friends or TV advertising is heavily promoting that latest “must-have”.
When you’re gut tells you this is a fad and that it will not stock up as a good purchase, try to offer alternatives to lessen the initial disappointment!
3. Don’t Duplicate Toys
There are a few ways around avoiding this. You can:
- Be specific when people ask what they can buy for your children. It may seem rude to ‘request’ the gift, but giving options makes it easy for the purchaser and easier for your kids to maintain the right toy balance.For example, you could say; “Board games are fun. We have Monopoly and Connect Four, but we don’t have Uno Cards or Jenga”. Note here you’ve given two game options of varying budgets that the gift-giver can decide to buy.
- Re-gift duplicates. Say for example you received a $20 board game you already have. Put that board game away, give the child $20 and let them buy something else. That $20 board game is then ready and waiting for the next birthday party you need to buy for.
4. Don’t Let Tantrums At The Mall Sway You
Easier said than done, right?
Tantrums at the mall are soooo embarrassing and sometime you’ll do anything to Make. It. Stop. 🙂
My best tip here is to shop at the mall when YOU and the child are in a good mood. This will ensure a better outcome!
5. Give Options!
If you’re imposing your opinion on the purchase of a toy then it may not end well.
Give a few options that you’re comfortable with and then let the decision-making take place.
6. Toy Purge Time
Have a regular toy purge routine to help that decluttering process take form.
Every season change. Once a year. The month before the child’s birthday (out with the old, making way for the new).
Make it a routine, no stress, no dramas. Just simply making room for more a more productive life.
7. Batch The Toys
Productivity in playing can be kept high if you rotate the toy selection.
Keep some toys away from the child for some time and then bring them out when the child starts to tire from “always playing with the same toys”.
If any of the toys in the each batch are rarely play with then it’s time to donate, sell or throw it.
Mindsets To Help Your Child Learn the Value of Productivity
Here are some ways to help your child get around the idea of playing productively & using time better.
1. Work With Their Maturity Level
Explain that they are getting bigger and smarter and need to let some toys go.
2. Let Them Choose
Ask them what toys they want to let go.
3. Offer A Safety Net
Tell them that the toys will be in a “waiting box” (the batched toys) for a specific day in case there is a change of heart.
4. Establish Rules
Working with rules and boundaries helps children make the right choice (or know when they’re making the wrong choice!).
Outgrown toys are to be passed on or sold to other children. Any toys with missing workable parts are tossed out. Toys not played with within xx months are sold or passed on.
5. Teach The Value Of Money
Try the “earning their toys” trick. They buy from what money they saved.
6. Promote Giving
Educate the gift of giving principle to those children less fortunate. It makes both parties feel good.
Where To From Here?
You can tailor these suggestions to the needs of your child. The aim is to develop life-long skills they can fall back on throughout their life.
Wait! Forget The Kids – I Need Some Productivity & Time Management Skills
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