Most children these days will sooner or later be involved in one or several sports which in itself can be an organisational challenge for the whole family. Part of sportive activities also involves looking after sports gear which can be anything from really small to rather big and also expensive equipment.
I never really gave much thought to the concept of children and sports except that it’s a good and healthy thing. As it happens, I became a soccer mum because Mr. 11 has loved ballgames ever since he learned to walk. Throughout the last few years he’s had several soccer training sessions per week, and of course a game every Sunday. I have to admit: I was rather glad that his brother chose not to do soccer as well, as this would have become quite an organisational challenge. Instead, he practices Judo, and they both have swimming lessons for a fraction of the year.
Of course, we support our children in their sport activities and we invest quite a bit of time as a family. However, I also find it important that children learn from an early age that we don’t do everything for them. Organising their sports gear independently is one of the many things they can learn early on. Here’s how:
Have a home for everything
This is a very general rule that, of course, also applies to sports gear, however big or small. When deciding where the sports gear will live, consider these aspects:
Size and numbers – how much space is it taking up and how many do you have (maybe you can get rid of some)?
Seasonality – is the gear used throughout the year, or can it be moved to a different place when not used?
Shape – some things take up a lot of space due to their shape (e.g. balls).
Ventilation – think shoes … it’s better to keep them in a well-ventilated container and room.
Accessibility – make sure the children can access their gear without your help.
Dirtiness – how dirty is the equipment? Let soccer boots live in the garage or the entryway so your child doesn’t walk through the house with them.
courtesy of www.diynetwork.com
Storing sports gear
Make it easy for your kids to put their gear away. It doesn’t need to look great; it just needs to be accessible and practical.
Possible storage options and some examples of what you could use them for:
Clear plastic containers (shoes, balls and pretty much anything)
Wire baskets (things that need ventilation)
Racks or hooks (helmets, skate boards)
Umbrella stand (cricket bats, pool noodles, hockey sticks)
Net bags (balls)
Special hooks (bikes)
Special bags (swimming gear)
Laundry baskets (balls, shoes, helmets)
If you need more inspiration, have a look on Pinterest.
Image courtesy of www.landofnod.com
Routines around sport activities
Another key to achieving organisation success is having a routine before and after sport activities. Let your kids prepare and pack everything they need for the activity, including water and snacks – of course with your help depending on their age. You also might want to create a checklist with your child.
Using our family as an example, this would be:
Take off soccer boots in the garage
Put them on the shoe shelf in the entry hall
Put drinking bottle in the kitchen
Put sports bag away in the laundry (where it lives)
Get undressed and throw everything in the laundry bin (or hang on the wall rack in the bathroom if it’s wet)
Take a shower and get into pyjamas or fresh clothes
Clean and polish sports shoes before you put them away for the next season. Otherwise, the leather will dry out and the shoes will be too uncomfortable to be worn.
What sports do your children pursue and how do you organise their equipment? Make life easier for the family by applying these organisation tips to your household today!
It’s wonderful to have creative children – but where to go with all those masterpieces? Some of the artwork you will want to display, at least for a while. But then …? Especially as a fist time mum, most of us struggle to throw out anything that our babies have created. However, eventually we do have to make those tough decisions since we simply run out of space to keep it all.
In our household we handle it like this:
Artwork comes home and is either
put into a storage box for the current year (one per child)
recycled / thrown out —
At the end of the school year I empty the storage box for the current year. I then sort into three piles:
photograph and keep – I normally use these photos to create a calendar for christmas gifts for grandma and godparents and then store the artwork in a portfolio (one per year and child)
photograph and discard
pile to discard
This simple process works well for me because I do it at the end of the school year. This means I am less emotional in the decision making because in most cases some time has passed since the creation of the artwork.
As always, discarding doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to throw the stuff in the rubbish bin. Let me share how you can repurpose and reuse artwork instead:
Use drawings and paintings as gift wrap. If the gift is bigger than the artwork, use other paper to wrap it and use the artwork to decorate one or several sides. Or make a collage of several artworks big enough to wrap the present in.
Lolly or gift bags
Personalise your party lolly bags or gift bags by using neutral bags and gluing a drawing on them or fold bags with bigger drawings.
Make gift cards or thank-you cards out of the artwork by gluing it on neutral cards in a matching colour.
Picture source: www.thecraftycrow.net
Why not send one or two to grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles, or other people that would love to receive an unexpected gift? Try to send it to people who don’t already have a house full of children’s artworks.
Take a picture of the work in question and create a photo book. If you can part with the originals or at least most of them, it saves you from storing a lot of paper. To create a photo book you can use your photo camera or an application such as “Artkive”.
You’ve decided to keep some of the artwork but don’t want it on display anymore. All flat creations can easily be stored in an art portfolio or another art storage folder, maybe one per child per year. The advantage is that it puts perimeters on it for you. The 3D work takes up a lot of space and, realistically, only a few if any at all can be kept on display. Therefore, keep it preferably in a clear storage container that also sets limits.
Have you got any other ideas about reusing and repurposing artwork? As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share your experience.
Do you find routines and habits boring? Think they take out all the fun of your days? Hinder your children’s or your creativity and spontaneity? Well … I don’t agree. I believe that routines are very important to have for children (and for adults for that matter) and that they actually give us more freedom to be creative, spontaneous and relaxed.
Our family has definitely benefited from routines. They even more importantly help our children to establish habits and teach them important basic skills such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands after using the toilet or preparing their own snacks etc. After all, we expect them to become independent, sensible and responsible adults and these kinds of skills are part of it all.
Routines don’t necessarily have to be boring chores. They can be fun or beautiful and relationship building activities like reading a story together every night. Furthermore, they make children feel safe and secure because their environment becomes more predictable.
Here are a few tips and ideas to consider when you want to introduce routines:
One At A Time
Decide what your top priority is and concentrate on that. Then, only introduce one new routine at a time. Once it is well established, you can build on this basis and introduce the next routine.
Manage your family’s time well – there are only 24 hours in a day! Not everything always goes as planned, especially with very young children. Therefore, allow buffers and downtime. Using a diary or a time map might be helpful to visualise how filled your day is so that you can plan accordingly. One of the best tips I ever received after we had our first baby was from a yoga teacher. She recommended to plan only one thing per day when you have a new baby. She didn’t talk about the daily housework tasks but things like running errands. Only plan the grocery shopping, not coffee with friend afterwards and then baby swimming. For me, that worked wonders.
Keep the age of your children in mind when you introduce new routines. Also, keep your expectations low. Make sure they are able to do what you expect from them. Talk about the routine and help them, at least at the beginning. “Tidy up your room” probably doesn’t work. “Please, pick up all the blocks and put them in this box’ is much more clear.
Create routines that meet your family’s needs at this point in time. Children grow and situations change. Life is happening fast. Tweak existing routines or implement new ones when necessary.
Dare To Be Unique
Routines don’t necessarily work for your family just because they – seemingly – work for everyone else. Your family is unique, so find routines that work for you. (If you have a routine that you think is unique, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section if you’d like to share).
Make it easy for your family members to follow routines. If you want your children to dress themselves in the morning, make sure they can do it easily, maybe by putting out their clothes the night before. If they’re old enough to do this themselves, they can do that part as well. Also make sure they can access everything they need easily. Too often I see kid’s wardrobes with their clothes hung up too high for them to take down.
Make It Fun
Routines don’t have to be dull and dreaded times. Make picking up toys at the end of the day or brushing teeth fun by having the children listen to their favourite songs.
Help children to remember their routines until they have become habits. Use checklists that show all the things they need to do in the order they should be done. Pictures work great for children that can’t read yet and also for older kids. They’re just more fun for everyone!! Your kids will have fun making the charts.
Chores can be a part of a routine. Be sure that the child is capable to fulfil the chore you give him/her to avoid frustration. Visual checklists help here, too.
Have a look here for some visual inspiration regarding routines and chores.
Over the next week, think about one new routine that you would like to introduce in your household and share it in the comments or on our Facebook page!
More often than not, holiday meals and festivities are a source of stress rather than a time for relaxation and fun. However, with a little bit of planning and organising, stress will be a thing of the past, and you will be able to enjoy time with your loved ones.
Here are my 7 tips for organising and planning your Easter weekend:
1. Invite your guests early
Many people go away during long weekends, so make sure you invite your guests early enough (at least four weeks in advance).
2. Plan your meals in detail
Take some time to plan the menus for the Easter weekend, plus at least one day before and after. Include every single meal—breakfasts, snacks, and even leftovers. Once you know what you want to cook, make a shopping list and schedule some time to do the shopping in your diary.
3. Prepare as much as you can
The idea of family getting together shouldn’t include you standing in the kitchen all the time. If you want to enjoy some relaxed time with your loved ones, prepare as much as you can in advance. You might even be able to pre-cook and/or freeze certain things.
4. Have some fun decorating your home
If you like to add some seasonal decoration to your home and table, plan early enough and make sure you have everything you need. If you are lost for ideas, have a look on Pinterest for inspiration. Maybe you can involve your children or other family members to create a beautiful centrepiece.
5. Plan the Easter egg hunt
The children (and adults :-)) will love the Easter egg hunt. Prepare it well in advance and have everything ready to go so you or another adult can hide the eggs the night before the hunt. Useful hint: note how many eggs you hide to make sure the kiddies search until they have found every egg!
6. Delegate and ask for help
Just because you’re hosting the Easter meal doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Most guests ask whether they can contribute in one way or another, so don’t just dismiss them—accept the help. If they don’t come forward, ask someone to bring a dessert or nibbles. Getting an entrée such as a seafood platter or even a main meal (or parts of it) prepared by your local deli might be another option. Think about what you could outsource, and don’t forget to make a note in your planner so you don’t forget to order in time.
7. Plan fun activities
Keep the children entertained and happy with some fun (and sugar-free) activities such as competing in an egg and spoon race, creating bonnets, colouring eggs or decorating egg- or bunny-shaped biscuits.
Wishing you a wonderful and relaxed Easter!