My kids are 8 and 10. Every day after school they would come in and dump their bags, usually in front of the stairs where anyone could trip over them. Quite apart from their bags being in the way, they also looked messy and our entrance way was blocked with bags, shoes, notices and anything else that would spill out of their bags.
I rearranged some furniture to give the boys a shelf in a small cupboard for their bags. Mr N had the top and Mr Z had the bottom shelf. The idea being that their school bags, shoes, choir bags, and so on could go in the cupboard and be out of the way. This didn’t work! Instead of putting their bags inside the cupboard, they would put their bags in front of the cupboard. Same mess, just in a slightly different place…
Getting tired of nagging for the bags to be put away, I sat down with the boys and we came up with a plan together. The question I put to them was simple: How can we keep the school bags nice and neat and out of the way?
Their solution was equally simple. They wanted hooks.
My awesome brother went out and bought some hooks – ones that would screw in to the wall. They sat on the bench and didn’t end up getting put up. One day, I had a brainwave – we ended up getting hooks that wrap around the top of our stairs for the boys to put their bags on.
Since that day, I haven’t had to nag them to put their bags away! They walk in and put their bags on the hook. Getting them to put their lunch boxes on the bench, now that’s another post….
The lesson I learned here is to get your kids involved with organisation, especially when it directly impacts them. You never know what solutions they may come up with, and it may work better than you imagined. There are certain things where they have no choice, however if there is an option, ask for their input.
By asking them what they want and coming up with a solution together, not only will they give their thoughts on what will work, it will be their responsibility to show that it works.