Spring Cleaning with The Prepared Environment
You’ve had your babe, you’ve received/purchased all the necessities, and now you’re stocking up on all the fun stuff. Time has passed, another babe has arrived, and now you’ve been given even more gifts for the newest addition to the family.
All of a sudden you look around and your home is overflowing with random toys, arts and crafts, sports balls, books and more. How do you get things organized, how much of it do you need to keep, all while keeping the kids engaged and not having to clean up a million and one pieces… Enter The Prepared Environment.
Sarah is a Montessori teacher, and coach, and her mission is to help caregivers create a prepared, organized and child-friendly home. This mama has a passion to help other parents by eliminating some of the guess work and giving guidance on how to prepare the home so it is a space that is beautiful, organized and supports the developmental needs of each child… this is what Montessori calls the "Prepared Environment."
Where to begin…
Start by getting rid of the things no one will notice are gone. It’s also best to do this process when the kids are out, or asleep ;)
What You’ll Need
A box (or bags) for donating
A box(es) for keeping
A box(es) for storage
And small containers for the items kids will be playing with daily (clear containers are great, so you can see what’s inside)
You don’t necessarily need to purchase new storage containers. Have a look around your home first for things that can be repurposed; gift boxes, diaper boxes, large tupperware containers, etc.
The less you have around, the more engaged kids will be
Sometimes we think we need more things to keep kids entertained for a longer amount of time, myself included. When there is an excessive amount of toys in kids’ arm reach something called Scatter Play occurs. Kids like to pour everything out of containers, numerous toys fill the floor, and kids then touch everything, quickly move from one item to another, and don’t actually have the chance to truly engage with any one item in particular.
General Organization Goals
Remember, these are just suggested goals, all families function differently so try your best + do what works for your family.
Try to only use smaller containers with a maximum of about 10 items per activity (IE: Puzzles, stuffies, plastic toys, etc)
Have only a small handful of stuffies out at one time, the rest can go into a library storage container and can be rotated out every couple of weeks or so
There’s a transition time when going from an excessive amount of toys out at one time, versus minimizing, but this practice will aid in the kids skill of cleaning up + decision making
Artwork, charts or posters are great on the walls at your kids eye level. Make the space engaging for them and catered to their eye line.