Life skills for kids – a timely reminder

Over at my personal blog I’ve talked about starting out on the KonMari method of decluttering and organisation.  Interestingly enough I started this morning off by thinking about moving through the untouched bookshelves today.  The Universe clearly approves as when I sat down with my coffee and the interwebs for my morning perusal of everyone else’s lives, what should come across my screen but a link to a post about the method.

What has this to do with homeschooling?  Well the post was by a home educating parent supporting her kids to learn how to look after their environment and possessions.

I often find that things poke my conscience in roundabout ways, and this one not only reminded me of my earlier morning thoughts of clearing out things we no longer love, but also of my overarching ideas around allowing the kids more autonomy as they grow.  It certainly is a completely 360º approach to kids’ stuff than I’ve come across from most other parents.  Elsewhere the sneak-it-out and hide-it-out-of-the-house method seems highly popular, as does the authoritarian method where the parent decides what goes and too bad for the kid as “we’re doing it’s for their own good”, that I’ve heard of from others.

Personally I’ve struggled with both of those ‘normal’ behaviours ever since I read another opinion on treating kids possessions the same way you would an adult’s – i.e. you wouldn’t give your grown friends gifts and then go round to their messy homes and start chucking out stuff you gave them, all the while saying “You have too much stuff, this is for your own good!  And think about all those people who have nothing in this world.”

Yet, like most parents, my eyes roll up in to the back of my head when I look at the bombsite that the kids get their rooms in to.  Clutter does my head in, there’s no denying it.  I am a person who requires space and clear surfaces in order to feel relatively relaxed in my home, not that I get them, or am great at looking after my own space.  So it’s a constant tension for me – a relatively clean kid’s room vs their autonomy.  Then along comes observations like this that challenge me to remember that some things in life are a process and not available for immediate gratification.

We have to accept our responsibility for things getting to this point and know that there is no quick fix for getting back out. Shifting the family culture is a long term goal best met through supporting their own choices (mistakes included) and leading by example.

Reading this blog post by Memoirs of a Childhood, I’ve realised that perhaps I need to button down that need for immediate success in cleanliness and strive for seeing the beginnings of self-control and self-determination in my kids.  Maybe I need to shift my focus from my (desperate, at times) need to be able to see the floor all through the house, to one where I help and support my kids with taking ownership of their own space.

Anyway, that’s a bit semi-philosophical this morning.  To finish up, here’s the link to the blog post that sparked it all off.

KonMari with Kids by Memoirs of a Childhood.