5 Simple Steps To Create An Orderly Home

In a previous post, Orderly Homes Equal Orderly Brains I talked about preparing our homes to be places where children can learn. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

#1 Create a place for everything- When we lived for 6 months in a travel trailer while building a home in Mexico we functioned with the bare minimum of stuff, a basket of Duplos under a bed, basic schoolbooks. Children learn better in an environment with some open space, be vigilant about keeping stuff put away and teaching your children to do the same.

#2 Categorize toys- Have you ever seen a workbook page which asks your child to match up items which go together, for instance; banana, apple, orange, fork. Clearly the fork does not belong in this, the fruit category. When you categorize the toys in your home you are providing that same exercise in a more hands on way. Keeping each type of toy separated and instructing your children on where things go is key to intelligence. Jane Healy, in her book titled Your Child's Growing Mind says, "After years of studying young children's learning I am convinced that patterns are the key to intelligence. Patterning information really means organizing and associating new information with previously developed mental hooks....children who can see relationships (among things and ideas) and organize input at a sensory level seem to have an easier time organizing thoughts and ideas."
Categorizing and verbalizing the categories help build intelligence.

#3 Keep a minimum of furniture- If you have ever seen a catalog for children on the autistic spectrum you will know that sensory overload can occur in an overstimulating environment and that a white space can be used to calm a child down. It is easier to learn in a space that is open, bright and tidy. Children also need plenty of floor space to build puzzles and Lego cities, as well as creeping and crawling, two essential exercises for brain development.

#4 Keep your floor clean- A quick sweep or vacuum each day is sufficient, but keeping floors safe for young children to play on is important. Sand play, while important for brain development, shouldn't be done in the debris on your floor.

#5 When you buy toys, make them worthwhile- We use the verse from Philippians 4:18 which says, "Whatsoever things are pure, lovely and of good report, think on these things," as a guideline for buying toys. We try to stick to a few toys that are well made and lovely, such as Melissa and Doug puzzles, Playmobil, and for my little girl, the adorable Calico Critters, as well as musical instruments, art supplies and great books to keep our children occupied.

Getting our homes cleaned out and ready for learning can be accomplished, it is the maintenance that requires vigilance, window cleaning, dusting and vacuuming are ongoing chores, but with an orderly framework in place, it will be a manageable task.

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