22 January 2018

Guest Post: How to minimise clean up time after crafting with kids

My girls love painting and craft, but if there's one thing I can't stand its the cleaning up after it. When they were little we crafted a lot, so I'd use to find glitter, pom poms, bits of paper, sparkly sequins, stickers, glue and pipe cleaners scattered all over the floor and table. Nowadays, we don't craft as much as paint, but the girls still need to be reminded to clean up after themselves.

This week I have a guest post which includes some handy tips on how to minimise the cleaning up time after a crafting session with kids. 

Today's post was written by Sophia Evans, a mother of two little girls who just love to craft. Sophia truly believes that it is important to inspire kids to craft and has plenty of experience when it comes to crafting with her small family. Not only is she a busy Mum, she's also the owner of Tidy Cleaners London.

Take it away Sophia!



Whether it's painting or making animals from paper, crafting is a favourite activity of every child, especially when it is shared. During that time, kids give rein to their fancy and create a variety of amusing pictures, objects and other interesting things. Seeing the results of their own efforts gives a sense of accomplishment to every child. For this reason, parents should regularly craft with their kids. However, this educational activity can sometimes turn into a huge mess. Kids quickly lose interest and if not observed may turn the crafting area into a battlefield or another imaginary scene.

The good news is that mess-free crafting with kids is possible and here is how to achieve it!





Set up a crafting area


Whether your kids will be crafting on the kitchen table or on the floor, make sure that the working place is isolated and properly organised. Start with removing any unnecessary items or objects that can accidentally become part of the crafting session. Put all books, remote controls, electronic devices away and lay a big old sheeting on the floor. If you choose to use the table, cover it with a tablecloth and lay nylon or some old sheets on the chairs as well.


Clothes 


Crafting is certainly an activity that can leave your child’s clothing stained, even if you use washable supplies. For this reason, your kids should be wearing an old home clothing or apron. In this way, rather than observing them constantly, you will be able to leave them to enjoy their time. In the end of the crafting session, simply change the clothes of your kids and load the dirty ones in the washing machine.


Clean


While your kids are having a nice time, keep a clean wet cloth near and when you notice any dirty places, clean them. If there are any containers with water, check if the area around them is wet. It will be helpful also to remove any empty vessels right away, so they don’t appear accidentally on the floor. 


Keep all supplies conveniently close


Organise the crafting materials in such a way that your kids can easily reach them. The closer the containers, the less possibility for sprinkles and spilt liquid on the floor. Your kids should be comfortable while crafting, otherwise, they will move too much, which may lead to accidents.


Navigate your kids


If your kids don’t have experience with this crafting activity, they will probably make the tablecloth dirty or drop some materials on the floor. Be patient and demonstrate how they should be working. If necessary navigate their hand but don’t tell them to be careful. Crafting is a great opportunity for children to acquire new skills. 


Keep the crafting session short


This is essential. If kids are crafting too much they will lose interest and start amusing themselves by playing tag or other similar games. As you want the other areas of your home to remain free of sticky fingers and colourful sprinkles, keep the crafting session short and end it before the kids get bored. Once you wash their hands, the crafting corner is forbidden to enter. Take your time alone and remove the sheeting and the tablecloth. After that, wipe the table, mop the floor and bring all items to their place.

Next time when your kids are exploring their creativity, do yourself a favour and apply these simple routines. They will help you spend valuable time with your children and minimise the time you spent cleaning after the crafting session.


Wow, thanks Sophia they are great tips! If you are looking for some craft activities for during the holidays, check out the Craft Ideas section of the blog.

15 January 2018

5 ways to show gratitude to children

We try not to spoil the girls throughout the year, and are mindful of how much stuff they have, so when it is Christmastime or their birthdays they get a few extra nice presents. But lately all my Hubby and I seem to hear is "I want, I want, I want" from both the girls, even though we've just had Christmas and Popette's birthday.

I remember a few years ago, I was picking Popette up from school, it was a really hot day, and Popette chirped "Lets get an ice block." 

When I said "No, I don't think I have any money for ice blocks today." She demanded one, then said "That's okay Mum you can get money out at the petrol station and buy us one."

I then went on to tell her that she was very rude to me that morning (there was a major tantrum resulting in a scream-a-thon and her hitting me), so I  reminded her that only good girls who are well behaved will get an ice block.

A good reminder!

I'm finding Popette has become more and more demanding, thinking she can get whatever she wants when she wants, I'm sure it's just an age thing!

Cherub is still trying to understand that you don't get everything you want, and not all boys & girls have as much stuff as her or live in a lovely home with a fridge full of food.  The recent "Save the Children" ads that have been playing on TV have affected her, especially when she sees the little boy who is close to her age, who is sick and frail, and weighs about the same as a 1 year old.

Talking about being grateful to the girls doesn't always sink in, so every now and then (usually before Christmas) we get them to go through their toys and donate items they no longer love or play with to kids who are less fortunate.

Hubby & I want them to be grateful for the things they own and receive, especially when someone has taken the time to buy them a gift they think they will like.


Here is my "5 ways to show gratitude to children" 


* Help prepare meals - Grateful for the food on our table

* Help put toys away - Grateful for my toys


* Tidy up my art & craft - Grateful I can draw, paint and create when I want


* Help fold clothes & put them away - Grateful for the clothes I wear and to have them nice & clean.


* Be nice to your family - Grateful to have a family who loves me!





A while back I created this poster with 5 explanations on how children can become more grateful, it can be hung up on the wall or fridge, and act as a little reminder. If you'd like a copy, you can find it here. :)

Do you practice gratitude at home? How do you get your children to understand gratitude?