Are You the Keeper of All of the Things?
When something goes missing in your house, do your family members automatically ask you where it is? This is a common complaint from moms/wives, especially, but dads/husbands can fall into this role as well. If you find yourself answering questions such as, “where is the milk?” or hearing, “I can’t find my socks,” then you have become the official “keeper of all of the things” in your house. Want to break out of this niche? Here are some tips on helping your family gain some independence in this area:
- Show people where items go It’s obvious to you that the mayonnaise is on the door in the refrigerator, but it’s not obvious to your children. Show them where everything goes in the kitchen. Teach them patterns, such as condiments going in the door of the fridge, and baking supplies belonging in the cabinet over the counter. Let them help you put groceries away. This way, when your child asks you where something is, you will know that it’s out of habit and not that he really does not know.
- Get a label maker Kids love label-makers, and moms should love them, too. If you have drawers and shelves labeled with which toys go where, then your kids should be able to not only put their toys away, but also know where they are located when they want to play with them again. If your children are too young to read, putting labels with drawings or photographs on shelves and drawers will help.
- Follow the “place for everything and everything in place” rule It’s hard to find things when they’re not put back where they are supposed to be. Try hard to get everyone in the family into the habit of putting their belongings away. It will likely take some time at first, but once the habit is ingrained, it will make things much easier. The general rule of thumb is that it takes about a month to cement a habit, so be patient and give it time.
- Feign ignorance Sometimes, kids just ask for help in finding an item out of habit. If your teen asks where the orange juice is, you can rest assured that she actually does know where the bottle is kept. By staying silent or saying, “I’m not sure...where have you checked,” it will often remind her that she’s asking a silly question. No one can make you Keeper of All of the Things without your participation, after all; just relinquish the title!
Teaching kids to be self-sufficient is one of the most important parts of child-rearing, and constantly telling them where the everyday items in their own homes are can be frustrating for you and not very helpful for them. Give up the responsibility of knowing where all of the items in the house are by following some of the tips above.