Toys, toys and more toys. From the time your children can crawl, it’s time to show them that toys can be organized and put away (just like at day care or at school). Create ‘zones’ for reading, messy play, tiny toys etc., and label containers with photos of the toys for pre-readers and words for budding readers (use both and they’ll learn those words earlier).
Rotate toys seasonally: Other than a few precious items that he or she could never stop playing with at this stage, box up and put away toys and games that have temporarily lost their appeal. Bring them back in a few months and it’ll be like the child received something new.
Use restraint when buying toys for your children. What they want the most from you is time with you! Too many possessions are difficult for anyone to manage and children are certainly no exception. Don’t overload their space with too many things. Keep the amount of things they own in accordance with their age. The younger the child, the fewer possessions they need around them.
Regarding children’s artwork: Make it a habit to take a photo of the child holding their artwork when they bring it home from school (or the day they make it). After a certain amount of time (a week?) mail the artwork to grandparents or let it go to make room for the next. For the really extraordinary masterpieces, purchase an oversized art portfolio from Micheal’s craft store. Be sure to write the name and date on the back of each item.
It’s interesting to keep track of school work chronologically. You’ll be able to look back and really see how your child has progressed. You can keep a 3 hole punch in the kitchen to immediately put the graded papers into a 3 ring binder. Or you could put the papers into a file folder. Always be sure to put them in the same way (always in front or always in back) to keep them in order.
These days it’s very important to maintain good records regarding your child. And it’s probably easier than ever with all the technology that’s available. Use one new flash drive for each child. Re-name the flash drive on the computer screen and label the physical drive itself with your child’s name. Keep it in a safe place and don’t use it for anything other than important information about that one specific child.
Start out with standard identification like birth certificate, vaccination records and then as medical, school or other vital information comes to your attention, you can save it to your flash drive. You may have to scan it and save it as a pdf or have it emailed to you as an attachment. Periodically download a very clear and straight-on head shot photo for emergency identification.
Frequently make a back up copy and put it in a safety deposit box or a fire safe (or in a plastic bag in your freezer!).
Enjoy your little ones!