This week we spoke to the wonderful Eleanor Holden ( @thecornishnanny ) for a selection of fool-proof tips on organising your charges' playroom and teaching children to clean up after themselves. Read on to find out how it went!
Can you tell us a little bit more about where you work?
Nestled deep inside a beautiful Cornish farmhouse is a bright blue and pink room that I am lucky enough to call my office. This is no ordinary office. There is no desk or desktop computer.
Instead, it contains a population of 100 teddy bears and stuffed animals. It contains a miniature wooden kitchen, stocked up with plastic fruit, plush toy vegetables, and tiny tins of soup.
It also has Fortnum and Mason wicker baskets bursting at the seams with diggers, dumpers, and tractors. On the sofa sits a somewhat mysterious one-handed baby, the victim of a much loved cumbersome lurcher. Of course, this is our playroom. A room of, until a few days ago, utter chaos. This room provides a retreat and haven for the trio of young children I have the privilege of caring for as my job.
What made you think of starting to organise your child’s playroom?
After six months of homeschooling, the playroom needed attention. There was clutter spilling out of every toy tub. In this day and age, children can quickly get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of items they have to keep them entertained.
It can be frustrating to find what they want in a mountain of possessions. Playrooms provide many learning opportunities. It is, therefore, essential to have an effective organisation strategy and easy access to good quality toys.
What are your tips for reducing the clutter and refining possessions?
Hold an item. What do you feel? Does this item initiate a positive feeling? Does this mean something to you? If it is a broken Henry Hoover with the nose missing, then the answer is: probably not. Have two bin bags on the go: one bag for charity and the other for disposal. Reduce your possessions and refine your collection.
What is your advice for organising the playroom and toys?
Invest in some good quality, sturdy toy tubs. It would be best to avoid PVC and plastic due to environmental concerns. The family I work alongside with share similar beliefs, and so we choose to use material tubs.
Other more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as wicker baskets, provide the same function while giving a rustic and refined look. Sort through the toys and place them into categories such as building bricks and small metal cars. Label each box with what it contains.
You could also use a label gun to make labels or use parcel tags for a more straightforward look.
If your children or charges have numerous dressing-up outfits, investing in a clothes rail and hangers makes the costumes more accessible and tidy. You could also have a tub next to the clothes rail containing hats and accessories.
Is there a specific way you prefer to divide your charge's playroom?
In our playroom, we have different areas for each play and learning activity. For example, in one corner, we have a dressing up station, and in another, we have a miniature kitchen and cooking area.
One of my favourite spaces in our playroom is a wall painted with chalkboard paint. This wall provides hours of fun for children to draw with chalk. Utilising the space you have to create keeps play enjoyable for your charges.
Do you have any other recommendations for nannies to maintain their charges' playroom?
Hopefully, these tips make you feel inspired to give your playroom a post lockdown revamp. Sorting through a mountain of clutter is so rewarding. Just remember that it will get worse before you see any improvement. It will be worth it. Remember that an organised and exciting playroom allows children to engage in imaginative play, allowing them to develop many new skills.
To find out more about Eleanor and for more tips and tricks on organising your playroom, check out @thecornishnanny on Instagram.
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