Welcome to the Neighborhood! In these changing times, it’s more important than ever for me to set my kids up for success at home. I’m normally a work-at-home mom with two busy toddlers, but this year, my husband has also been working at home more than ever before. While it’s been a joy to have so much family time, it made us realize that our home setup just wasn’t working for us or our children. I enlisted the help of a professional organizer with the mission to create a positive environment for my children to learn and play and my family to thrive.
Keep reading to learn how to set up your kids for success at home – including how we changed our home’s layout, organization tips from a professional organizer, and how you can get a free New Mover’s Box from AdventHealth Care Network!
How to Set Your Kids up for Success at Home + Toddler Playroom Organization Tips
When we were searching for our first home three years ago, I was nine months pregnant with our oldest daughter, Summer, and eager to find a home in a safe community for our future family. While we wanted a space that would be functional, our main priorities were close proximity to great schools, great community resources, and most importantly, high-quality healthcare. While our current house isn’t perfect, we love the space, and we LOVE our neighborhood.
Find Resources in Your Neighborhood
If you’re planning a move to Central Florida, it can be hard enough to locate the moving box with your kitchen utensils and your local post office, let alone to find the best doctors in your area. That’s exactly why I love that AdventHealth makes choosing your new doctor easy and stress-free. AdventHealth’s online physician finder helps you tailor a search for a doctor that fits your family, so whether you’re looking for extended office hours, a specific specialty, or perhaps a physician who specializes in a certain age range, it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. You can choose from hundreds of highly-qualified physicians conveniently located throughout Central Florida at YourNewDoctor.com.
If you’re in the process of moving, be sure to register for a free New Movers Welcome box from YourNewDoctor.com. It’s filled with all sorts of goodies and information from AdventHealth’s Care Network to make your move a little more pleasant!
One of our favorite parts of our neighborhood is the easy access to our favorite AdventHealth doctors and hospitals. We live about six minutes away from AdventHealth Winter Park and a little over ten minutes away from AdventHealth Orlando; however, there are convenient AdventHealth hospitals and physicians throughout ALL of Central Florida. No matter where you live, you can find a highly-proficient physician in your area from AdventHealth’s online physician locator.
I had the pleasure of delivering my youngest daughter, Luna, last year at AdventHealth for Women Orlando (pictured above), and it was genuinely one of the best experiences of my life. The medical staff could not have made me feel safer or more supported, and I knew that my daughter and I had the best care available in our area. If you’d like to read more about our experiences with AdventHealth, click here.
Now that I’ve shared our thought process for setting up our kids for future success in our community, let’s move onto the changes we made to our home to create a fun home environment for learning and play!
1. Create A Fun Home Environment for Learning and Play
As I mentioned earlier, we love our home, but it’s not perfect. Our main issue over the past year at home has been the total lack of built-in storage. On our first floor, our only storage option is one very small and very narrow coat closet without shelving. With two active toddlers, our entire home seemed to be constantly covered in toys. The clutter and chaos added so much stress to our daily routine, and most importantly, I truly didn’t feel confident our kids could be successful at home.
That’s why I enlisted the help of Home Refreshment, a professional organizing company in Central Florida run by the amazing Hannah Hearin. Check out her work here, and you’ll see what I mean. I knew she was the perfect person to help me create a positive home environment where they could learn, play, and grow safely.
As you’ll see in the video below, I had an office area that just wasn’t being utilized. With two curious toddlers to watch during the day, it’s hard to make a traditional office work. Instead of letting my desk sit and collect dust, Hannah and I decided to turn my former office space into a colorful playroom for my daughters. I am so excited that my girls have an amazing space to use, and I think a lot of the tips Hannah gave me will help you set your children up for success at home!
2. Set up An At-Home Learning Space
One of my top priorities in this project was to create an at-home study space for my daughter Summer. Since she hasn’t started preschool yet, I wanted to ensure she had an area of her own to do at-home preschool activities as well as her favorite arts and crafts. I don’t want her to miss out on anything while we’re spending more time at home.
We had this small table and chairs sitting in a corner of our living room, and due to its positioning and closeness to the toy box, it wasn’t utilized to its fullest potential. We decided to move the table to the new playroom area and create a dedicated space for learning.
Our professional organizer, Hannah from Home Refreshment in Orlando, suggested that we also add a rolling cart for Summer’s art and school supplies. As soon as she mentioned arts and crafts, I remembered that I had this darling children’s easel. It’s actually the same easel that my younger brother and I used at my grandparents’ home when we were children, so it’s a functional and sentimental addition to the room. Both of my daughters love drawing on the chalkboard!
The rolling cart filled with art supplies, school supplies, and learning workbooks is absolutely perfect for the playroom. I can simply roll it in whenever we’re ready for a project, but I can also roll it out and hide the cart in the closet when it’s not being used. This process allows me to minimize clutter in an already-small room, and more importantly, it prevents tiny hands from making a big mess when I’m not looking!
Summer has been using her little study space each and every day, and I’m so happy that we created a space that makes her excited about learning and creating! I just love seeing her little mind dreaming up new art masterpieces and finding patterns in her learning activities, and it makes me feel confident that she’ll have a great transition to formal school when the time is right.
Playroom Organization Tips for Young ChildrenOne of the most important things I learned from Hannah was to organize your home in a way that makes sense for your entire family. I’d spent three years trying to organize the girls’ toys, and no matter what I tried, we just couldn’t maintain the organization. My mistake was choosing organization systems before thinking about the actual problems that caused their toys to become disorganized.
Together with our professional organizer, we learned ways to organize the girls toys to not only keep things clean but also help them learn how to clean and organized themselves. These simple steps minimize stress for our children and us as parents, and I love that Summer and Luna are learning good habits along the way and can enjoy a positive play environment.
Tip #1: Everything Should Have a Home
The first rule Hannah taught us was to create a home for everything. Every type of toy gets its own clearly-labeled bin, and that’s where it always goes – period. We’d tried to implement bins in the past, but things would inevitably get mixed up or put in the wrong container. Simply having the bins labeled makes things remarkably simple. Ryan and I always know where things go, and the girls are learning that we take out one bin at a time and put things back in the bin with the right picture when we’re done. It sounds like such a simple tip, but it truly makes a huge difference.
Tip #2: Make It Easy for Your Kids to Clean and Organize
As I mentioned above, having clearly-labeled bins is essential. But here’s the problem: if you’re only using words on your labels, only adults or older children will be able to identify which bin is which. Hannah made us these amazing picture labels, so that Summer and Luna could help put things away too. It also helps Summer find the toys that she’s looking for each day. If she wants to play with blocks, she simply searched for the label with the picture of blocks. This organizational tip for toddlers was a game-changer for us!
Tip #3: Organize Your Children’s Books by Color
While having a rainbow of books is aesthetically beautiful, it’s also functional too! Summer knows her colors, and Luna is starting to learn colors too. When we take books out each day, we’re prompting them to look at the spine of the book, identify the color (obviously only Summer can do this right now), and then find where the books of that color are on the bookshelf.
This little exercise helps us keep the books in order, and it’s a fun and educational game for young children. Summer feels so proud when she understands where her books go, and I know that even small confidence-building opportunities will help her succeed in school and life as she grows!
Tip #4: Set up A Toy Rotation SystemAnother simple solution Hannah provided was to limit the amount of toys available to our children in each room. When you have less toys within reach, it’s a lot harder to make a big mess and a lot easier to clean up any messes that are made! While we did end up getting rid of a lot of broken or infrequently-used toys, we also made a toy rotation closet to organize smaller toys and keep them hidden from little hands.
Whenever the girls seem bored with their toy selection, I’ll simply move around the bins and labels or grab one of the bins or activities from the toy closet. This little trick limits messes and allows old toys to become new and exciting again in your children’s eyes!
We are so thrilled with how our little playroom project turned out, and the organizational tips we learned along the way from our professional organizer at Home Refreshment are priceless. They’ve allowed us to create and maintain a space for our children to succeed at home and helped us utilize the space in our home so much better! If you’re moving to a new home with limited storage space or maybe you just want to make sure you maximize the space you have, I highly recommend reaching out to a professional organizer in your area. Their advice and experience will help you avoid so many mistakes and will set you up for success in your home.
Sign up for A Free New Movers Box
If you’re a new mover to the Central Florida area, don’t forget to register for a free New Movers Welcome box at YourNewDoctor.com. It’s filled with fun surprises and information about AdventHealth’s Care Network that will help make your move a breeze!
How to Find The Best Medical Care in Your NeighborhoodWhile you’re browsing YourNewDoctor.com, you’ll also get access to AdventHealth’s neighborhood of connected doctors. The AdventHealth Care Network provides convenient access to the most advanced primary care physicians and specialists, emergency and urgent care, and a wide range of medical and diagnostic offerings – and they’ve been doing it for more than 100 years. The network encompasses a full range of seamlessly connected healthcare services for all ages, with hundreds of access points to ensure that your family receives world-class medical care when and where they need it.
With 15 hospitals in the greater Orlando area, 35 Centra Care (urgent care) and 2 Centra Care Kids locations, AdventHealth eCare (giving you virtual access to an urgent-care doctor from your phone or tablet via the eCare app), 11 emergency rooms, 31 sports-medicine and rehab facilities, 34 AdventHealth Imaging centers, and 23 AdventHealth Lab draw sites offering quick, convenient lab services, you’re guaranteed to find the care your family needs! To learn more about these services, visit YourNewDoctor.com.
As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had an incredible experience with the AdventHealth Care Network and will continue to use them for our health care needs for years to come. You can read more about our AdventHealth experience in these posts:
What to Expect During Your Labor and Delivery Stay + A Full Tour of AdventHealth for Women
The Best Parent Education Classes to Take During Your Pregnancy
My Positive VBAC Birth Story at AdventHealth for Women Orlando
Pregnancy Care Q&A with Board-Certified OB-GYN
How to Pack The Perfect Hospital Bag for Labor & Delivery
Everything About VBACs: Q&A with A Board-Certified OBGYN
Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Breastfeeding Q&A with A Lactation Consultant
How to Choose The Best Pediatrician for Your Family
Pelvic Health Q&A with Urogynecologist & Female Pelvic Medicine Expert
Women’s Health in Your 30s: Q&A with a Nurse Practitioner and Certified Midwife
Postpartum Recovery Q&A with A Pelvic Health Physical Therapist