Organizing Games and Puzzles

Organizing Games and Puzzles

Our family loves Pizza and Game Night especially in the fall when the daylight time is shorter! Nothing is worse than sitting down to a yummy pizza and setting up a game just to realize that you are missing a”few” pieces to the game… it takes the fun out of it! So let’s get these games pieces under control and while we are at it, we might as well get the cards and puzzles organized as well.

If you have a huge storage closet for games, you are so lucky!! All I would say to you is to categorize your games by age group, such as pre-school, teen or adult games. Make sure you keep adult games on the top shelf so small little hands don’t accidentally open the game and use the pieces in their Barbie House, never to be found again. Keep the pre-school games within easy reach so young children can play with them even if the family isn’t playing a game. Many times my youngest son will just make things up with the games and play by himself.

Now onto most of the rest of us that make due with what storage we have, or should I say unfortunately we don’t have! Start by simply stacking the game boards (only) together on one shelf. You could label the boards if you don’t want to turn them game side out. Then take the the small pieces and instructions to the games and place them in labeled Ziploc bags. Here is where I would buy the zipper close Ziploc bags and spend a little extra so it will be easy for everyone to open and close the bags. Now place the storage bags in a storage tote or box to keep them from falling all over the shelf. This will take up so little space that you will be shocked! If you have games that need to stay in their original boxes because the box is part of the game, it’s no big deal as you will have room left on the shelf to spare!!!

Games: Tips for everyone no matter how much room you have for games:
– Reinforce the original box with tape to keep it lasting longer
– Put all the small pieces from the board game in a Ziploc bag to avoid the scattering of these pieces if the box is accidently dropped.
– Place the board game box side by side on a shelf like books so that can easily access them and they won’t smash other games.

Puzzles: If you have more puzzles than space, cut out the picture of the puzzle and place the picture and puzzle pieces in a Ziploc bag. Store all the puzzle bags in a tote or shoe box.

Our card games get used all the time and the card box becomes, well…let’s just say it is no longer a box. I cut out the picture of the card game, take out the instructions and place the cards in a…c’mon you know what’s coming…yes a Ziploc bag!!! Again I put them in a storage tote (shoe box size) or you can even use a shoe box… whatever is handy!

These are just some simple ideas to help keep all your games, cards and puzzles together and in one “easy to find” place. Have fun playing….Maybe you can start a Pizza and Game Night in your house too!!!

michelle Author Michelle Lehman of Organizing Solutions “Clear the Clutter”Michelle is a Professional Organizer in the Tulsa area. Her articles have been featured in the Tulsa World, The Oklahoman, and The Chicago Post-Tribune.  Michelle appears on Fox23 News DayBreak giving organizing tips and recommendations.
Photo credit: frankieleon / Foter / CC BY


In trouble

Sometimes I believe my son actually ENJOYS all the negativity his oppositional and defiant behavior brings upon him. Could that possibly be the case? Can a child really “enjoy” being in trouble constantly? If so, what can I do about it?

The short answer is, “Absolutely!” Like so many facets of behavior, however, there are deeper issues that play into what’s going on.

Power and Control

One huge issue is the power and control a youngster like your son experiences when he can control the emotions and behavior of an adult. Early on in my practice, I had a young patient who had his father by the throat (figuratively speaking, of course). He could make a lot of stuff happen by squeezing on that hold. Unfortunately, Dad played right into the son’s game. All the boy had to do was forget a chore, for instance, and Dad would go into a tirade.

Just imagine this picture. All the boy had to do was neglect taking out the trash and he got a first-rate floor show, and he knew he made it happen, and could make it happen any time he wanted. Although the boy didn’t like the hard edge of Dad’s wrath (consequences bordered on abuse), part of him delighted in the power and control he had over the old man.

Your situation probably is not as severe as the example I just shared, but I strongly believe that an adult’s response to oppositional, defiant and noncompliant behavior has a great deal to do with those behaviors happening again and again. It’s not the sort of payoff you can reach out and touch, but it’s a powerful, intangible payoff that a youngster can grow to prefer. Why? Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley say it well in their book, Transforming the Difficult Child:

“The energy, reactivity and animation that we radiate when we are pleased is relatively flat compared to our verbal and nonverbal responses to behaviors that cause us displeasure, frustration or anger.”

How Do We Change Things?

1. Refuse to become overly upset. If there is a consequence to be applied, apply it, then physically remove yourself from the situation, if you can. Youngsters don’t like consequences. If you hang around, they just might go through their entire script of unhappiness.

2. Work out all the consequences in advance, and write them down. Discuss with your child what would be reasonable consequences for forgotten tasks or inappropriate behaviors. When they are not in a defensive mood or “on-the-spot,” many youngsters will come up with excellent consequences as you consider what would be reasonable and fair for a given situation. (These are called “elicited” consequences. If the youngster helps you with the consequences, he’ll be less likely to say they are unfair when you later have to apply them.) Type all this up on the computer (better yet, let the youngster do it). Go over it again with them, and give them a copy of the signed document. Later, instead of telling them the consequence for a behavior, produce the list, and ask them to read it to you. There’s something about a child or teen stating a consequence in their own voice that takes a lot of the fight out of the situation.

3. Attend to your child when he’s NOT in trouble. Although this makes a lot of sense on the surface, we live in a busy, busy world. When our kids create trouble, we have to attend to it, but it’s easy to let relationships slide when there’s no emergency. Make a commitment just to be with the youngster for a few moments on a regular basis. A parent’s physical presence, especially in those few moments before their child goes to sleep, is a powerful and positive thing.

4. Consider ways to provide additional empowerment. For some kids, getting adults worked up into a full lather appeals to them because they feel that’s the only way they have any power at all. A simple way to increase empowerment is to offer more choices, where appropriate. In assigning chores, for instance, give them five tasks and explain they can give two of them back to you if they do three of them by a certain time.

5. Learn to live more calmly in an imperfect world. This one certainly applies to all of us. I have to work on it every day.

Jim415smAlthough a nationally recognized child and adolescent psychologist, Dr. James Sutton deeply values his first calling as a teacher. Today he is in demand for his expertise on emotionally and behaviorally troubled youngsters and his skill for speaking, writing and training on this subject. He is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network, a radio-style podcast and blog promoting happy and healthy youngsters and families.
Photo credit: horrigans / Foter / CC BY-NC

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