Children's school papers really stump many of my clients. What to save? How to save? The whole "Tiger Mom" media craze had many of my clients wondering how much should they be saving of their child's art and paperwork. If they save totes full of paper, are they obsessive? If they toss them, are they heartless? The Tiger Mom was ruthless, driving her children to achieve, and tossing artwork that was not perfect. Not the parenting style of most people I meet. Ultimately, you always have to do what feels right for your child and your heart. Here are a few of my mantras to consider. Once you frame your thoughts you can establish your own rules to make the daily decisions simple.
"The learning is in the doing and not in the keeping." Children learn color wheels, fine motor skills, perspective and so much more from art classes. Tossing an art project will not take this away. Most of us master multiplication, phonics (do they even call it that anymore?), and penmanship.
"Thank goodness that snowmen and sandcastles aren't forever." They disappear. This does not stop us from making them, from teaching the next generation how to or appreciating them while we have them.
"What kind of mother -in-law do you want to be?" Do you really want to bring 12 totes of paper to you child and their new spouse in their new home? Enough said.
"I don't recommend saving anything with macaroni, leaves, rubber bands, sugar cubes, cotton balls, or glitter." These either do not age well or may attract insects and rodents.
"If it is 3-dimensional or poster board sized...take a picture of it." It is unlikely that any 20-something wants a diorama of a book report.
"Any All-About-Me reports with photos are always a keep as are hand-prints." Organizers can be sentimental. I'm a mom too ya know.
"We have to recycle this paper so other kids can color and their Moms can make grocery lists." Teaching children that paper has a life cycle and we can only keep a small portion is a good thing. Help them choose the best. Praise them for deciding.
Finally, picture you and your child in the future (that is what saving is about), sitting on the sofa, looking through a box of memorabilia, telling stories, laughing, tousling their hair. Hey, that was fun... Do you really want to say, "Yes dear,and we have still have 30 more boxes to look through."?