If your home is like mine, it can be a never-ending battle to get your kids to pick up after themselves at times. In my case, my older kids are even worse at it than the little ones. Perhaps it has something to do with that teen attitude, but I try to keep the younger ones on task even if the older kids refuse to cooperate sometimes.
I have learned that as long as kids are living in my house, it will never look the way I want it to, but tidy is one of my favorite words to use to describe what I am looking for. Again, far from perfect, but as long as it is presentable and livable, I have learned to be content. Someday when all my kids are grown and on their own, I can have a clean home again.
There are things that we can do as parents to make cleaning up easier for our kids, however. I have greater success with making it as SIMPLE and STRAIGHTFORWARD as possible for my kids. The following are the methods I find to helpful with kids of all ages.
- Set a good example of keeping things picked up. Even if life is busy, you as a mom need to at least demonstrate what your expectations are and being consistent in how you care for your things and are tidy yourself.
- Teach them how to care for their things. You will need to show them more than once in order for them to learn what you expect and to master the art of doing it, especially if they are younger.
- From a young age, teach your child to pick up after themselves before getting the next thing out. It is amazing how simple this concept is, but it is so hard to implement since kids can create a tornado in the two minutes that you are using the bathroom.
- Put a lower bar in their closet using a tension rod to put their hanging things within their reach. This will make cleaning up their clothes so much easier.
- Store kids toys in clear or opaque containers. That way, it will be easy for your kids to see how full each container is and to quickly sort the containers properly if they get out of hand.
- Label their toy containers either with words or with pictures of what is in each bin.
- Keep dress up clothes on a simple coat stand, rack, or set of hooks. This will avoid taking up precious closet of cupboard space while also adding some color and fun to a room.
- Label their dresser drawers with words or a pictures of what goes in each one.
- Use smaller containers in their dresser drawers to keep things like socks, underwear, belts, and slippers together.
- Provide them with a few hooks in their room to hang hats, partially worn clothing, or even a sweater, sweatshirt or coat.
- Create a binder with clear page protectors for them to keep their treasures in. Things like birthday cards, special pictures, or letters from friends or loved ones. This way these things not only have a place, but your kids are also forced to pick and choose between what to keep and what to toss, avoiding hanging onto too much clutter.
- Let them be involved in the decision as to where to put their things. If they are a part of this process, they are more likely to want to put things away.
- Have them keep the pajamas they may wear for more than one night under their pillow to avoid having to look for them at bedtime.
- Have a different colored towel and washcloth for each child so they can be responsible for taking care of their own towel and washcloth after using them.
- Get rid of excess packaging or packages that just don’t make sense or aren’t easy to use. Remember by game and puzzle storage? There is so much wasted space in the boxes – and it makes stray pieces so much harder to put away.
- Schedule a 10 minute tidy three or four times each day.
Having a tidy home begins with us as parents. I spoke of clutter some before and here, too, but beyond that, developing systems that are kid friendly and efficient is key. These tips will give you a great place to start.
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