How to Encourage Your Kids to be Tidy: Tips From a Mom of 8

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. But no matter their ages, there are things you can do to encourage your kids to be tidy. Yes, you can have tidy kids!

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It really is a matter of knowing how to make it easy for them, and this is what I’ve mastered through the years.

teach kids tidy

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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.

Here are some things you can do to encourage your kids to be tidy, too.

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 your kids 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.

Use the pickup rule

From a young age, teach your child to pick up after themselves before getting the next thing out. This is the pickup rule.

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.

Maximize closet space in kids rooms

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 on their own so much easier.

Organize kids toys smart

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 where kids toys go

Label their toy containers either with words or with pictures of what is in each bin.

I love this labeler below for labeling. It’s totally worth the purchase.

Kids dress up clothes organization

Keep dress up clothes on a simple coat stand, rack, or set of hooks. This will avoid taking up precious closet or cupboard space while also adding some color and fun to a room.

Label where kids clothes go

Label their dresser drawers with words or a picture of what goes in each one. This is how to deal with kids who are not old enough to read yet. All kids can look at pictures and put things in the correct places.

Organize small things in containers

Use smaller containers in their dresser drawers to keep things like socks, underwear, belts, and slippers together. This is such a simple thing to do, and it makes a world of difference in them being able to maintain some sense of order inside drawers. This is especially true if their drawers are large.

Hooks work great for kids clothes & things

Provide them with a few hooks in their room to hang hats, partially worn clothing, or even a sweater, sweatshirt or coat. This can be a really cute way of adding a pop of color or decorative touch to the room while also creating more room in precious drawer space.

Use a binder for kids special things and keepsakes

Create a binder with clear page protectors for them to keep their treasures in. Most kids like to hang on to things that have special meaning to them. This could be things like birthday cards, special pictures, or letters from friends or loved ones. This way these things not only have a place, but they are also forced to pick and choose between what to keep and what to toss. This keeps them from hanging onto too much clutter.

Let kids choose where their toys belong

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.

Store kids pajamas out of sight

Have your kids keep the pajamas they may wear for more than one night under their pillow to avoid having to look for them at bedtime.

That way the pajamas are out of sight, yet they are easy to find when bedtime rolls around. I always say, whatever I can do to make bedtime go a bit smoother is a good thing.

Color code different kids towels

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.

When the bathroom is a mess of towels or washcloths, you know just who to seek out based on the color. It makes it so much easier to hold your kids accountable. With eight kids, I could never keep it all straight otherwise.

Choose kids toy packaging wisely (or get rid of it)

Get rid of excess packaging or packages that just don’t make sense or aren’t easy to use.

Have you read about my game and puzzle storage? There is so much wasted space in the boxes – and it makes stray pieces so much harder to put away. If you have not read those posts for games and puzzles, they just might transform the clutter in your home…and your life!

Schedule a 10 minute tidy three or four times each day

Are you not sure what a 10-minute tidy is? Read about my 10 minute tidy here.

Looking to have tidy kids? Tired of cleaning up after your kids? Put these principles into practice and experience the peace and calm that kids who are tidy can bring to any home.

Looking for more on helping kids clean their rooms? Try these:

How to get your kids to clean their room without arguing

How to teach your kids to clean their room without yelling

Living with kids doesn’t have to mean living with clutter

The incredibly simple secret to controlling toy clutter in a small home


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