It might be hard to believe as you take in the chaos, but someday you really will miss these moments. To help you have more time to enjoy your kids – and keep your clean house in order… at least for a little while – here are a few tips:
1. Put things up immediately. As soon as they walk in from school, have your kids put up backpacks and shoes. If they change clothes, make sure the dirty clothes make it into the hamper. This routine will prevent the pile of 47 (Where did that shoe go?!) shoes in the entryway; plus you’ll know where they are in the morning.
2. Have a designated spot for everything. Every toy car doesn’t need its own space but do make sure everything has a home. Assign spots for toys, shoes, board games, etc. This way everyone will know where everything goes!
3. Have consequences. It is best to combat the mess before it gets out of hand, so if someone fails to put their shoes up or leaves toys in the floor, have small consequences. And be consistent! Consequences can range from confiscating the toys for a few days to grounding the kids from electronics. You can start small and move up for repeat offenders.
4. Have limits. If you are OK with the kids bringing toys out of the toy room, place a limit on what they drag out. For example, you can allow them to bring four toys to the living room while you watch a family movie with the agreement that they put them up when they leave the room. If they leave the toys behind, there is a consequence. This is a great rule to have in place in bedrooms, also.
5. Enforce the rules with everyone. How many times has the greatest mess occurred after playmates have left? These tips are not limited just to those who live under your roof. If your kids have friends over, it’s fine to have them help pick up the toys. You probably shouldn’t ground them if they don’t comply, but if they know what is expected, and see your child doing it, they will usually oblige! Also, remember that you should be setting an example of picking up after yourself.