I'm dedicating the month of May to a series on how to maintain a tidy space when kids live in your home. A friend asked me awhile ago to address the issue, so hopefully I can offer some ideas, tips and advice that you might find useful in your child-filled houses!
Day 1 is, unfortunately, bad news day. Bad news in that if you don't want to follow this advice, then you should not bother reading the rest of the month's posts.
Today's tip is the entire key to maintaining a tidy kid space.
MAKE THEM CLEAN UP.
I know, sounds silly, simple, like, duh you want your money back. But it is KEY if you want to win the battle of keeping kids' areas clean. They need to pick up their toys. Daily. More than daily.
Here's our basement where my kids hang out most often.
It doesn't look like they play there. But they do. They build forts, they cover the island with colouring, they Rainbow Loom, they bring down dolls, they play Wii, they crochet.
But every time we leave the house or if it's bedtime, we make them pick up.
Now I know you think I'm sounding all anal and over stricty about it but I promise you if you let it go once, the next time it's easier to let it go and then before you know it you've got a mess that's bigger than anyone wants to try to touch.
I promise you.
And yes I know the old argument, "But MOM, I'm gonna play with that when we get back!" I've fallen for it many a time but guess what? They don't play with it when they get back and 4 days later they're still not playing with it and they sure don't want to clean it up any more than they did before.
There are two things we need to be clear on.
1. You need to train your kids to clean. You cannot just yell down to clean up and expect it to be done. Be there. Help out. Point to where things go. Show them the expectations until they are old enough that you can let them to take it on by themselves.
2. You have to give them time. If you're leaving the house at 4:30 and you call down for them to clean at 4:25, you will likely find that they are frustrated, you are frustrated, and the cleaning cannot get finished. Give ample time for the clean up process to happen.
This is the hardest lesson I'm going to offer this month and I know you are thinking, she can't mean like every time.
But I do.
I mean it.
And I believe it to be the most important and most key principle to maintaining a tidy space.