Whatever your pre-children level of tidiness and cleanliness, most people need to learn to live with a new version of a tidy home when kids come along. Keeping every single item in position is not realistic unless you want to forbid your children from touching anything in the home. However, it is possible to minimise clutter, keep to a routine and instil a sense of order with a few simple changes. A tidier home is not only nicer to look at, but it can also reduce stress and help your children to learn respect for their surroundings, as well as responsibility if they are old enough to help. If you are looking for ways to keep your home a little tidier, this article has some ideas to get you started.
Try not to go to war with your children
There is no denying that it can be difficult to get used to the sight of our children knocking and climbing over furniture or running around the house leaving toys in their wake. However, it is important to realise that the children are not messy out of a lack of respect or trying to irritate you. They are doing what they do best – loving life. Making tidying up a chore is unlikely to get them enthusiastic. Rather than fighting against them, find ways to work with them. For example, this could be via a reward chart to acknowledge the tidying they do or making it a race to see who can put their toys away first.
Declutter the home
If you have a lot of knickknacks and ornaments in your home, consider downsizing and decluttering your home. Particularly valuable or sentimental items should be displayed out of reach of the children, as it removes temptation and the reduces the likelihood they will be knocked down during playtime.
Designate a play area in your home
Rather than having the entire home as a playground, consider designating a particular space for their toys and games. This could be a spare bedroom, a dining room or a conservatory, or you could create a new space. An attic conversion is a possible idea, or you could build them their very own playhouse in the garden. Versatile garden summer rooms give the children their own space to be creative and make a mess without tearing up the main house.
Upgrade your storage solutions
When we do not have somewhere to store toys, they end up anywhere and everywhere, including in the middle of the lounge floor or on the stairs. If this sounds familiar it may be time to invest in more storage boxes, baskets, cupboards and shelves so that all your children’s toys have a place to live when they are not being played with. When playtime is over, all the toys can be put away.
Keep to a routine
Following children around and picking up after them or picking random times of day to demand they tidy up is only going to create friction. Instead, why not restrict tidying to certain times of day. For example, do a family tidy up after playtime and then another sweep of the house once the children are in bed. You will not feel as if you are spending all day tidying up only to have it messed up again as soon as you turn your back.