So you’ve gone from an organised heaven to being caught up in a hurricane of brightly coloured plastic toys, books, wooden building blocks and fingerprints all over your windows. Whilst you would never wish away these little humans you have created, sometimes you just wish for slightly less chaos whilst they are creating memories. Guess what that’s totally ok! And here is five simple tips you can use to achieve it:
1. Minimise Toys & Implement Toy Rotation
No kid in the world needs every toy that is available. They can still play just as happily with a few items as if they had hundreds. In fact they can become overwhelmed with hundreds of toys and many of them tend to get ignored. Now, if you can’t help but buy them all the toys they want or they’re given them as gifts, then you can just use a toy rotation system to keep things interesting, keep their minds engaged and not have a tonne of toys all over your floor at one time. Once they become old enough to start to understand, you can show them the ‘one toy at a time’ method. So they can start playing with another toy, game, set of blocks, etc. but they must pack up whatever collection of toys they are playing with first. Start this when they are little, by getting them to help you pack up the toys they are playing with before they get something else out. It can be a slow process somedays but you will get there!
2. Storage & Labelling
Storage is the key ingredient to any organised household, not just one with kids. But, the key to success here is to have storage that makes it easier for your whole family to keep the house tidy and also have fun! Labels are about to become your best friends, quite literally! You can have labelled baskets, craft supplies, containers, etc. but you need to make sure they are age appropriate so your kids can understand them as well if they are not yet at the point of reading. By adding a picture alongside the word it will help you kids to know what goes in each basket/container, and makes pack up time less of a chore. You can either make them yourself, print them out and laminate them, or there is some great companies out there that can make them all for you. Another idea is to have a basket labelled with their name on it which lives in their room. It can be brought out during the day and add items into it that need to be taken back to their bedroom. That way it is much easier for them to carry the one basket back to their room and put items away instead of making multiple trips and getting distracted along the way. Want some tips on how to incorporate storage into your kids interiors? Read here
3. Toy Earn Back Scheme
If your kids decide they don’t want to help out with the packing away, you can always try out the toy earn back scheme. So you take away the toy, place it in a container and they have to behave well in order to earn it back. Otherwise you donate it to someone else in need. Or alternatively, whip out the vacuum and tell them anything the vacuum cleaner touches gets thrown out unless it gets picked up and put away. Obviously these are slightly more extreme methods and best suited to ages 3 upwards as that is when they begin to understand the concept of consequences. But you can begin to slowly introduce it earlier so they can start to appreciate your family values.
4. Chore Charts
Obviously your 6 month old baby isn’t about to start cleaning the dishes anytime soon but again once they are old enough to understand you, you can begin to introduce little chores or “tasks” if you prefer that the kids have to achieve for the day. Make it fun and rewarding, it doesn’t have to be anything extreme! Kid’s love routine and thrive on that recognition of a job done well. Much like the labels create pictures with words that they can do throughout the day, eg: pick up their toys, put their clothes in the wash, etc.
5. Bedtime Cleanup
Give yourself 10 minutes either after the kids have gone to bed or just before you go to bed yourself to do a final tidy up. Grab any toys that might have been missed earlier and pop them back where they belong, give the benches a quick wipe down and anything else that will make you feel reset for the next day. That way you can go to bed knowing you are starting fresh in the morning, not overwhelmed with the mess you’re going to wake up to. Plus, if you have to get up to the kids in the middle of the night there is no fear of stepping on a piece of lego…..
Remember every day is different! Some days you will be on top of it all and others, well, life just happens. Do what works for you and your family!
Main Image: @emma_renae_stylist