Pre-children, I think a lot of people probably think having kids is going to equate to mess. I suppose to a certain extent that’s correct once they’ve got paraphenalia, toys, books, clothes etc, there’s a certain amount of storage needed to ensure the house doesn’t turn into a tip.
It’s also hard to get children to tidy up after themselves…I ask N to put things away, “no”.
I try the “I’ll put this away and you can do this one”, “no”.
“Shall we see how quickly we can tidy up?”, “no”.
You see the picture.
Although we have toys and books in both the living room (in big toy buckets) and the ‘dining/back room’ on 2 mini tables and a book/toy tidy, I tend to avoid letting him make too much of a mess by putting back things that he’s finished with, and moving the large items to the end of the room. It does make things easier at the end of the day as there’s less to do at the end, plus you have less chance of standing accidentally on painful toys such as lego or jigsaw pieces.
Thankfully N’s never been one for tipping all his toys out at the start of the day, or needing to get everything out. And recently, he has put things away of his own accord. There is hope. Maybe he just doesn’t like the suggestion that he should be tidying up. However, he’s now a fan of jigsaws, so likes to tip those pieces out and not putting them away completed. In the hope of not losing any (we’re only missing 2 alphabet ones so far, which are either in the toy buckets or down the back of the sofa cushions), all jigsaw pieces are now in a zipped up bag. As well as tipping those out without actually doing the puzzle, he likes to put them in the seat of his ride on tip-truck. At least the large tractor puzzle he likes to put away afterwards.
The OH does despair sometimes if he comes in to find tractors and ride on things strewn across the living room. I think he would be relieved if he ever visited some other friends houses who have children while the kids are playing!
As he gets older (N, not the OH, although his tendency to leave used glasses beside the sink instead of in the dishwasher may be partially to blame for N’s refusal to tidy away), we may need to resort to rewards systems or even a pocket money contract which is what my brother and I used to have with our untidy bedrooms as kids.
I seem to be constantly tidying and worrying about missing pieces. Recently some new friends Lego and Playmobil have entered the house and it’s getting worse. Mine are also rubbish at helping to put things away. When they are old enough I will definitely be instigating some sort of system linked to pocket money!
It used to work with us, so hoping N will be ok with it. He does put his large wooden jigsaw back in the box, but the smaller ones, don’t have boxes. Do need better storage cupboard for games like this though, so need to do some clearing out for them.
My boys are now almost 6 and 4 1/2 and I can say that the tidying up system has to adapt all the time. They grow up and learn to tidy up after themselves (preschool/school helps). It is all about consistence and persuading that little individual that it makes it so much more manageable. I have had toy and book baskets in the lounge for years. We sort them out regularly and especially at Christmas and around birthdays. We make decisions to give away the ones they don’t play with anymore or have outgrown. That’s the only way to keep the number down. We also have a system to sort them by type and get one out at a time. You do end up losing puzzles though, there is almost no way to avoid this 🙂
Ps thanks for the comment on my blog!
Keeping the house clean with kids in it is definitely a trying experience. But only after three years did I get so fed up with the abundance of toys did I learn to catorgize the toys and keep them up in a closet out of reach and only keep just a toy box full of toys out at all times to play with. If the kids want to play with the toys out of reach, they must first pick up the toys they aren’t playing with to have access to the other toys. Its a good system so far. I just started this a few weeks ago.
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Sounds like a good system. We need to clear out a few toys – but want to donate them to my best friend who’s son is 18m younger…(hope they’ve got storage room!)