We know that all parents dream of an organised life yet with our overwhelming and unrelenting responsibilities it can seem like that – just a dream.
However, all it takes is a little effort from both parents each day to get your children onboard with the idea of tidying away after themselves – giving everyone in the family a little boost along the way.
Kids are like mini tornadoes; they create a path of destruction in every area of the home, leaving behind toys, food debris, worn clothes and other mess. But when tidying as you go is turned into a habit instead of a chore, parents can find a bit more time to relax and recharge once the kids hit the hay. No more evenings spent putting the house back to normal, and lacking any time for more important tasks, or crucially, each other.
As soon as picking up as they go and avoiding a mess becomes a habit for kids, you’ll be amazed at the results.
While including your children in tasks such as cooking, cleaning and tidying up their toys does take longer at the outset, it is worth it in the long run.
Why Children Should Help Around the House
Parents are typically exhausted from the myriad of responsibilities that we face. Work, looking after kids and day-to-day life admin all pile up at once. We really do need everyone in the home taking responsibility for their things otherwise it is just too hard to keep up.
We all want to be the ‘fun’ parent so here are our tips to get the kids on board in a positive way – no nagging needed (because who wants to spend their days whinging & whining at their kids… none of us!)
Once your kids are helping to keep the house in order, you’ll see a range of benefits:
● When the kids are finally tucked into bed, parents can relax instead of running around the house and restoring order. If your children tidy as they go, you can reclaim those precious minutes and hours at the end of the day.
● Your children will learn structure. They’re already tidying away their toys or equipment at the end of day care or school, so they already understand the importance of doing so. It’s simply an extension of something they’ve already become accustomed to.
● You’re also teaching your children to build positive lifestyle routines that will provide healthy social and emotional development. The sooner they learn these routines, the sooner they’ll turn into functional adults who’ll look after their own spaces.
Here's How You Can Achieve an Organised Life for Families.
Once both parents are ready to get the kids on-board with keeping the house tidy as they move around - here are some tidying methods that both of you can encourage in each room of the house, as well as incentives you can use for the more stubborn tweens or teens among them.
● Make tasks fun as you work together: Making tasks more fun can go a long way in encouraging the kids to take part. This could be anything from carrying out cleaning tasks while listening to music, or doing a silly dance while packing away clothes or toys together. You could also create a story out of the toys and other objects you’re putting away.
● Involve older children in routines:
Don’t try to lump entire tasks on the kids right away - it will seem insurmountable to them. Instead of asking them to make dinner, work towards it as a goal. Start out by having them chop the vegetables or mash the potatoes. Slowly, you can work towards having them carry out more of the meal preparation before they’re finally making whole meals for the family.
● Don’t shy away from incentives:
While it might feel like bribing, don’t avoid using incentives altogether. They’re humans after all, and incentives will go a long way towards getting them onboard. Some positive ways to do this include:
o Pocket money
o Sticker charts that lead to a reward
o Family trips planned for the weekend
o Scheduled ‘device’ time on the games console or iPad
o A movie night with snacks
● Invest in some kid-friendly furniture:
Sometimes, reducing barriers to kids helping can make a big difference. If they struggle to reach the dressers, they’ll be less inclined to try and tidy away. So, consider furniture such as a kid-height craft locker in which they can store their art supplies, or kid-height clothes drawers so that they can easily fold and put away their own clothes.
Use Eggy to Schedule Kids’ Activities
The free Eggy smartphone app for mobile can be used to schedule a range of tasks and activities that support good household organisation for both parents. You can also use it as a place to store those incentives we’ve discussed, signposting what reward the kids will get to enjoy if they keep up with their new responsibilities.