Having small children in the house can be a mind-bender for most parents, especially when the kids are really young. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the constant stream of chaos that they can effortlessly unload on you. However, there are always ways to keep things on an even keel and have a decent looking house even with a bunch of kids causing mayhem all day. It’s all about adopting a certain mindset to address it in a way that works for you.
First of all, with small kids in the house, there is a level of chaos that you are going to have to accept. Kids are messy; it’s part of their evolutionary process. They run around, knock things over, pick things up, throw them around, and get dirty. You’re going to have to work around their baseline behavior to adopt an effective strategy to keep your home organized and clean.
It’s a home, not a Pinterest Board
Most of us get influenced by the picture-perfect images we see on social media and set our standards at unbelievably high levels. This is your home, your LIVING space, and you share it with your kids. It’s not just an immaculate set-piece to facilitate a mindless string of Instagram posts. Give them some slack and let them have their share of fun instead of constantly traumatizing them about picking up their things. It’s going to have a negative outcome. They need to enjoy their home, not be afraid of it.
Try to tell yourself that this is a phase in your life where things are going to be a little messy. But it’s going to get better over time. Accept this phase for what it is, and move ahead with a positive frame of mind.
Observe: Keep up with trends
We end up getting a lot of stuff for our kids because they tend to have a very fickle attention span and their interests jump from one toy to another in no time. Stay in sync with what’s “trending” currently. Among the mountain of toys strewn all over your home, it’s probably just 20 percent of them that the kids actually play with frequently. The rest of them just lie strewn around with no real purpose.
Methods of disposal
Observing your kids at play will give you a good idea as to what you’re working with. Once you’ve identified this “secondary tier” of kid’s articles, you can dispose of them as you please. They are not going to notice. There are plenty of charities collecting used toys. Load them up in a box and deliver to a charity of your choice. If they are in prime condition, you can give them to hospitals or libraries where they have a children’s waiting room.
Containing the mess
There are levels of containment that you can employ for your kid’s play-aftermath-mess. Give them a reasonably spacious area for their toys, and try to keep the major share of play activity in that space. There’s obviously going to be spillovers from time to time, but most kids are okay with reasonable rules and adhere to them 80 percent of the time.
You can also make use of large bins in which kids can toss their toys based on categories. For instance, you can say the red bin is for playdough toys, the blue bin is for blocks, the yellow for soft toys, and so on. This helps on two levels. It’s easier for them (and you) to clean up afterward and you don’t spend time rummaging through the house for a specific type of toy.
Build in the values
Kids may be messy and obstinate, but they will follow rules if you enforce them intelligently. Incentivize cleaning by offering them special treats or a trip to the park once a week if they are consistently cleaning up after they play. Shower praise on them whenever they do follow the rules. It may be tough in the beginning, but most kids eventually fall in line over time, making it easier for you long term.