Raising children is both a joy and a challenge! Just when you think you’ve overcome one obstacle, you’re quickly given another. And when it comes to keeping your home clean and tidy, getting the kids on board is a task in itself!
Any activity you do with your kids needs to be fun, especially if you want them to be actively engaged. Let’s face it, tidying up rarely ticks that box.
Want to find out how to make decluttering simple for you and your kids? Read on to find out more:
Lead by example
Your children’s greatest advocate and role model is you. They look to you for guidance, security and how to behave in the world. So if you have a messy or clean house or something in between, they will likely follow your habits naturally.
Stop and think about your relationship with clutter. Do you pile things up to sort out later? Or do you sort as you go? Are there particular magnet spots, such as the kitchen counter?
So next time you ask your child to tidy up their room, how does the rest of your house look? Because that will be the standard that they will aspire to.
Sort out your storage
One of the biggest bugbears for parents is a lack of storage. Without having dedicated places to put all your belongings will instantly make your home more cluttered. So what’s the solution?
To make things more affordable, check out:
- Your local charity furniture warehouse
- Nearby vintage sellers
- Browse through online marketplaces to bag a bargain
- Visit big chains such as everyone’s favourite Swedish flatpack store for inspiration and bargain buys
From pull-out baskets to putting up some shelves, be creative with your space.
Have a clearout day
Make it a family affair, with prizes for the best-cleaned room to star helper to get the party really started on clearout day.
- Give your children manageable, age-appropriate tasks
- Encourage them to think about their toys: when was the last time you played with them? Could you make someone else smile by letting them have it instead?
- Younger children may need extra support to deal with the emotional attachments to things
Dividing up your unneeded or unwanted belongings into a donate, recycle or dump box will help make sorting much more straightforward for everyone.
Tired of sorting and clearing? Why not give your local London rubbish removal team a call so they can do all the heavy lifting for you.
Everything has its own place
Sorting all your belongings into dedicated storage spaces, baskets, drawers etc., is a game-changer. There can be no arguments over where things go if they have a home of their own.
So turn it into a race. Who can put away all their building bricks into the drawer first? Or can you put away all your dolls into their house in less than 1 minute? You get the picture.
The more your kids see you putting things back where they belong, and the more you encourage them to help you, they will quickly learn where everything goes.
Keep toys out of “toy jail”
Fed up with finding toys scattered across the floor in the living room each night? Well, it’s time to evoke the “toy jail” rule. It’s a bit tongue in cheek on the surface, but it will quickly establish some extra boundaries if your child is neglecting their toy-related responsibilities!
Every morning, your child has a chance to “bail” out their imprisoned toy throughout the day, no matter how old they are. They can either swap out a toy or do an appropriate task, such as making their bed or sweeping the kitchen floor to unlock the “toy jail” door (or, in this instance, a dedicated box or cupboard!)
Bribery can go a long way
It might be time to turn the tables when you’re having a particularly bad day, and the kids just aren’t feeling it.
Why not create a sticker chart? Or fill a jar with pom-poms for each completed job? Feel free to add daily tasks such as toothbrushing, getting dressed on time and more to make it more worth their while.
Once your child has collected so many stickers or poms, they get a prize. You might want to consider:
- Letting them pick a family movie to watch together
- A weekend treat, e.g. a place to visit or an ice cream on the beach
- Buying them a new book or magazine
- Pizza night
Remember that play makes mess, and that’s OK
Kids learn through play. That means getting their hands dirty, not always keeping things tidy and having space to explore different materials and sensory experiences. So let them.
While having a mess-free home is the dream, children need space to be able to let their hair down and feel safe to explore their environment. This might mean that you stub your toe on a building block left on the carpet or have to pick playdough off the table, but that’s ok.
If you want to keep the mess down to a minimum but still let your kids have the freedom to play, set aside a dedicated space for them to go wild. Whether you’re fortunate to have a separate playroom or simply keep crafts to the kitchen table and play in their bedroom or the living room, encourage them to take pride in their home by setting boundaries.
When playtime is over, pack their art materials or toys back into their dedicated areas together. That way, later down the line, they will always know where things go and will be more likely to just get on with it when you ask them to pack away.
While most parents dream of a mess-free home, the reality is, kids bring their own level of chaos. But by setting good boundaries and getting stuck into tidying up together, you’re in for a winning decluttering formula for the whole family.