I don’t know about you, but in my house my kids only clean when I stand over them like a drill sergeant. I tell them where to put everything, keep them all on task, remind them to keep going, stop the younger one from playing in the corner, etc. The problem with this is that it shouldn’t get to that point in the first place! Although our children tend to cause the most mess, they can also be our greatest help. If our children can learn and instil daily habits of organization, you won’t ever be in that position you were in 30 days ago… where your house was falling apart at the seams. Make sure to pin this post for later and let’s figure out how to get organized with kids!
How to Get Organized with Kids Rule 1: Don’t Leave the Room a Mess.
This is something so simple and yet it is really the crux of disorganization. Rather than teaching our children to put away every single toy when they are done playing with it, which doesn’t really work with the way kids play (have you noticed?), try this rule instead! Your kids can’t leave the room unless it is clean. They can play as crazy as they want, but they don’t get to go to the next activity until everything is cleaned up. We tend to fail on this one the most as we don’t give our children the time they need to really clean up. “Dinner Time!” we call and the kids come bounding up the stairs, disaster in their quake. Instead, we should call down about 10 minutes before dinner is ready with the warning call, “Dinner’s almost ready, 10 minute tidy up!” You see the difference?
Give yourself ten extra minutes before moving on to the next activity or task, it will make all the difference!
How to Get Organized with Kids Rule 2: Don’t Procrastinate!
We need to teach our children, not only to clean up their messes, but to pick up after themselves in the everyday! How much of a difference would it make if your kids had built habits of picking up their stuff? Clearing their dish and adding it to the dishwasher? Picking up their bath toys and putting their clothes in the dirty clothes hamper? These really aren’t that much work for your child and can make a HUGE difference for you, especially when you have a large family where work multiplies. They will only build these habits by doing them every single time. No, you can’t leave the table yet, you need to clear your dish and put it in the dishwasher. No, you can’t come out of your room to eat breakfast until your room is tidied and your bed is made. Your bath isn’t done until you leave the bathroom as tidy as it was when you went in there. It will mean a lot more work for you for a while as you start to enforce these habits, and it won’t happen overnight. Habits take about 3 weeks to form so you have to be consistent and eventually your children will start to do this stuff without you standing over them every second to make sure it happens!
But I don’t want to be a drill sergeant!!!!
This is our number one mistake when working with our children, lack of consistency. We put out these new “guidelines” and then we don’t enforce them. We don’t remind our children and help them instil these habits and so they don’t stick. Our children goof off instead of cleaning because they know that most of the time they get away with it! We need to stop expecting so much of our children! “But wait a minute Rebecca, aren’t you saying to expect more of your kids?” Not really! Anyone can take 2 seconds to clean up after themselves, that isn’t a huge expectation. We put enormous expectation on our children when we expect them to do something every day as a habit that is not part of their nature. We get angry and frustrated when they forget and yet we aren’t being clear on our end. We need to help them, remind them, teach them, and eventually these things will come!
How to Get Organized with Kids: the Challenge
I challenge you this week to start instilling some healthy habits with your kids. Be the drill sergeant, but be that person consistently for the next few weeks. Follow your kids around, give them MORE supervision, MORE help, MORE encouragement. Live what you are asking them to do, pick up after yourself too! Clean your own room! Instead of trying to clean your whole house and maintain everything yourself, change your way of thinking! Everyone just taking care of their own little messes means no more big messes! Give your older children responsibility to help with a younger siblings messes. To teach their younger sibling how to clean up their own messes too! Be a house of encouragement, teamwork, and take off your burden mama! This isn’t all on you! Your children are amazing, capable individuals and they will thrive with a bit of responsibility! And the best part is, once you change the mindset and instil these habits, you don’t have to be the drill sergeant anymore! You can all just live in a little more harmony moving forward!
Join the challenge!
If you are new to my blog and/or haven’t heard of the “How to Organize your Life in 30 Days” challenge, I invite you to check it out here! You will be encouraged and inspired and motivated and you can join in at any time! Take the challenge with your friends! Post your pics on Instagram with the #30dayorganize so I can come over and check it out!