Keeping the house tidy when you have kids is an impossible task. Teaching them to keep their own space and items tidy to a reasonable degree, however, is not as difficult as you may feel it is. Get started, and before you know it they’ll be building habits to last a lifetime.
The first step is to ensure that tidying is possible. Storage solutions appropriate to the number of toys and the types of items you need to pack away are a must – essentially, you need to make sure that your children are capable of tidying the area in question, removing all the toys and accessories from view and putting them where they belong.
Next, you’ll want to devise a system. Throwing all the toys into boxes in a helter-skelter manner is a reasonable thought, but as your kids get older a more complex system may become easier. Books will need to go in the bookcases and toys can always be sorted in appropriate containers. This will make it easier for your child to find the toys he or she wishes to play with, on short notice.
These containers can of course be purchased, but it may be more fun to make them yourself. Boxes can easily be decorated and you’ll be able to label them according to contents. This will not only get you and your children involved in a communal activity but also involve him or her in the organisation and tidying process. You can find the necessities, including boxes, at hobby shops like Hobbycraft.
Many people fall at the first real hurdle; getting the kids to do the actual tidying. Children are not, usually, naturally given to tidying, and the power-struggles resulting from this conflict of interest can be very unpleasant indeed. However, carefully preparing and keeping at it will help. Prepare a chore chart and expect your children to complete a certain set of chores daily; in some households this is tied to spending money, but that is of course a decision you will have to make on your own. Most of all, keep at it – over time, they will grow accustomed to the activity and learn to tidy as quickly as possible.
Getting kids to tidy seems like a monstrous task, but it won’t be long before you needn’t worry about toys littering the home.