“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” – 1 Corinthians 14:40
Today had to put orderliness into practice. The upstairs was a mess, and we host a small group at our house every Wednesday. All the kids go play upstairs, and there is no way they would be able to play with all the stuff everywhere. I need to train in my kids to put things away right away. We are working on it, and I know I have to be much more diligent. It all had piled up, so we just had to do a massive clean-up so we could start with a blank slate. Here are some before and after shots.
I wanted to include in this post some of the tips I use for helping kids learn to clean up. I used them today to. I had already posted about it in my parenting tips section, but I thought it would be helpful for those who are new here to read some clean up strategies that have been working for us. Here’s the post:
Clean-up has, so far, been a challenge for us. I find that the kids will begin cleaning up and then start playing – ending in a worse mess than before we had started. I also felt like clean-up took forever. Frustrating. I was given advice to make it fun. It’s so obvious, and I had tried to an extent, but I hadn’t put as much effort in it as I should have. I have very recently accepted that they’re not going to know how to pick up automatically, but it’s going to take a lot of involved training. One of the fun tricks is to set a time we are trying to beat. Sometimes, there is a reward if we are able to pick up before the timer goes off. You can also do a timer in the opposite direction. You hit start and see how much time it takes. You save that time and next clean up time try and beat it. Another trick I’ve found is the plastic bag. I don’t know why it works, but the kids love having a bag to put things in while cleaning. So, I may give them a small grocery bag and tell them to go around the house and pick up everything that needs to go upstairs. Maybe it’s like a treasure hunt for them. I have also taught them to pick up categories….pick up all the balls, or blocks, or doll stuff, etc. The bags help with category cleaning. I’ll also tell them to pick up a certain number of items. I have found the more I am involved, the more capable they are becoming of doing it on their own. Today was a major victory in that I sent them upstairs to pick up their room and the play area. They successfully did it by themselves – a first. I try to have a couple pick up times. We try and pick up the living room before nap. Sometimes I will have them pick up before they have a bit of t.v. time or before doing a special project– a big motivator. I had good advice from the to have a “one toy out at a time” rule. I really need to begin to implement that one. Things are definitely improving in this area, but I know I have a lot to continue doing with them.