Home Schooling, Parenting

Tidy Time Madness!

It’s 3 o’clock.

School is done for the day, what a relief! There is only one problem….the only way we could get through our school day is by letting our gorgeous 3 year old get out any toy he liked!

Mess drives me crazy. I have learnt to live with it though. I don’t know that it is possible to keep a perfectly tidy house when you have 5 kids who are home all the time. I do know  that I am a much more happy, relaxed Mummy if things are tidy and organised though.

Often I can’t stand the mess and I will enforce the ‘one toy out at a time rule’. Other times it’s not worth the effort – I’d rather use the time to teach the other kids and let Dami get out whatever he likes. Once one toy is out he gets quite attached to it, but he wants more toys out as well. Today it was his Marble tower, so carefully made, but not yet ready to pack away even though he had finished playing with it. I tried packing it up and all I heard was “No! Not my Marble tower, Beth helped me make it!” His cars are out, along with his Octonauts toys. Add in there a couple of other toys, and it’s madness!

messy-playroom

I often tell all the kids, if all of them leave just 5 things lying around, that’s 25 things to tidy up. If they do that in a few rooms in the house, then that quickly becomes a messy house.

Even though my house doesn’t seem to stay tidy for long, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for getting people to tidy fast.

In case my tricks will help anyone else then here you go…

  1. NUMBER PICK UP – I pick a number generally between 15  -30 (depending on how much time we have or how messy the place is) and I tell the kids – in a very enthusiastic voice – “Right! Everyone pick up 20 things and put them in their correct place…on your marks, get set, GO!” Everyone (including me) rushes around to see who can make the target number first. As we are running around we often yell out what number we are on. No one argues about whose things they are tidying up because it doesn’t matter. This doesn’t get the place completely tidy but it does make a huge difference.
  2. CATEGORY COLLECT – This one takes a little longer but makes tidying fun for the little ones. As quickly as they can they need to tidy up toys that fit in a particular category…”Pick up all the red/orange/hard/soft/round/little/big toys”. Keep changing categories until all or most of the toys are picked up.
  3. LOADER SCOOP – My younger kids are always the ones who need some encouragement to tidy. Left to their own devices they would get nothing done. This game gives them an easy job. They are the loader and they need to scoop up all the toys and place them in the middle of the room. The older kids then put the pile into categories to make it easier to put them away. Some kids can sort and others can put away. It does save time when tidying so you aren’t going back and forth to the same toy box each time you find yet another toy that belongs there.

These games don’t just include tidying up toys. Anything that is not in its proper home is included in the game.

 

Anyone have any other ideas for keeping a tidy house? Please share your ideas with me and help me to keep a tidy house ! 🙂

 

6 thoughts on “Tidy Time Madness!”

  1. So creative Kate. I don’t mind loads of toys etc being pulled out all day long from the time the kids are up. Sometimes the oddest combinations can make for the most creative play. But I do want EVERYTHING packed away at ‘5 o’clock pack away time’. Every day, all their lives from the time they are about 14 months old, we do 5 o’clock pack away. The idea is that by the time they are 5, the person who played with it packs it away. If you didn’t make a mess, you don’t need to help (Siobhan loves this rule because she only has to tackle her own room these days). Poor Malachi though, being my main mess maker, he does all the pack away himself most of the time. Oh well….. think he’d find your techniques so much more fun!

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  2. Oh you are very creative! We purposefully don’t have many toys because mess stresses me out. But of course we do have some toys, and we have to put away toys and books before we go anywhere or eat anything. Everyone except me helps. Anyone not helping gets a pile set aside for them to put away alone before s/he can eat the next meal. My kids soon learn that they would rather work together!

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    1. Having my family and Paul’s family living in Perth, along with Aunties and Uncles, we have ended up accumulating a lot of birthday and Christmas presents! I like your rule about tidying up before eating.

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