“Just you wait and see”
Your home will never look like this with kids living here….
I’m a woman who is apart of the estimated 3 million Canadians who have been diagnosed with an anxiety or mood disorder, and a few people would say I also have a touch of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to my home. When my environment is a mess and chaotic that can translate to my mind becoming that way as well. My environment is my number one sanctuary to recharge and relax after a day of giving my best self to others, so if it is all out of sorts and messy I’m unable to do so and it ends up leading to negative side effects to my disorders and mental health.
When you spend so much time, money and efforts to find which strategies can be put into place to help with our overall happiness and wellbeing, we need to try our hardest to implement them to achieve positive results in our lives! I have had to consciously make the decision to constantly put in the effort to keep my house clean and organized. When my life would get a bit crazier and more hectic I wouldn’t be doing that self care and it would make my stress and anxiety escalate as well as the mess. I would put myself into a vicious cycle that would lead to feeling extremely discouraged, because a small everyday clean up would now take FOREVER and would completely overwhelm me mentally that I would in turn shut off so to speak and not do any of it.
When I was about twenty-four weeks I was put on modified bed rest for the remainder of the (longest) nine months of my (life) pregnancy. My husband works construction and in the summer months he works cra cra hours, I couldn’t really turn to him to take care of the house and keep it clean, especially to my standards. (there are a million memes about this and I’m pretty sure husbands have not cleaned a certain way so we just get frustrated just do it ourselves lol) Working with my therapist we had to prioritize certain things that would help keep my spirits up while on bed rest and a clean home was one of them. I couldn’t clean the kitchen, bathrooms, dust, vacuum, wash the floors, all the big things that physically I wasn’t allowed doing we needed to find help. I could fold the laundry and put them away if my husband did the loads and brought them to me but that’s pretty much it. My husband and I started to make a budget that fit in a cleaner to help with all that we couldn’t keep up with and let me tell you, ahhh it was a relief. Having that done was so wonderful, that we decided to have her come and clean even after having the baby for those bigger clean ups while I attempt keep up my rest and enjoy my family!
When I have been told by many people OH just you wait and see when you have kids, they would continue with, your house will look like mine ( a disaster zone), you wont be able to keep anything organized, you’re children’s toys will be EVERYWHERE they will take over your house, you wont have time to do any cleaning, the kids never put anything away and if you don’t want to spend the rest of your night doing so your house will always look like a hurricane etc., it would make my chest tight and I would start to feel nauseas. Thankfully I would only feel that way for a minute because I’ve worked ten years in childcare, have three years of education under my belt, nannied for three years, and was a live in au pair for one, and I would remind myself, wait a minute this is SO possible I have worked with children and it’s possible to have them respect their environments!
Home and Childcare environments are very different. Its much easier to set up routines and stay consistent with the days schedules in a childcare setting, however as a parent you shouldn’t feel discouraged, there are many simple stragies that you can use in your home life to help, its honestly all about the FOLLOW THROUGH. In other blog posts I refer to my unborn child as a baby body terrorist, but honestly children at almost every age and stage other then newborn are mini terrorist’s and you should under no circumstances negotiate with them, EVER! As soon as we show signs of weakness that’s when they strike!
5 Simples ways keep your home organized with children
1. Practice what you Preach because Monkey see Monkey do
This is more important then most parents realize. When it comes to anything pertaining to your children’s growth and development of habits, they are learning it first and foremost from you at home. If they aren’t seeing that you’re caring and respecting your environment they won’t learn that its expected, important, or normal. Having them see through your actions is the easiest way to get them involved as just a daily motion of life. Another factor is not just that you shouldn’t just do the chores but show them that its enjoyable. Who wants to try to imitate doing something if the person doing it is miserable? Its never to late to change your lifestyle and your own habits, if a messy unorganized home is bothering you or disrupting your happiness, it will just take some time for your child to develop new habits, but stay positive and consistent and eventually they will, like you see the benefits of a clean and tidy home.
2. Finding balance between minimalism and over indulgence
A lot of the time the biggest factor in your home being unorganized is just the simple fact that you have to much stuff and not enough places to put them! For children this will effect how successful they will be able to keep their mind and physical space organized. Once a birthday or event with gifts pass a good practice would be to spend the day going through all of their things and donating what they no longer find joy from or play with to make room for the new toys. Not having a spot to put things away to clean up in your house will automatically make it more difficult to keep clean.
3. Having designated spaces (if possible designated rooms)
Parents who have reached out to me as an educator usually say that their homes have been taken over by their children and all of their things, and aren’t sure what to do, the first thing we often suggest doing is tackling their environment. This is honestly one of the biggest reasons why getting children to be organized and tidy in a daycare can be so successful, its because we set up their physical space and environment with this in mind. Clearly defining a space or room is very important. If you want your kitchen, living room and dining room to be just that, don’t have a bin for toys around and set up clear boundaries and stay consistent, that toys and playing happens only in the places you set up. i.e. Playroom, basement or their bedrooms. Having a designated overall space its crucial for your children to have clear understandings of where exactly their things belong to be able to put them back in the right places. This will look different for each age group. For example, if you have a younger child who isn’t reading yet a bin where the trains belong should only have a picture on the bin, but a child who is reading can have both or just the word trains. In our daycare we have each bin clearly labeled and it makes it easy for the children to know where they need to put the toys they are playing with when they are finished.
These are some of our spaces at my daycare for the children
4. Only have them be responsible for their messes (at first)
When you have a younger child its difficult for them to grasp the idea of “chipping in” and being responsible for different house hold chores other then a mess they’ve made themselves. According to Piaget’s theories, until a child is 7 years old they are egocentric and only really consider their own point of view. If you have them clean their messes right after they’ve made them, it will be quick, easy and manageable, it will avoid them from becoming discouraged and overwhelmed. Your child will feel successful and proud of their things, just like you do.
5. Only take one toy out at a time
This rule is the hardest but most beneficial for your child to be able to succeed in their cleanliness and organization in your home. It will take a lot of discipline and consistency to for this rule to be followed by your little one, especially if you are trying to re-train some bad habits. When we have new children come into our programs, it takes about a month or two to drill this rule into their little brains for it to come second nature to them. There will be times to “mix” toys but the expectation needs to be understood that it will take them longer to clean up and they have to agree to that before they take out more. Not only will taking one thing out at a time help them keep their areas clean or help them clean up quicker after they are done playing, but studies have shown that the least number of toys played with by children at one time helps with their imaginative and creative play, helps them develop longer attention spans, and establish better social skills.
If having an organized, tiny and clean home is important to you either before or after making a family for what ever the reason, I’ll be here to support you, help give ideas that work for me and my lifestyle and just listen to you vent.
“Small disciplines repeated with consistency everyday, lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” – John Maxwell
If any of you fabulous mamas have any questions for me or any tips on this subject that has worked for you and your family please leave a comment above , I’d love to connect!