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how do we teach the kids to be tidy, when we're not ourselves? Not sure where to start.

(21 Posts)
whiskeytangofoxtrot Sat 24-Jan-15 12:45:09

Help. Have 4 young DC and a v busy life, Dp out of the house for long hours at work, I work pt from home.
Housekeeping not really a priority. House is consequently a mess most of the time. I have bags of clothes waiting to be sorted through, xmas presents with no home yet. Paperwork for various jobs in piles.
it is stressing me out.

Nothing is super unhygienic but the OCD out there would probably freak and I would definitely like it to be cleaner and tidier.

I also don't want the kids growing up to be untidy - they are good at certain things, like the automatically hang up coats on entering.

Am also conscious that I need them to learn this early so it becomes habit.

I have done a few things, e.g. put the kids crockery at kids height but I need to do more.

Would a cleaner once a fortnight help? (couldn't afford once a week I don't think)

Where do I start?

allmycats Sat 24-Jan-15 12:46:29

You start by setting an example to your children

stargirl1701 Sat 24-Jan-15 12:51:27

Things do need to be accessible. Coat pegs at their height, self care stations at their height, a few toys accessible (avoid toy boxes). Label with photos/name labels, e.g. Puzzles, Lego, etc. Do the same on drawers - trousers, shirts, etc. Have regular tidy up time - have tidy up music.

But, you do need to set an example. Be the change you want to see.

whiskeytangofoxtrot Sat 24-Jan-15 13:02:36

Well, yes I guess by setting an example, but if we've not been taught - how do WE learn the habits?
Tidy up time is a good one, thanks.

StupidFlanders Sat 24-Jan-15 13:08:18

I think the best way to start would be to provide good storage for your dcs. I was always messy growing up but on reflection my storage was inadequate.

Then praise and provide the desire to have a lovely room etc.

StupidFlanders Sat 24-Jan-15 13:09:45

Oh and I have 4 dcs and a very clean house- the first trick is to get rid of stuff regularly!

HoHoHappyDays Sat 24-Jan-15 13:17:12

I've given up on my house, but I have made a massive effort in their bedroom. Everything is super organised and accessible. Every night I tidy and vacuum it before they go to sleep smile

stargirl1701 Sat 24-Jan-15 13:25:17

We tidy up before sitting down at the table - morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and be for bed.

Toys must be tidied when finished with. So, it's ok to have the Brio train set and the Holztiger animals out together if they are being used but not a puzzle and the stacking cups if finished with the puzzle.

Have very few toys 'out'. Max 10 per child. Max. And, rotate as interests develop and wane. Toys in boxes in garage organised into themes across the age range.

So, Farm.

Farm animals, playmat, peg puzzle, jigsaw, books on farms, Brio farm train, farm Duplo, tractor and trailer, etc.

ninetynineonehundred Sat 24-Jan-15 13:27:27

Dd1 who is 4 tidies her bedroom everyday by putting everything from the floor onto the bed then sorting out the mess. It's just one area for her to do then.

I'm also not a natural housewife but am learning to do one thing in each room as I go around the house and she is picking that up from me (eg taking a plate to the kitchen)

She is also responsible for setting the table for dinner and taking drinks etc through

She started at about 18mths putting laundry in the dryer and I've slowly introduced more things. She can also make her own sandwiches for lunch and get dressed in the morning

Start with one small thing, eg hanging towels up and get them used to it before introducing the next one, or if they are older do a schedule of chores for the family.

Disclaimer... I wish my home looked as good as it sounds above wink

BackforGood Sat 24-Jan-15 14:24:47

Not sure I'm in a position to advise, as our house is full to the brim, and dcs' bedrooms in particular, are a tip
I think trying to deal with things as they come in helps, and having 'systems' and it would help if your dh thought the same - that's where my plan falls down.
So, for example, when the post comes in, I open the envelope, throw it away, throw away the leaflets, read the letter and either throw or shred that, or put it on my pile to take upstairs (where filing cabinet and computer are). dh, OTOH, will open it (say it's a bank statement) then put it on the side, with the envelope, with the leaflets, etc, and even leave it on a pile if it's junk mail. Little things but they add up.
Same with letters from school / cubs / dance / swimming / etc. - I've got a folder for each child. I read the letter - if it's a form that has to go back I fill it in then and put it in their scouts shirt pocket so it's not forgotten next week / school bag for next day. I put it on the calendar then and I file it in their folder, as I might need details from it when the camp/event is imminent.

With their clothes - I leave them to put their own clothes away - if they don't, it's them that looks crumpled, not me. Make it easy though, by having plastic boxes under the bed - say one for all you'd need to go to football training (boots, training top, kit, shin pads, base layers, gloves, etc), all the stuff they need for Scout camps, (roll mat, torch, warm hats, camp crockery and cutlery, etc.) lives in the bag they take to camp, on top of the wardrobe.

I agree about not having too many toys 'out' - put some stuff in the loft / garage and limit what's in their rooms or your living room - they then love the stuff when you get it out the loft in 6 months time.

At mealtimes, teach them all to clear their space + one other thing as they leave the table - straight into the dishwasher, and something shared also to be put away by them. It's not then a big job for one person to 'clear up' after meals - most is done.

Put stuff on stairs to go up and teach them to take something with them - this is hard work and involves lots of making them come back down and take stuff they've left, but is worth persevering with.

Sorry blush long post!
I think what I am saying is do as much as you can - and teach them to - so that they don't become a 'job', it's just 'as you are passing' stuff.

Zippidydoodah Sat 24-Jan-15 15:23:32

Stargirl- amazing! Are you a sahm? (Just being nosey!!) I often think I should theme the kids toys like they do in nurseries/schools but I'm just rubbish at getting round to stuff!

My dc are messy but our house is chaos; I'm on good housekeeping reading the decluttering threads blush

stargirl1701 Sat 24-Jan-15 17:01:41

No, I am a teacher. I am on may leave at the moment. I love organising though grin

stargirl1701 Sat 24-Jan-15 17:02:04

FFS. Mat leave. Not may leave.

honeybeeplusone Sat 24-Jan-15 17:14:56

I have started reading and following advice from Unfuck my habitat blog. There are some lists that helped me a lot to get more organised and the house is much less messy than it used to be. As I am picking up some useful habits I hope I will be able to pass them onto my kids.

Zippidydoodah Sat 24-Jan-15 17:20:47

Ha! Thought you might be! Me too grin

Have taken photos of my kids' toys to laminate and put on the storage drawers but haven't got round to it yet..... blush

Vivacia Sat 24-Jan-15 19:00:36

I think what helps us is, in order of importance,

1) Lead by example. Housework in our house is part-and-parcel of being prat of the household.

2) Start them young. We set the expectation that everyone gets involved from when they were tiny. When they're toddlers they all seem to actually want to clean. (Tidying never seemed to generate the same enthusiasm).

3) Have less stuff.

4) Have a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Starface Sat 24-Jan-15 19:28:54

Just dropping in to say that, although I don't have as many bairns myself yet, I do come from a large family and I applaud your efforts. It is important, but hard. I was perceived as fairly gross by uni fellows, and have had to learn many tidying/cleaning skills as an adult. My parents are very much good enough, but were frankly overwhelmed.

Personally I have recently been following the Marie kondo method, which I discovered via threads on here. It has been very successful for me so far, and quite revelatory and revolutionary regarding decluttering and tidiness. Her book, in combo with the threads here, are literally changing my life and my relationship to stuff. My home feels much better and daily tidying takes a matter of minutes. I do not get commission. It is not perfect. But it has been extremely helpful so far. I am about 1/3 of the way through her "life changing" Uber-tidy.

Based on my experiences I would recommend starting with your own relationship to stuff and the example you offer your children. As a long term comprehensive approach it must start there, imo. Not a quick tip I'm afraid.

Sorry. I will stop now. But I would recommend you check out the threads.

InternetFOREVER Sat 24-Jan-15 19:32:18

Starface I second the marie kondo recommendation! She makes exactly that point, that we need to learn how to tidy. My house is gradually getting there!

Starface Sat 24-Jan-15 19:40:33

Ps MK may help you with Vivacias points 1, 3 and 4. Its getting me there. She makes no reference to kids though so MN will help you fill that void.

Violettatrump Sat 24-Jan-15 20:49:22

I previously had a few tons of clutter and mess. Messy kids and always tidying but never getting anywhere. I read the Marie Kondo thread/book and voila, I am now utterly clutter free and the boys are learning to be tidy through my enthusiasm. Life is much simpler and so kids tidying/cleaning routines are much easier to stick to

Spincyclist Sat 24-Jan-15 23:02:50

A tip I picked up on here is to just tidy away 10 things. Even if you don't fancy it, just do it anyway. Do that a couple of times a day and that's 20 less things to deal with when you do the next big tidy. I reckon if DH also does some, and DC do 5 things each before they sit down to eat, or put the tv on, that will help. However last time I tried it, DS cleared up 5 bits of lego! So that plan needs a bit of tweaking.

DD is pretty good at her bedroom now. We've taught her to tidy away 5 things, then another 5, and so on until it's all done. She has a slot in her bedtime while I'm reading to DS, when she's meant to tidy. She strews stuff all over the house though.

I think I need to try BackforGood's tip on kitchen clearing. I struggle to empty the dishwasher though...

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