Monday, 24 September 2012

Keep It Tidy Tip Number 1: Building Routines Into Family Life...


As anyone who's ever had to look after children will tell you, without tidying techniques the kiddiewinks will win the they-make-a-mess-and-you-tidy battle hands-down. I don't want to make out that our house is perfectly ordered at all times: it isn't....but I do want you to know that there are ways to make your life much easier when it comes to keeping on top of the messiness that family life brings....shoes, bags, dirty laundry, toys, books, games, wet towels......the list goes on and on, doesn't it?

Images via BBC

When we first started having children, I soon realised that, unless I wanted to spend my entire life either picking up after the family, or feeling miserable at the mess that might ensue if I didn't, I needed to make sure everyone got in on the act so that keeping our home shipshape became a family job. 

Image via Health

A key part of helping our family run smoothly is building in tidying routines. One of the spin-off benefits, aside from the security of the same-ness that routines build into our children's lives, is that it makes it much less stressful to keep on top of the mess that children seem to magically breed wherever they go.

So, my first tip for keeping on top of children's chaos is this:

Don't Try To Do It On Your Own

Get everyone to help as part of the daily routine....so, for example, when we have our evening meal together, I cook, and the others take it in turns to lay the table, clear the table, load the dishwasher and wipe the surfaces. It works so well, even littlies can get in on the act. When patterns are established for every day, there's never ever moaning. It just becomes part of their world, which makes your job MUCH easier....with more time for the best bits like cuddling and playing and baking and reading together...living the full pleasures of Modern Country life.

Image via: Frugal Law Student

Think about stressful times of your day and see whether building in a routine could help, whether that's first thing after school or bath-time....and do let us know how you get on...

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18 comments :

Anita said...

Sarah, with three kids, I can relate! I have not been successful in getting them to help out consistently, but you've inspired me to try again:-)

Susan T said...

That is where I went wrong in the first place, never expecting my children to either help or clean up after them. Granted I only have two, so it makes the task a little less arduous.

I am working on it though, my daughter often makes lunch and does keep her room clean and tidy, mind you she is 23!. As for my son I think I will draw a veil over that subject.

Ariella said...

We've always encouraged the children to help from an early age. The older three now have a chore chart and they are expected to tidy their rooms, keep the shoe rack tidy, help with washing and drying dishes and ensuring their playcabin is clean.
They are also responsible for putting their own washing in the laundry, helping to feed and clean the pets and one always volunteers to lay the table while I dish up.

To be honest, even with them doing those jobs I still moan and nag them to clean up and nit-pick at their rooms, but I'm a great believer in getting kids up and actively involved with the running of the home. Otherwise I dread to think what their own homes will be like in the future!! ;-)

Stephanie said...

I have a terrible habit of waiting until the house is destroyed before cleaning it. And then I'm a mad woman cleaning for an entire day. Then I think about how I'm going to pick up a little every day so it doesn't get so messy, but I never do. : )

Meera @ firstsense said...

Ha, I foresee that lego mess imminent! I'm going to be taking notes here, Sarah! Baby no.1 has already started taking over the house and baby's not even born yet!! Only a few more weeks to go though and we can't wait, so excited!!

Hugs,
Meera xx

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I love this simple plan. And "tidying" is a lovely British word. It makes it sound more fun.

Fondly,
Glenda

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Sarah,

I do not have kids but I could not agree with you more, one has to enlist the kiddies from an early age otherwise you will be run down and run aground.

I always make my nieces and nephew help clean up, as do their parents...it makes a great foundation for life.

Have a wonderful week, Elizabeth

Happy Homemaker UK said...

We do have some routines established, but we could always do more. I am so excited about this series!

ImSoVintage said...

It is definitely best to start them young, but it is never too late to get them in the habit of helping. You may just hear more moaning and whining when you start them later. :)

Simply Scandinavian said...

I agree, I am also a sucker for neat box's, baskets or whatever to keep things in! making them put things in the correct container is important as it trains them to have order as well as being tidy. It does work!
Cx

Cathy (aka Catherine) and Bill (aka William) said...

Oh my! What a mountain of Lego! My son would have been in heaven.

Yes, we too established a play/tidy routine although my friend Jenny who had two wild little boys always was so successful in making them think this was part of the fun. Me, not so much:( Oh well... now my son is 28 and shares a house with 2 guys and a girl and my son is the one who always establishes the chore routines for everyone! I don't take the credit for that but it sure warms the cockles of mum's heart! :) love to you and all your sweeties! <3 Cath

Cathy (aka Catherine) and Bill (aka William) said...

OK tthat <3 was supposed to show up as a heart... hmmmm

The Snowdrop Project said...

Hi Sarah,
We are over the Lego stage, it's now piles of trainers!
I've tried, I really have, but find that shouting helps now!!
Saying that, I've got two great boys who help......sometimes!!
Have a lovely day,
Lizx

chris said...

Clear and happy advice...and p.s. my kids loved that lego picture!

Valerie@chateaualamode.typepad.com said...

Hey where was this post when my kiddies were little?! I never had them used to helping very well ;) My kids are good at helping when I really need them to so I won't complain. Hope you're doing well!
xoxo

Robynne's Nest said...

Hey Sarah, I agree with you...a system is needed with regards to children's mess...and sometime it's hard to find that happy medium that doesn't drive the entire family nuts and is easy to live with. Good luck! Robx
p.s. really looking forward to meeting you next week...perhaps I'd better get my hair done!!

Seaweed and Raine said...

We started adding 'chores' to the boys' routines, but then I had a baby and it rather fell by the wayside. I MUST try again. Perhaps I shall have a 'round table' with them and discuss what they think are good things for them to do.

Abby said...

Great post! Mine are too little to be much help, but we are working on it!

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