I hate it when mommas say, “They are too young to do that!” Hate is a strong word, I know, but this is true for me. Can I say, a few months old is too young, but 2 years old is not too young!!!! I know that my ways are not the best ways for you, but I must caution us to stop using that line as an excuse for our messy homes. Our children are not too young to pick up their toys and clean up the messes they created. If they are old enough to make the messes, they can help clean them. Now, I’m not talking about the 2 month old who makes a mess of their diaper and clothes, carseat, and such. But, the 1 year old who throws a fit and unwraps the entire tp roll all over the floor CAN and MUST be taught to help clean it up. As they are little you can assist as a parent, but don’t use the excuse that they are too young, please! Teach them from the time they can get toys from their toy bin how to put them in when they are done.Here are a few suggestions that I hope you can get something from to help you out.
Toys: I am so thankful for my momma's training in this and many other areas. I was taught from as soon as I was able to throw a toy down and pick a different one up to put the other toy away. Obviously with some help, of course, but Brian and I have taught our little ones to do just the same. Ella is just now 8 months and she is able to help put the toys back with some assistance from one of us. It’s important that we start teaching our children at a young age that this is their home too, and they need to help take care of it. No, they won’t understand that concept, but they will learn young and realize that this is what they are supposed to do.
Organize: I believe some parents could help themselves by getting certain bins and helping their little ones organize their toys. We have helped our children find a place for every toy and they know exactly where to put it when they are through with it. As an example, my girls have a tub for kitchen stuff, princess dressup, barbies, polly pocket, horses, and two shelves for all their doll house stuff.
Purge: It helps too to weed through the toys often. We have always had the rule that if they get a new toy they give one to someone who needs toys or we send it to Goodwill. This has eliminated having too much to keep in order and clean. They actually look forward to this process now, and love picking out the old toy that they get to give away. Lately, we have been taking them to a clothing closet that has been a blessing to us in the past.
Rules: We have a rule that the kids can only play with one toy set at a time. Meaning: they cannot play with the barbies, polly-pockets, and cars all at the same time. I firmly believe this instills in them a better imagination because they have to work at enjoying and playing with that particular set without tripping on and getting frustrated at a bazillion other toys scattered around.
(Sunday night is a bit of an exception especially with the number of kids here---they all do great though at picking it all up before their friends go home)
Again, this may not work for you, but it does for us, and it is a huge relief to know that I don't have to worry about cleaning up their rooms, because they are usually very clean. Starting young is the key, and I give kuddos to my momma for reminding me of that even when Andrew was 8 months old!
Our kids make their beds (Madelynn too, and has since she was about one) You may say, "Slave driver!" Nope, I don't believe so. Since they were little they had to straighten their pillows and blankets. It is a great time to teach them responsibility. Andrew (7) and Chloe (5) currently make their beds better than I would have at times! There are mornings they ask mommy to help them and it is fun to do it with them, but they do it without being told to now.
Each of the kids have morning or daily "chores" Some they do include: emptying the dishwasher, empty dryer, put dirty clothes in washer and pour soap in, sweep, vacuum, dust, wash floors, take out trash, get mail, and the list can go on. Andrew loves to wash the baseboards and currently does all of them once a week. Chloe is my organizer and organizes her clothes and Maddies once a week too. They do a great job and they love doing it. I know, for now I am lucky, because maybe that will change when they are older, but I am praying that if mommy makes work fun, that fun while working will NEVER change!
We host a young couples dinner after every Sunday night along with a luncheon with about 8 college students every Sunday afternoon. I typically have 1 unannounced visitor a week and often have others pop in or ask to stop over! I love it, and I know that it is only the Lord that allows me to have these opportunities. But, when I keep up throughout the week, I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off on Saturday. Typically, Saturday consists of a family day and a quick meal preparation for Sunday. Sometimes Sunday morning gets a bit full of frenzy, but it’s usually not home cleaning related. It’s more kid and getting ready related.
So, I know everyone's lives are crazy, and I am not currently home-schooling. but, I stay busy with carpooling, grocery shopping, errands, doctor's appointments, cleaning jobs in Charlotte, and you know the rest. I do not say that to brag or say I am super woman, because I am not! But, I say that to encourage you that your home is your Ministry! I cannot take credit for my home or how it looks, but I can give credit to the Lord for giving me a godly momma who taught me the importance to manage my home in such a way that I can someday be a blessing to a weary soul or bring glory to the Lord by being hospitable!
It may seem like a crazy schedule, but I don't have a schedule. I just clean the quick things up now by habit, and I don't feel like it is a chore. Enjoy your home this week, and I hope you may find a few helpful tips from the last few posts to getting your home in order for a "pop-in" visitor or maybe your weary, hardworking- husband! Thanks for stopping by this week.
P.S. My home is not ship-shape 24/7 just fyi! I have tough days too!