Clobber the Clutter with Kids

Updated on October 15, 2012
My sister's playroom for her kids
My sister's playroom for her kids | Source

The endless battle:

How to keep your home clean when you have young children, that is the question (and it's a darn good one). Luckily, there is an answer!

The battle between a clean home and the child's desire to have fun has been going on for ages. So what can you do to keep your house clean when you have efficient mess makers running a muck? Those wild little tornadoes that seem to be able to undo your hard work in a fraction of the time it took you to get it all put back together are experts at pressing that last cleaning nerve.

Look no further. Help is here! With these fabulous tips and tricks you'll not only have a cleaner house, you'll have helpers to keep it that way!

Source

Step 1: Get Organized!

When a child knows where things go they are more likely to put it back! The easiest way to do this is by separating your toys into sections. Keep your child's toys on shelves or in bins to help with this. You could just shove everything in a big toy-box or stuff it all under the bed, but that wouldn't help keep your child's toys in good working order or prevent them from being lost or broken.

Label your shelves and/or totes clearly with what belongs in (or on) them. You can clip pictures from magazines, print some off the computer, or draw your own. As long as your child can identify what the picture it and it matches. For an educational bonus, print or type the words to go under the picture. This will help with word recognition. Examples of shelf or bin labels includes:

  • Dolls
  • Cars
  • Dinosaurs
  • Blocks
  • Ponies

By placing a photo of the toy type for each bin, your child can look and identify where it goes. There is no overwhelming confusion. Your child will know exactly where the toy goes when it is done being played with.

Step 2: Rules to Play by

One of the best rules that parents can learn from school, preschool, or daycare environments is the "one toy at a time" rule. Clear and simple: You play with one toy at a time, put it away before you take out a new one.

This is a tricky one to get started, especially if it's new to you and your child. The argument may (or should I say will) come up "But I want to play with my dolls and my ponies" or "But I want to play with my cars and my blocks". It's perfectly acceptable to let your child play with more than one thing at a time, as long as he/she knows that before any new toys come out, those ones get put back.

It is a shift between the "dump and run" style of playing, to a more organized style. By picking up the toys they are finished with before taking out new ones, there is more room for them to keep playing and having fun!

Step 3: Make Cleaning Up a Game!

When it's time to clean up it doesn't have to be the end of the fun. In fact, the more fun cleaning up is, the more often your child will want to do it. You might even catch your child cleaning when you didn't even ask! Why? Because it isn't a "chore" anymore, it's a game!

When cleaning up blocks you could try things like:

  • Can you find all of the red ones first? Great! Now how about all of the yellow ones?
  • How many blocks can you pick up before I finish singing the ABC's? Ready, set, go!
  • I see four blue blocks, can you find all four of them?
  • Let's find all of the square blocks first! Can you find any square blocks?
  • I'm going to close my eyes and count to 10, I bet you can't find 10 blocks before I'm finished counting. Ready, set, go! You did it! Let's do it again and see how many you find this time.

My clean room check list for my kids
My clean room check list for my kids | Source

Step 4: Make a checklist

Create a checklist for your child so they know exactly what is expected of them when you utter the ultra scary, overwhelming words... "Clean your room".

Checklists are a great way to help your child succeed in cleaning up after themselves. They can gauge their progress with each little check or X they put on the finished tasks. It also gives them the freedom to decide which thing they want to do first or last. Checklists are very empowering little buggers. Kids love them (parents do too).

For more detailed instructions on how to create and use a checklist, check out:

Help Your Child Succeed With A Clean Room Checklist

Step 5: Expand the Horizon

Getting your child to help pick up his/her own toys or room is just the beginning! Don't limit yourself. Children love to pitch in and help around the house when it is presented in a fun manner. Get creative.

For chores around the house (other than their bedroom or playroom) try these nifty little ideas:

  • Put chores on small pieces of paper and let them draw it out of a hat or bag.
  • Create a reward chart so they can work toward earning a special privilege.
  • Have the sink ready with hot, soapy water so they can wash their dishes after finishing a meal (or rinse it off so it can go in the dishwasher).
  • Make an apron with their name on it that they can wear while cleaning. Dress up is fun!
  • Have a race to see who can finish their chore first.
  • Put on some fun music; dance and sing while doing chores together.

The possibilities are endless. The key ingredient to getting any child to want to help clean and/or pick up after themselves is to have fun.

Source

Extra (sneaky) Trick:

Children have fantastic imaginations and love to play make believe games. You can use this to your advantage. After you've finished getting any room in the house just the way you want it, tell the kids you're playing a game. The goal of the game is to keep the room as clean as possible for as long as possible. If you mess the room up, you lose. If you keep the room clean for the rest of the day, you win!

Pretend that you're royalty. Encourage the kids to dress up if they like doing that sort of thing. You're in a palace and you're awaiting the arrival of a very important guest who judges castles! You really want to win the judging contest.

Now, the kids are all in on this game. They are walking around with their pinkies in the air, talking in goofy accents, pretending to be snooty princesses and/or princes. Slip away and change into something ridiculous. Put on your best snooty voice and announce that you are the judge who has come to look at the palace.

If there are things that are out of place, say "Oh, my my, I'm not sure about this. Prince Hawkaloogy had all of his books on the shelf facing the same way." Scribble something down in your imaginary notebook. (The kids will probably rush over to straighten the books).

Give a little sniff with your nose in the air, "No, no, no, this will never do. Princess Iwannasingasong had all of her couch pillows fluffed. Yes, they were very fluffy indeed."

At the end of the "judging" announce that you've made your decision and that this castle is by far the cleanest, most delightful one you've visited and that it has the most enchanting children you've ever met. Excuse yourself and return as yourself, then ask how the judging went. Ask the kids if they will tell you about it over "tea" ~ which could be anything you want to serve as a snack.... They will LOVE it!


Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

        Mom Kat 

        5 years ago from USA

        You're so right Lipnancy :)

        Even naturally messy or unorganized people have to admit that a cleaner environment just feels better. It relaxes the mind & body when you have a clean space.

        Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

      • Lipnancy profile image

        Nancy Yager 

        5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

        Great hub. Full of helpful suggestions for staying organized. I also helps the parents too by having a place to put everything.

      • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

        Mom Kat 

        6 years ago from USA

        My hubby likes to put on some music and dance while he's cleaning :)

        Thanks for your comment cam8510 ~ I'm working on a "clobber the clutter" adult's version this weekend. Hopefully I'll have it out tomorrow. I got a little side tracked with baking.

      • cam8510 profile image

        Chris Mills 

        6 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

        Well, my kids are 24 and 27. I am alone in the house and it is still a mess. Can you come up with some fun games to get me going like you did for the kids? haha good hub.

      • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

        Mom Kat 

        6 years ago from USA

        Thank you for your comment bridalletter. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub :) Sometimes when we know certain things & it becomes common place for us, we forget that not everyone knows it too. I've found that seems to be the case with much of what I've learned through my years of babysitting, being a nanny, going to school to become an Early Childhood Specialist, preschool teaching, & raising a big family... lol

        Just like other people with their "niche".

        Thanks again, I appreciate you stopping by! Have a great day.

      • bridalletter profile image

        Brenda Kyle 

        6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

        Really useful tips for moms and dads. I don't miss those days of toys all over a room. I know it is much easier for people that have a playroom and you just close the door when guests arrive. Kids over the past 15 years have too many toys. I think it is overwhelming for them when every toy is out. Perfect rule, one toy out at a time.

      • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

        Mom Kat 

        6 years ago from USA

        Thanks for sharing your story moonlake. I appreciate the comment. It's nice when you can just close the door & pretend the mess isn't there :)

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 

        6 years ago from America

        Great hub good ideas. Enjoyed reading. Very good information. We were lucky because we always had a playroom for the kids. If company came with kids they stayed in the playroom. Once company was gone they could play were they wanted. Our boys loved hot wheels and matchbox cars and had the tracks running all through the house. They had to pick-up after and put back in playroom. If the playroom was a mess I could just close the door.

      • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

        Mom Kat 

        6 years ago from USA

        Thanks justateacher! Your magic trash games sounds fun too. Thanks for stopping by :)

      • justateacher profile image

        LaDena Campbell 

        6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

        Great ideas! I have always tried to make a game of cleaning. In the classroom we play the "Magic Trash" game. I appoint an object on the floor as the magic trash (without telling the kids what it is) and then have the kids scramble to pick everything on the floor in hopes they find what I have designated. When the magic trash is "found" the student gets a "prize" either a sticker or a small piece of candy. The kids have fun and I get a clean room!

      • btrbell profile image

        Randi Benlulu 

        6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

        Thanks, I knew you'd say that! Have a great day! :)

      • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

        Mom Kat 

        6 years ago from USA

        @Gary ~ even at age 1 the picture labels are understandable. I worked at a daycare/preschool for 8 years & the 1 year olds were able to master this concept. Of course, they do need help staying focused :) I also have used this in my own home & all 6 of my kids were able to work with it at that age. Thanks for your comment & good luck.

        @btrbell ~ I'll get on that (just for you)

        :) have a great day, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      • btrbell profile image

        Randi Benlulu 

        6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

        Love it! Great ideas. I'm now waiting for the "Clobber the clutter"...10 years later! Thank you!

      • Gary Holdaway profile image

        Gary Holdaway 

        6 years ago from Sleaford, UK

        Very good tips and a very nice hub! My little one is a bit young to understand these rules yet though, she's only 1 :) I may label the boxes on shelves though, as it is a great idea for her to learn the words, and learn tidying up.

        She often helps us throw all of her toys back into the toy box though, it really is quite cute. Now is the best time I think for implementing that technique. Thank you, voted up!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)