20 June 2017

Getting through the clutter - ideas in getting your child to help

There are days when negative thoughts and the mess of the house gets on top of me.

The clutter in our house has been doing my head in for a while now. I try and get myself motivated and do a big clean up, but it seems once the girls are home from school and require food, drinks, or want to do craft or play with their toys, the mess returns again!! It drives me crazy.

My mantra at the moment!
I started decluttering (or minimalising) with a friend who is having a Facebook game where each day you are supposed to get rid of (or donate/recycle) a number of items...yesterday was my first day and I managed to get rid of 15 items. Today its 16 items! I mentioned the game to my girls who are excited to help Mummy!

I know if I can get on top of it, I'll have more time for myself and the girls. I will be less stressed (and less of a snappy Mum), or worried about having people over (lately I have been inviting people over, but letting them know there is a mess beforehand), and I will feel more calm when their is more free space and less mess.

Tidying up has become such a chore though, especially in getting the girls to tidy up after themselves.

Over the past few years I have been trying different things with the girls.

Making a list

Popette whinges when I ask her to tidy her room, she's like most 8 year olds I guess, and will spend a total of 5 minutes tidying then comes out announcing her room is tidy!...hahaha. She wants me to help her clean up her room, which usually consists of her looking at things and me doing the work. So now what I do is tell her a list of things to do or write them down for her, which she can easily follow.

Break it down into small jobs

I still help Cherub (5 1/2) clean up her room. The other night I mentioned that she needed to pick up her toys before bed, she had so much stuff on the floor I kept treading on her toys and was worried I may break something.

If I break down what she has to do (ie. Pick up all your teddies and put them in the box) she seems to be able to do it without too much help.

Creating a job board

Our magnetic job board which is on the fridge
We have resumed the girls jobs board, where they get a tick for each thing they do...for example, brushing teeth (twice a day - gets 1 tick), put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket (1 tick), packing up their toys/books and putting them away (1 tick), putting their clean clothes away (1 tick) etc.

When they get a large amount of ticks (total is up to Hubby & I to decide) they get $2 each. And a further $2 if they have brushed their teeth all week (an incentive to get them brushing!) $4 pocket money is pretty good I think!! We introduced a "second chance" tick, mainly for Popette who doesn't drink her water at school. To get her drinking her water, I said I'll rub a tick off the board, so if she hasn't drank her water or brush her teeth one day, she gets a "second chance", but it can only be used once!

Giving them a toy bag or basket

Another idea I am thinking of is to have a tote bag (it could be a Woolies green bag or basket) with their name on it, ie. "Cherub's things" which she then uses to collect her toys from the lounge room floor and takes it into her room.

Cherub doesn't play with just one thing at a time, she seems to play 2-3 different things, so at the moment we have her lego blocks, duplo blocks, teddies with plastic food, and monster trucks scattered throughout the lounge room. She always tells me, "but I'm tired"..."I want you to do it/help me", "There's too much..." etc...and the toys stay there another night. I'm hoping by having a bag it will help her carry it in her room, and not be so overwhelming for her.

Making it a game

A friend once mentioned make tidying up a game, see how quickly they can pick up their toys off the floor and if they can beat you or a timer.

Do you have tips or tricks in getting your kids to tidy their room and pack up after themselves?


  1. My daughter is also 8 and I had the same problem, I'd tell her to clean her room, she would, I'd check and be gobsmacked with the things she hadn't seen. I too wrote her a list that she could go through and things have definitely been better since then.

    1. That's great news! I hope it lasts for you :)

  2. I think it's a great idea getting kids to help clean up. Especially their rooms and the toyroom. That bookclub magazine comes out a little too frequently for my liking but we have a deal, if they'd like these books they need to work for it. This month was more expensive than normal, so I was pleased they realised this and asked Nanna & Pop if there was any extra jobs they could do to help. For a 6 & 5 year old I was very impressed. (They also told our bus driver the plan and told them "Mummy doesn't have enough money to buy all the books we want!") lol!! I'm with you on the decluttering. I need to do more - I love Peter Walsh on The Living Room - he's so inspiring to get it done ;) #teamIBOT

  3. So good that the girls are helping. I do think it's the age/stage, or maybe I am in denial?? Haha But it's the same story here. I like the idea of getting rid of a certain number of items each day/week. I use the timer when I need them to help clean up. I let them help set the timer on my phone for 10 minutes and will all see how much we can do before it goes off! Elisa x


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