Marie’s Tips for Tidying with Kids — Most of the Time
When I first became a mother, I felt frustrated when I couldn’t tidy my home exactly the way I wanted. Then, I had two more children, and I found I didn’t even have the energy to consider some of my former practices around the house!
With this in mind, here are some tips that help me keep my home in order with two young children.
Motherhood has taught me to be more forgiving of myself. The joy that comes from parenting exceeds any satisfaction that could have come from a perfectly neat home. My children also remind me that our lives can shift daily (if not every minute) — and that the best we can do is honor where we are in the present moment.
So, my home is messier now and for the foreseeable future. But here are some techniques I use to keep my home mostly in order with three young children. I hope they help you!
Narrate as You Tidy
As you tidy, explain to your children what you’re doing so they can learn from you. Try to convey that tidying is part of maintaining a comfortable home and joy-sparking life . If they see their parents tidying regularly with a smile, children will think of tidying as a positive everyday activity.
“First, you must be forgiving of yourself. The joys of parenting transcend a perfectly neat home. Then try these four tactics…”
Make Tidying Playful
Show your children that tidying and playing go together. When children are around one year old and can begin to walk, encourage them to put their belongings away after play.
Give Everything a Home
Children’s toys seem to multiply and quickly become scattered throughout the house. Designate a set location where each of these toys will be kept and make sure your children are aware of where their toys belong. Then they can assist you with putting away their own toys. That said, sometimes toys won’t make it back right away! Our children are growing so fast, I sense that I will miss those toys when they’re gone.
“That is what the KonMari way is for me these days: a kind of wabi-sabi, a perfectly imperfect life. That’s my kurashi. ”
Respect Spatial Limitations
Once you establish a place for your children’s belongings, you can see the finite space that you have to accommodate new toys – or practical things like wipes and diapers. Recognizing that this space is limited will keep your home from being overtaken by your children’s belongings.
Of course, on some days, encouraging my children to tidy can feel like a losing battle. Rather than getting frustrated with them or attempting to tidy up after them throughout the day, I remind myself that I’d rather spend my energy on them. Sometimes, I’ll wait until they’re asleep, then clean up in one shot. It usually only takes ten minutes or so because everything we own already has a designated home. That is what the KonMari way is for me these days: a kind of wabi-sabi, perfectly imperfect life. That’s my kurashi.