I almost wrote “hate” but that seemed too strong a word. I don’t hate anything these days. I’m just happy to be here. But … how is it that my kid can make such a large mess in so little time? This weekend my daughter left a trail everywhere she went … and it’s like pulling teeth to get her to clean up after herself.
Last week I wrote a post about some drama that surrounded the idea of holding your kid’s stuff ransom if they left it out (Why I’ll Never Tell You How To Parent). This was a lesson for me that 1. people can find drama in anything … and … 2. I can find humor in anything. I thought the “ransom bin” was a great idea … but I guess some people didn’t. One of the arguments was that holding a child’s stuff for ransom was “stealing” from the child. I’m of the philosophy that everything in our house is mine, except for maybe some artwork my daughter created … tough luck kiddo … because I paid for it all. But every parent has their own opinion and I can see the other side of it. I’m good with that.
What I did realize though through all of it is that if I get overwhelmed with cleaning up after myself … and overwhelmed with getting everything back in the right place … my five-year-old daughter probably gets overwhelmed with it too. I thought she needed some tools to help her clean up. Here’s what is working for us right now:
She has two bins that sit out (and are easily put away out of sight when needed): One bin is for all her trinkets and supplies. The other bin is for her papers, books and projects she’s currently into.
I picked these two up from Home Depot and they are the perfect size without becoming intrusive. I’ve found that if she has a laid out plan to collect all of her stuff she’s been playing with … it’s much easier on both of us. It’s also an easy way to manage expectations: Your mission: Put all the crap that’s laying around the living room … into these two bins.
So how do I get all of MY crap back into place? Pretty much the same way. I have a large basket that that I use to collect clothing, brushes, new purchases, trinkets etc … and then every few days I spend an hour returning everything to it’s place. I do the same with my daughters bins … once a week we sort through it together (and sometimes I secretly “purge” things) to return things to “their home” so that she has room for new stuff.
So, would you hold your kids toys for ransom? What’s your best tip for helping your kids clean up (apart from donating it all)?
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