Being a parent can grant all kinds of rewards. For some, teaching and nurturing their little ones can offer that fulfilling and contented feeling they always longed to feel. Watching them grow will never not be beautiful, fascinating and unbelievable all at the same time. The sense of pride at having muddled through every single day is a triumph in itself, and like anything in life: with the wonderful comes the challenging. One of them being… getting them to clean up after their mess!



It’s an overwhelming scene, taking in the entire day’s playtime chaos strewn across the nursery floor. Sometimes it can feel insurmountable and like a never ending task that needs revisiting over and over, but with these simple steps to achieving some order in the house, the idea of playtime mess will feel much less daunting by the time your little tykes are let loose to cause havoc all over again!



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Now, no single kid is the same, so how they respond may vary somewhat, but it’s important to keep your expectations realistic, anyhow. Here are some suggestions on how to give them a small nudge toward keeping things tidy in the home… Mess be gone!


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Teach them to clean up (and make it fun!)


Stay consistent with setting out some gentle rules around what is routinely done before leaving their play area. And if it doesn’t feel too rigid then it may be a good idea to introduce a set time everyday that signals when they should go back to unjumble the day’s fun and work their Cinderella magic. This also helps to instill good habits and attitudes around keeping things organised.


Make it lighthearted and actually fun (yes, you heard right) by whacking on some of their favourite tunes, raiding the dressing up drawer and getting into character! Small rewards can also play a big part in making it all feel worth it for them. Oh and lots of praise too; it’s an important life skill to get to grips with, after all, and they should hear just how brilliant you think they are for getting it done!


Limit the amount of toys they have to play with. There really is no need for an avalanche of toys everywhere and no floor in sight. It just adds to the workload, and besides, they’re just as happy with a select few favourites to enjoy playing with. Remember the time when your little one had hours of fun playing with the box their gift came in? Yep.



Like anything in life: with the wonderful comes the challenging…



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If you meet resistance


Take it easy on your first attempt, otherwise it’ll just overwhelm them –  especially if all this tidying up lark is a completely new concept to them! So maybe make a checklist of super straightforward tasks they can carry out to their own tempo (within reason!), and hang it on the wall to be ticked off or used as a star chart. Slowly but surely gets the job done.


(For older kids) Communication is key. It won’t always be easy and sometimes may even feel like more hassle than it’s worth: queue parents taking on the job themselves to avoid those imminent tantrums! But that’s all part and parcel of parent-child communication; they may even just want to do it their way, and sometimes not at all! But habits aren’t ingrained overnight and before you know it they’ll be picking up after themselves without even thinking.


(For younger kids) Give them space to learn at their own pace. Again, you may just think things would get done a lot quicker if you tackled them yourself but this is an integral learning curve for your kiddos. They’ll stack those paint pots using strategies you can’t quite fathom but they’re invested and intent on getting the job done, so let them be and feel proud of the progress they are making.



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Easy Peasy Storage


Because tucking away an afternoon of mayhem really is as simple as that. No time at all is required for gathering the offenders (Woody, Buzz: we’re looking at you) in one fell swoop and slinging them into a stack of amply built storage space that’s both easy to hide away and easy on the eye.


Make it part of the kids’ bedroom/nursery theme with whimsical animal woven baskets, personalised boxes or storage pockets used to fold away things like cards, drawings, books, and stationery.


Masquerade it as thoughtfully placed furniture with wheeled carts, pouffes, sofas and stools with lids.



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