We often hear that a messy home is a happy home.
A messy home portrays a cool mom, who is living in the moment and enjoying her kids. She’s fun and laid back.
On the other hand, a tidy home is often associated with a clean freak, type A, burnt out mama who does all of the housework solo.
But what if I told you that both of these narratives are off.
The first makes a messy home sound like a mom’s dream, but leaves out the negative consequences for kids. The latter, while having a great end result, makes mama sound like a cleaning czar.
So how do we strike a balance and why is it important to do so?
In this post, I touch on how an orderly home has the potential to help your kids in their best development. I also share an activity to help you get started in a way that gets the whole family involved.
BENEFITS OF AN ORDERLY & TIDY HOME
Order in the physical environment, as well as in routines & processes support children in their best mental and emotional development.
An orderly home has some pretty positive effects on kids, those being:
Helps kids orient and adapt to their environment. As adults, we know where everything is in the house and can access all the items we need. In an adult world, kids do not have this luxury. When we create an orderly and kid-friendly environment, children are then able to participate in the family life with more independence.
Supports more mental order and better behavior. Order in the physical environment, processes and routines creates internal mental order. When an environment is orderly, the brain is better able to organize and process information. In addition, an orderly environment is linked to better behavior in children. This article sums up in-depth research on these topics.
Helps kids learn valuable lessons. They will learn the importance of taking care of their space, possessions and being a part of the family life. They learn responsibility and accountability while building confidence and self-worth.
This all sounds fantastic, right?
So how do you know if your family could benefit from more order & organization?
SIGNS YOUR HOME NEEDS MORE ORDER
Below are some signs that you could benefit from more order at home and are definitely signs that the whole family (from your toddlers to teens) needs to be involved in the change.
Your kids are always asking for help, for items and/or yelling your name. Mom, can you get me a water. Mom, where is ____?
The toys are always left out on the floor, in the backyard or in the bedrooms. Anything the kids use ends up being left out, damaged or neglected. You find yourself cleaning up after the kids often. You catch yourself thinking they have so much and don’t appreciate their toys.
Your kids have difficulty with transitions. Why can’t the kids follow certain routines like other children I know. My kids have so much difficulty moving from one activity to the next like lunch to nap time. You feel like the success of transitions totally depends on your involvement.
So how do you go about making a change?
HOW TO CREATE MORE ORDER AT HOME WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY
Step 1. Change your mindset. You are not the cleaning lady. You need to get the whole family involved even if you are leading the charge.
Step 2. Know that change is a process. That means making changes slowly over the course of weeks and months. Work at it. Don’t give up.
Step 3. Choose one issue to address today. What is one issue that is happening in the physical environment that is driving you bonkers? Are the kids leaving their dirty clothes on the bathroom floor? Is the whole family piling dirty dishes by the sink?
Step 4. Decide how to implement the change. If you have little ones, you will decide on the change and the process. If you have older kids, you can brainstorm together. Brainstorming is a great way to empower young adults to get involved and show that you value their opinion. If the kids are leaving dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, is it because they can’t reach the hamper? Or is it as simple as explaining the process (and setting the expectation) of taking off dirty clothes and putting them straight into the hamper. If dirty dishes are piling by the sink, is it because your kids know you will do the dishes and the process has always been to leave them next to the sink? Is it as simple as having one of the kids do the dishes in the afternoon and that is a chore that rotates each day? Or having a tub with warm water and soap so the dishes can soak?
Step 5. Make the change and be consistent. If you want change to happen then you need to be consistent. You can’t tell the family “we are making a change…” and then not follow up on it. If you do this, expect to have your kids not take you seriously and for changes going forward to be more difficult to implement. So what do you need to do to make sure your family is being consistent with the newly implemented change? Is it a chore chart that holds everyone accountable? Is it reminding the kids and setting expectations regularly until it becomes an accepted change in the routine?
Remember that while you may be leading the charge, it is your whole family’s responsibility to participate in your orderly home. It’s about knowing that an orderly home helps both you & and the kids, empowering & trusting your kids to do the work and being consistent in the change. Let’s change the “messy home vs. clean home” narrative and find balance for both moms & kids.
I would love to hear from you! How do you get the whole family involved in your orderly home?