Keeping a tidy and organised home can be a challenge for any parent or foster carer, especially when there are young children in the house! Kids naturally love to play and explore their environment, which often means toys scattered everywhere and small messes around each corner. While it’s important to let kids be kids, maintaining some level of cleanliness and order can make the home environment calmer and more functional for the whole family. Here’s how you can achieve it.

Limit Clutter

One of the best things you can do is limit the amount of clutter in your home from the start. Try to avoid buying too many toys and unnecessary items. When relatives gift toys for birthdays and holidays, gently remind them you are trying to keep clutter minimal. Rotate toys by keeping some put away in storage and only leaving a few out at a time. This helps kids focus on playing with what they have, rather than being overwhelmed by options. 

Use Bins and Baskets

Make use of bins, baskets and storage containers to easily tidy up rooms. Have a basket or bin for toys in each room, which kids can dump toys into at clean-up time. If you’re fostering in Milton Keynes, the children in your care may need a special bin just for their own toys. Extra storage bins and baskets can corral craft supplies, books, shoes by the door and other items that tend to collect. Just be sure the bins are easily accessible for kids to put items away independently.

Schedule Clean-Up Times

Get in the habit of scheduling clean-up times, especially before transitions in the day or leaving the house. Before meals, have the children stop playing and put toys away so you can all eat without distractions. Build in 10-15 minutes of clean-up time when getting ready to leave for school or appointments. Make tidying fun by setting a timer and challenging kids to beat the clock. Praise kids for cleaning up well. Foster children may need extra patience and positive encouragement to adopt these habits.

Make Chores Age-Appropriate

As kids grow, give them simple chores suited to their abilities. Toddlers can put toys in baskets. Preschoolers can dust with socks on their hands or wipe down surfaces. Primary school kids can help sort laundry by colours and put away their clean clothes. Tweens can vacuum, sweep floors or clean bathrooms with supervision. Split bigger jobs into smaller tasks foster kids can handle. Link chores to an allowance to motivate older kids. 

Last but not least, keep your expectations realistic. Some messiness is normal with kids! Focus on living in the home happily together.

Balancing a child’s need to play and explore with maintaining household order is tricky. But with these tips to declutter, establish routines and get kids actively involved in age-appropriate ways, you can create a home that’s clean and organised enough for family functionality while still delightfully “lived in” with the joyful signs of childhood.