5 Simple Steps To Create An Orderly Home

In a previous post, Orderly Homes Equal Orderly Brains I talked about preparing our homes to be places where children can learn. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

#1 Create a place for everything- When we lived for 6 months in a travel trailer while building a home in Mexico we functioned with the bare minimum of stuff, a basket of Duplos under a bed, basic schoolbooks. Children learn better in an environment with some open space, be vigilant about keeping stuff put away and teaching your children to do the same.

#2 Categorize toys- Have you ever seen a workbook page which asks your child to match up items which go together, for instance; banana, apple, orange, fork. Clearly the fork does not belong in this, the fruit category. When you categorize the toys in your home you are providing that same exercise in a more hands on way. Keeping each type of toy separated and instructing your children on where things go is key to intelligence. Jane Healy, in her book titled Your Child's Growing Mind says, "After years of studying young children's learning I am convinced that patterns are the key to intelligence. Patterning information really means organizing and associating new information with previously developed mental hooks....children who can see relationships (among things and ideas) and organize input at a sensory level seem to have an easier time organizing thoughts and ideas."
Categorizing and verbalizing the categories help build intelligence.

#3 Keep a minimum of furniture- If you have ever seen a catalog for children on the autistic spectrum you will know that sensory overload can occur in an overstimulating environment and that a white space can be used to calm a child down. It is easier to learn in a space that is open, bright and tidy. Children also need plenty of floor space to build puzzles and Lego cities, as well as creeping and crawling, two essential exercises for brain development.

#4 Keep your floor clean- A quick sweep or vacuum each day is sufficient, but keeping floors safe for young children to play on is important. Sand play, while important for brain development, shouldn't be done in the debris on your floor.

#5 When you buy toys, make them worthwhile- We use the verse from Philippians 4:18 which says, "Whatsoever things are pure, lovely and of good report, think on these things," as a guideline for buying toys. We try to stick to a few toys that are well made and lovely, such as Melissa and Doug puzzles, Playmobil, and for my little girl, the adorable Calico Critters, as well as musical instruments, art supplies and great books to keep our children occupied.

Getting our homes cleaned out and ready for learning can be accomplished, it is the maintenance that requires vigilance, window cleaning, dusting and vacuuming are ongoing chores, but with an orderly framework in place, it will be a manageable task.


All In A Day-What If My Children Won't Complete Their Chores

The beautiful thing about children and chores is that the more you work to establish good habits, the easier it is to enforce them. Chores are a good example. Several of my children are very automatic about making their beds, doing their scheduled dishes or clean up and keeping their things picked up. They have been doing the same things every day for a while now and they don't really have to think about it.
 I have found that most of my children balked with chores until about age 8, and it got steadily better after that. I have a thirteen year old son, who willingly, without being asked, string trims and mows the yard, tidies the house and vacuums the rooms. He also gets up in the morning and does his schoolwork quickly without a fuss. A few years ago that same child might have thrown a minor tantrum over a school subject or a chore. I am however, struggling right now with chores with my 10 and unders, but I believe that every day we are getting closer to that day when they begin doing their chores cheerfully without a fuss. Until we get there, I will continue to remind, reward or rebuke them as needed, trusting that the good work of being orderly and willing is being worked out in them and will in time be an overflow of their own good will toward the family as opposed to its current status of forced labor.

Now go see what the other All in a Day moms do:
Carrie @   Our Full House

Christi @  Ants on a Farm
Elizabeth @   Yes They're All Ours

Kathy @  Kathy Mom of Many

Kristy @   Homemaker's Cottage 

Lori @   Happy Busy Mama

Monica @   Natural Mama


Orderly Homes Equal Peaceful Homes

Today was not a day when my brain or my home was very orderly. My husband was working out of town, my oldest daughter drove herself two hours away in her newly purchased car to do CPR training for a camp she works at, and my next two were gone to perform and help at a play they are involved in. That left me home alone with four children, 10 and under and with a mind full of concerns for the older ones.

Now if it had been my first four it would have been a different story. I am pretty sure that Emelie could make dinner, do the dishes and put every one to bed at ten years old, but my current ten year old is a little different, partly due to my more relaxed training and partly due to being his intelligent, yet slightly egocentric boyish self. The real fault however, in how erratic my day was, lies not with my children, but with me. Having a brain full of the many different activities and duties involved with a largish family with a big age span meant that I was not fully here today. I was distracted from really training and directing my young children by my busy mind that was trying to accomplish more than was really sensible or wise. Taking care of our injured dog, getting quotes for a kitchen remodel, cleaning bathrooms, string trimming, watering plants, planting plants, cleaning the kitchen, juicing oranges and sorting out schoolwork are just a few of the activities I was involved with today. How peaceful it suddenly became this afternoon and how the strife and raised voices ceased when I finally put aside all the chores and chose to direct my children. The babies were bathed while I cleaned the bathroom and had the ten year old doing dishes. The dog was cared for under my supervision while the 8 year old cleared the dining room. I switched gears from doing my own thing, while they did theirs, to a different approach of guiding them in helping me with the chores with the reward to follow of a game played together.

The best part was when I held my two big-little boys on my lap and chatted about the day. Being home with young children can be very intense, we all have other things to think about that distract us and pull us away from guiding them, but peace in the home is obtainable and a big key to that peace is being content to direct our children and work with them as we seek to point them towards the Lord Jesus, the true Prince of Peace.