As parents, we want to treasure every moment of our child’s development. From the moment we first hold them in our arms we know that our lives (and brain chemistry) are fundamentally changed forever. All the things that used to stress you out or cause you anxiety suddenly seem meaningless. And all that matters is the tiny, fragile, beautiful little thing in front of you.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that parenthood is a constant parade of smiles and sunshine. As hard as we try to create happy memories at home with our children, there’s also more than our fair share of tears, tantrums, exasperation and screamed profanities… and that’s just from the parents! As soon as our little ones get from waddling to toddling, our children seem to have a whole new agenda. To create as much mess and chaos as possible in a short space of time. Here’s how you prevent your home from being trashed and your patience from going out of the window…
Understand the reasons why toddlers make so much mess
It’s all too easy to lose our temper when our children wreak havoc on our homes. However, it’s important to remember why this is happening. It’s not necessarily because our little ones are being naughty or acting out. It’s just that they can’t control their curiosity with how the world works. They’re starting to understand how new things around the home look, feel and taste for the first time. They’re also developing a tentative relationship with cause and effect. As infuriating as it might be to see them crush their pasta in their hand or tip the contents of their fruit bowl onto the carpet, they think it’s both delightful and hilarious that their actions have consequences that they can see.
So try not to take it personally, and there’s less chance of being exasperated.
Invest in a wipe-clean home
Toddlers and carpets and soft upholstery are a no-no. The more of your home can be wiped clean the better. Solid wood flooring, for instance, can take anything that even the most rambunctious toddler can throw at it, and is easy to wipe clean. Vinyl or leather furniture is also easy to clean when spills occur, but if you’re not keen on the look or feel, perhaps invest in a removable sofa cover that you can quickly strip off and throw in the washing machine.
Keep contents of drawers out of reach
Toddlers find the concept of drawers fascinating. Particularly the concept of removing things from them and scattering them all over the floor. However, because this is few parents’ idea of fun, invest in child locks for your drawers to prevent little ones from making a mess, or from potential injury.
Introduce the concept of clean-ups
Finally, kids are never too young to learn that they need to take responsibility for their actions. You need to support them in discovering the concept of cleanups. The more you rush around cleaning up after them, the more problems you’ll encounter. By all means help by giving them their own paper towel with which to wipe up spills, or how to place dirty clothes in the laundry hamper and give praise when it’s done well. But little ones need to master the art of cleaning up after themselves.
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