"If you have young kids, expect your home to be messy at all times". This is what my mom used to tell me when I just became a new mom. It is true and for more parents seeing a messy home cause them more stress than ever.
My kids are a 3 and a 5 year old. And yes, my house is messy in that corner and here. It is never clean as long as the kids are awake and playing. However, I have learned how to teach my kids to clean up and pack away their things and toys. At their age now, I can say that they are pretty good in neating up the house when it's time for them to do it.
Teaching kids to clean up and pack away their toys should start at a very young age. Even a one year old kid can find putting toys in a box still like a play; something that gives enjoyment and fun. When the kids are a bit older to understand what cleaning up is really all about, it is easier for them to do it and it almost becomes automatic to them that they need to pick their mess once mommy says so.
Here are some guidelines to train kids to clean up their mess:
Let the kids keep their toys in a box or container that is readily accessible to them. The box should be easy to open and close. It can also be a toy drawer which the kids can easily open slide and close.
Ask the kids to clean up or pick their toys in one area of the house where they were playing before they shift to another location in the house and bring out more mess. This is to avoid build up of mess all over your house which will be more difficult to clean later on.
Make cleaning time fun time. You can sing a pack-away song with the kids while they pick up their toys and put them away. Try to involve yourself as well in picking up their toys once in a while. This will make the kids feel that packing away their toys is a fun activity with mom and need not be treated like a burdensome chore for them.
Always make sure to speak to the kids with a happy voice when asking them to do the tidying up.
Praise the kids as well when the task is done. Kids need to feel that they are appreciated and that they have accomplished something that mom is surely proud of.