How Can I Teach My Bonus Kids to Be More Organized (So They Don't Become a Bad Influence on My Other Kids)?

QUESTION:

"Hi! My husband and I have a 3-year-old and a newborn, then my husband has a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old.

Generally, when my bonus kids are at their mom’s, our 3-year-old cleans up her messes, but when her brothers are here, they don’t clean and tear everything out of its place because my husband doesn’t have them clean as they go, and when I do tell them to clean, they throw everything in wrong boxes or shove them between boxes and the wall…

I don’t want our daughter to absorb this behavior… Usually, they are a lot better by the time they are leaving but when they come back from their mom’s, we have to teach them all over again…

How can I teach them to stay organized or put their toys away as they go and put them in the right place instead of shoving them away? My husband doesn’t like it when I take toys away that don’t get cleaned up. I obviously don’t expect them to be perfect but I want them to start learning… Any advice?"

RELATED QUESTION: Needing Organization Ideas!

TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“Unless dad gets on board, nothing will change.”

“By what you said, you know how to teach them so do so. Bonus kids are your kids so they are all on the same level. Don’t treat them differently; they will love you for it.”

“That’s gonna be hard for them. No cleaning at mom’s and then cleaning up as you go AND everything in a specific place and box to SM standards, that’s rough. Get them a toybox to throw everything in and let them clean their own room and shut their bedroom door.”

“Maybe have certain things sorted into boxes and let them only have 1 at a time and they can’t get another one with something different until everything in the 1st one is put up.”

“I have seen where people have printed out pictures to put on the totes of what is supposed to the inside of it, maybe this could help! Example: picture of a Barbie on the container the Barbies go into.”

“If they are still cleaning up but putting things in the wrong place, I wouldn’t worry too much, put stickers or labels on what should be going where so it’s easier for them to remember. It can be hard when they’re going between the two different houses with different rules and toys. Help them make it easier!”

“Kids are smart and flexible. They can learn easily that there are different sets of rules at different houses. Just teach them like you did your daughter and they will eventually get that when they come to Dad’s house this is how the rules are.”

“I literally gave my bonus kids numerous chances. Then, when they refused to follow my rules, I stripped their rooms. I picked out 5 outfits for each and put the rest in the shed. Then I went through their toys and left 5 or 6 for each kid. If they want it back, they earn it. Mine at 10 and 9 though.”

“I had this problem and it was one of many reasons the relationship ended. If you and hubby don’t get on the same page, it will get worse when kids get older. It’s better to home train them now. It’s hard when they’re only home trained at your house and not at their mom’s. When kids get older, you will notice this more on other things besides organization. Good luck.”

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21 Likes

Take it one day at a time. My 2 year old can clean her toys up perfectly, but when my 4 year old comes back from her dad’s, they completely trash their toys and it takes a couple of times of showing them how to clean up, because my 4 year old just throws her toys in the makeshift closet/toybox whereas at my house, toys go in certain spots. Keep showing and teaching. And praise the heck out of them when they do it, even if it’s one time a day.

3 Likes

Unless dad gets on board, nothing will change :woman_shrugging:t4:

21 Likes

Remind them it takes longer to do it twice then it does to-do it correctly the 1st time.

3 Likes

maybe try to make a game out of it whoever cleans the fastest and correctly gets a reward?

3 Likes

That’s gonna be hard for them. No cleaning at mom’s and then cleaning up as you go AND everything in a specific place and box to SM standards, that’s rough. Get them a toybox to throw everything in and let them clean their own room and shut their bedroom door.

6 Likes

Dad needs to step up.

2 Likes

Good luck iv been trying to do it with my 8 and 3 yo lol but i do remind everytime it woulda been quicker to clean the right way the first time :rofl:

By what you said you know how to teach them so do… Bonus kids are your kids so they are all on same level … don’t treat them different … they will love you for it …

6 Likes

Ahhh, the classic my kids are perfect, it’s all the step kids fault :roll_eyes: just admit you don’t like them.

25 Likes

Dad doesn’t get to be upset w a punishment if he’s not gonna help scold them. My kids have fits too but my 4yo bonus daughter knows. Like if I say it’s clean up time and she starts huffing and puffing I call her over to me and ask “what do we do after we make a mess?” She rolls her eyes about it but she says “we clean it up.” Like yeah so nothing’s changed here that’s still the rule get to it lol. Especially since the play room is our 2yo son’s room we don’t go into someone else’s room and leave a mess.

1 Like

My mom took all are toys and hide them and said I through them out

1 Like

Maybe have certain things sorted into boxes and let them only have 1 at a time and they can’t get another one with something different until everything in the 1st one is put up.

4 Likes

When my daughter mixed her books and shoes with her toys I dumped everything out and had her do it again and she hasn’t done it since. She would do it on purpose because it was quicker or whatever and I got tired of telling and showing her so one day I just dumped her toy box out and said now we can do it again and I watched as she did it if she wasn’t sure she would look at me and ask if that’s where it went and I would tell her toys in the toy box books in the crate shoes in the basket. Now we have no problems for the most part sometimes she likes to be spiteful and say I’m not doing it the right way. I just remind her she’ll have to do it again

2 Likes

They’re boys? :grimacing: Best off luck.

Our rules are, as long as they’re away and hidden they’re good to go.

A game if not. I have dumped the toy boxes and made them start over. But I gave up on clean as you go bc he doesn’t have to at moms. So its the end of the night clean up. Sometimes you just have to let kids be kids. Keep in mind that they are still little and right now its a lot to remember the different rules.

2 Likes

I literally gave my bonus kids numerous chances. Then, when they refused to follow my rules, I stripped their rooms. I picked out 5 outfits for each and put the rest in the shed. Then I went through their toys and left 5 or 6 for each kid. If they want it back, they earn it. Mine at 10 and 9 though.

2 Likes

Reward/chore chart and good behavior is rewarded with a sticker that can lead up to a special outing (ice cream) or fun thing they can earn or do while they are with you. Remind them of the reward for good behavior the minute they walk in the door. Include your 3 y/o too and have them earn stickers and rewards too when their half-siblings aren’t there too so that the older kids see that good behavior and assistance with chores and keeping things tidy is rewarded. No compliance, no reward.

1 Like

They are all still fairly young. Maybe you can incorporate a game or the “clean up song” to make the chore of cleaning more fun or perhaps you can set up a different storage system/toy bin to make cleaning easier for ALL of the children. If there is a good relationship with their mom, maybe you two can communicate to see what methods are used while they are in her care.

Seriously boys are rarely as organized and gentle as girls… not never… just rarely their minds work differently. My oldest cleans and picks up twice a day for 7 minutes my youngest 4 times a day for 3 minutes. The timer is set and in between times they don’t have to put away what they just got out.