"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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