Managing the Chaos

When my oldest daughter was a toddler, I ran a daycare of sort in my home. Several days a week, a couple other toddlers would invade my home and I would babysit them for the day while their parents worked.

I liked it because it gave me some spare cash, and their parents (who didn’t work full-time) liked it because they were getting care in a home with the a person that they knew from church.

Now a house with three or four toddlers playing in it got messy really quick. I soon found that I needed to adapt my home to the kids or I’d be cleaning up non-stop. In the morning before the kids arrived, I’d straighten the bedrooms and close the doors to all rooms that I didn’t want kids playing in. This limited the mess to a handful of rooms–the kitchen, the play room and the living room–and while those areas may be totally trashed, it was very comforting to me to know that some areas of my home were nice, neat, and clean at the end of the day.

Later, when I had a couple more kids, I used this same technique to preserve my sanity. I’d straighten a couple areas of the house and shut them off from the kids. This kept my toddlers from totally dismantling the house the moment my back was turned. There was really no reason at all for my small ones to have access to my bedroom and the kids’ bedrooms during the day. I’d put a basket of toys in the living room for entertainment purposes and keep the other doors shut.

If you have small children, you may want to limit your child’s access to certain parts of the house, especially when you are trying to homeschool the bigger kids. If you have an open floor plan, baby gates can keep the toddlers contained to an area where you can observe what they are getting into. In my experience, investing some money in a baby gate was like investing in my own sanity. You never know what a child will get into when you can’t watch them every second.

 

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Merely the knowledge that my own bedroom was quiet, clean, and tidy was soothing to my tattered, tired, mama heart. It was like a soothing oasis in the mess of Legos, blocks, and Barbies. Additionally, I didn’t have to worry that my bedspread was going to be decorated with black Sharpie or that my son was eating Comet scouring powder.

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