Why Do Children Leave Everything Everywhere?

This is a guest post for my Big Parenting Questions Series by Eddie from Yorkie... Not Just For Dad's Blog. He is a stay at home dad with 5 daughters and blogs about lifestyle, family, mental health and generally anything found relatable to him and his family.

Why is it children always end up with anything and everything strewn all over the place??

As the title suggests, in a nutshell why do children always seem to end up with everything strewn all over the place. Even in places that you cannot see!
They go to their bedroom/lounge/playroom to play, out into the garden or even just getting a snack from the kitchen. They seem to have this magnificent skill of leaving a room like a whirlwind has hit it.

A messy front room with 2 girls playing in it dressed as Disney princesses

The same front room as above but with all the toys tidied away and a dog on the rug

Toys out to play, a spot of Crafts or even a simple Jigsaw.

As a Stay at Home Daddy and Step Dad to 5 girls, (4 through the week and an extra at the weekends). When it comes down to activities or a task, it can get manic pretty quickly. My daughter Pig 4yo. My youngest Step Daughter Titch 6yo. They both love nothing more than playing upstairs in the bedroom they share together.
A mass range of Disney Princess Dressing up outfits in a Box. Multiple Ikea storage units full to bursting with Dolls, outfits and soft toys. Their imaginations are incredible. Playing scenarios they come up with, and can generally be heard by the neighbours 3 doors down when playing in their bedroom. Anywhere from 10 minutes playing and their bedroom ends up looking like a police cordoned Bomb Site!
Dressing up dresses thrown randomly. Whether or not it lands on the floor or top of wardrobes. Across the top bunk of the bunk beds they have. Believe it or not we've even had to retrieve a Batgirl cape from a cliffhanger like situation on the edge of the curtain rail!
Crazy, now the elder 2 girls of the house. Mouse 8yo Step Daughter and on weekends Pork Chop 8yo (my eldest daughter from my previous relationship). They're slightly more mature when it comes to playtime. Both like the younger 2 love their Dolls. From barbies and Our Generation dolls. They play more sensibly.
Generally with a mass pile of Bobbles, Hair clips and brushes. No wonder we can never find any when it comes to Daddy's Hair Salon time before school in a morning. They are stuck and tangled in a Small plastic dolls hair!!

A sense of a storm brewing!

Now with them all playing happily, they may come and ask for a snack. Generally a piece of fruit, or the likes of a cheese string or maybe even a packet of crisps. Bored and had enough of playing, they may request a film, something they like on the likes of Netflix or even to play the Nintendo switch. Just Dance is a big favourite of theirs at the moment.
This brings the typical parent question and inevitable Child reply...

Have you put your toys away? Is your bedroom tidy?

Always a go to parent question, or it is in my case. This form of question usually ends up with a cheeky smirk, most likely from Titch in our house. Yeah course we have. Inevitably followed by "Are you sure?" "Do you want to go and check before I do?"
Again followed by the same reply. Head up to their rooms with an anticipation of dread of what may be seen.
An absolute tip even after a half a**ed attempt to Tidy up. Toys sneakily stored under quilts like they think you will never notice! Clothes or Dressing up outfits stuffed under the bed. Toy drawers half hanging out with items piled inside, so even with a shove it's unable to close.
In the older girls case this usually tends to happen if they're tired and had a long busy day. They are generally quite good, apart from pork chop. She is used to the lacklustre of responsibility and chores at home with her Mum and Step Dad.

From a parents point of view. How do you react to this?

Now there's a few different types of parents who in their own right have their own style of parenting. How do you react to this situation with your children?
  1. Gentle. The parental type who will keep stum and not mention it and tidy the mess for them?
  2. Tactical, Calm Negotiator. You like to have a bit more structure and want to give your children they're own sense of Responsibility. Show them their mistakes so to speak with their task of tidying. Guide them and assist them in completing the task at hand.
  3. The Dictator. What I would class as old school. Grab the bull by the horns so to speak. March them back up in a strict military esk manner and observe them. Have them finish the job to how you would expect it to be.
Myself deliberating on it, I'd like to think I'm between 2 and 3 of the above list. The Dad voice comes out to play every so often. Needs must sometimes. Especially when 4 girls and a 1yo old baby girl (Beasty) are all in competition to get the first word in in this sort of scenario. You have probably heard them before. The "I didn't use that". "It wasn't me" "I don't know how that got there". Even though you saw them playing with it not 5 minutes before or you know full well it's something that they would do.

Children and Chores. How much is too much? What age would be deemed acceptable for what chore?

With a tribe of young girls, all of a young age. Under 9. What would you deem an acceptable age to set certain chores? They can be anything from daily - keeping their bedrooms tidy. Making their bed. Laundry.

When I say laundry I don't mean do the full shabang of the use of the washing machine. Drying whether it be in the tumble drier or on a washing line. I'm meaning more, popping their dirty clothing to wash in the washing machine or designated washing pile or basket.

Now from Beasty I wouldn't expect anything. Even though she is clever and helpful at putting her toys back in her toy basket.

From my experience with the older 4, Pig who is 4, just simple tasks. If she gets toys out to play with, maybe a colouring book or paper to draw and colour with. If she has finished to put them away. Her empty sweet or crisp wrappers/packet and fruit peelings, to pop them in the bin. To put her dirty laundry in the washing basket.

The older girls - Titch, Mouse and Pork Chop. They're older and respectably to them more responsible for themselves and their actions. Same as Pig chore wise with the addition of Making their beds. Doing any school work whether it be times tables or School Reading. But helping with their youngest sibling Beasty. If me and mum have a few bits on, they're very helpful with feeding a meal (more so when she was younger). Or fetching items we need. Mouse is getting good at hanging away her ironed clothing. Where as Titch needs assistance.

A children's bedroom with toys everywhere

The same children's bedroom as above with toys tidied up

What do we offer them for this level of responsibility?

We have always tried to imprint a sense of responsibility with them. Build a base of routine with chores and add to them as we deem them at an age where such a task may be acceptable.

We also try to have them learn a sense of achievement in the form of doing their chores. A form of reward for this a set weekly amount of pocket money is earnt. If they willingly off their own back do a certain task without being asked, we give them an extra bonus onto their pocket money.

What way do you offer them their pocket money?

We have 2 ways really. Pig she is only 4 and loves her coin pennies, so hers is usually in this form for her Piggy bank. The older 3 all have children's bank accounts that we control. 

On the occasion when extra is earnt or for something else like an award or achievement at School. Mouse and Titch especially, they collect certain coins. Mouse is getting a vast collection of the Limited edition 50p coins, and Titch collects 20p coins.

Final wisdomly words from this Yorkshire Dad.

What sort of Parent would you class yourself as?

How do you manage responsibility with your own children?

How would you approach chores with your children and what sort of age would you see certain tasks acceptable?

It would be great to know your thoughts on some of these questions, not only for myself but also other parents in a similar scenario.

Drop your thoughts in the comments and lets discuss.

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