Help! Our kids have developed some very bad habits. They never hang their jackets up, shoes are left out, toilet paper rolls not replaced, cabinet doors left open...the list goes on. I cannot pick up after them all day long. What do I do?
Hi, I’m Madia. I have eleven children and one of the greatest privileges of my life was to know Dr. Leila Denmark. She practiced pediatrics for over 75 years and was my mentor for 32 years.
I can hardly express how much she helped me, both with the children’s medical issues and family life challenges. I would love to share what she taught me with you.
The Mess Multiplied
We moved to our current home twenty-one years ago, shortly before Susanna (baby number nine) was born. Now we had considerably more space and a wonderful backyard for the kids to play in. With more places to put people and things, it seemed like life would be easier and our home would stay neater.
After our family began to settle in, I noticed something that was puzzling at first. The house was not neater. It was actually messier and more difficult to keep picked up. In our smaller, one level home, toys and paraphernalia had been corralled into a few rooms. Now that our home had more rooms and multiple levels, things were strewn over a much wider area. Our children had developed some bad habits, and those habits were more apparent and less manageable in a larger space.
One person can create a lot of mess. Multiply that times numbers of children and. . you get the picture! If one child is tracking dirt into the kitchen, it can be somewhat aggravating. If six plus little kids are doing it, we have a realproblem! It was great incentive to attack the bad habits.
Identify the Habits
I insisted that all the toys, especially those with multiple pieces, had to stay in one room. The children were allowed to keep one or two favorite ones in their bedrooms, especially if there was a favorite sleep toy, but the rest of them remained in the downstairs playroom/schoolroom.
Then, I made a list of problem areas and bad habits. It contained everything from leaving out Legos to not hanging up bath towels to leaving out dishes to leaving bread bags open after m