I am going to backtrack on my life a bit and tell you more about our trip to Slidell before introducing the Topic Of The Day here at misszoot.com. Not that we always have one, but this has been on my mind over the holiday break and I’d love to hear your input.
MrZ has a cousin that is just 2 weeks younger than NikkiZ. She is the thing NikkiZ looks forward to when we make the drive down to Louisiana. The first day we were there we went over to her house and played for a bit. Their house is big and clean and I was a little self-conscious about the ginormous mess NikkiZ was making. I did my best to try to pick up after her, and she “cleaned” up after herself some, but you know how that goes. When a four-year old cleans up after themselves? It just means the toys end up NOT in the floor. Who knows if they ever go back to where they came from. I’m not sure if she put stuff back in the right place and I didn’t see where it came from so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we left the place in a much worse state than when we arrived.
The next day we met at a place called The Wiggle Room. MUCH BETTER IDEA. This place was great…It’s like a giant play room in someone else’s house. Kitchen areas, blocks, costumes, all someone else’s responsibility to clean up. Which was my favorite part. We could only stay for about an hour so the admission was a little high, but if you can stay most of the day? 8 dollars isn’t too bad. They even have a real kitchen area to keep snacks for your kids so you can stay awhile if you choose. Both NikkiZ and AndyZ had a ball playing there with their cousin. And I had a ball not stressing out about messing up a family member’s home. Win Win!
That brings me to today’s topic. Cleaning Up After Your Kids In Someone Else’s Home.
For me this is something I make a judgment call about in each situation. I always encourage NikkiZ to pick up and put back toys when she’s playing at someone else’s home. But she’s four, and that doesn’t always go well. Sometimes I try to help but I don’t necessarily know where they go either, so I’m never sure if I’m creating more work for the Mom in question or not. In my home? I just ask that the mess stay in the kid’s room. Beyond that? I don’t care as long as no one gets hurt. But when I go to other people’s homes and let NikkiZ play? I just gauge my behavior based on that of the owner of the home. Are they cleaning up after the kids as they play? Then I get stressed about it and try to do the same. If they don’t even flinch as more and more toys enter then ring? Then I relax more.
What do you do? Do you clean up after your kid? Do you force them to clean up after themselves? I hate to turn a playdate into a chore fest, but I do remind NikkiZ to put stuff up after she’s done with it. Sometimes she does, but a lot of times? Her four-year old brain is too excited to do it. And I don’t necessarily want to be that Mom who’s constantly interrupting play to remind my child to clean up after themselves. What do you encourage in your own home? Does the playdate mess stress you out? Do you only invite children who can clean up after themselves adequately? What about the Mom helping clean up? Does that make you uncomfortable (it really does me) or are you grateful?
It’s a dilemma that I’m fairly certain I never handle right – if there even is a right.