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Old 02-13-2009, 09:43 PM   #1
christypjb
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Playdate advice!!

Ok I need some of you to help brainstorm with me. It might be a little long so bear with me. We have company over to our house quite regularly. Usually different people all the time. We are military and still meeting new friends and neighbors as time allows. Our house is 2 stories and we spend the majority of our day in the downstairs. So because of this our extra livingroom is the childrens playroom. They have toys upstairs but for the most part alot of it is downstairs. I have their playroom very organized, I have shelves that have cubes on them that go up to about 6'. The cubes hold toys and stuff. They have a play kitchen that has lots of little things. I am very OCD about keeping every little playset together. So it either has a size appropriate rubbermaid or shelf to go with the toy or game. All of the cabinets have things in them very organized. My own children are pretty good at cleaning up after they play with one toy and then go on to the next. I have tried very hard to teach them to do that so I can have some sanity. Yes they get things messy sometimes but not out of control. So when we have playdates or company alot of times whoever may be over at the time, literally takes everything out of every box, cube, shelf, and cabinet. It is very frustrating and stressful at times. It is also unfair to my children I feel because they have to help piece back together our playroom after they leave. Don't get me wrong we absolutley LOVE all of our guests. This really isn't anyone in particular it just seems to happen no matter who comes over. I know they are children playing. But we cannot continue to have guests if this is what happens eveytime. I have had advice to put out only the things that are easy to clean but like I said before we practically live downstairs apart from sleeping and bathing. Unless I lock everything and make sure all things have clamps or baby proof things on them (which many cannot) I feel very helpless. I have made the playroom child friendly and accessible for my children. So really what are my other options besides barely any toys downstairs, locking everything up, rearranging things before company????? I really am clueless. Help!

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Last edited by christypjb; 02-13-2009 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:19 PM   #2
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Re: Playdate advice!!

seriously?
don't have playdates at your house if you're that stressed out.

I host a lot of playdates and yeah, sometimes my house is a disaster afterwards but its not worth getting upset over. I'd rather have fun with my friends and have my kids have a good time than freak out over toys being...played with.

Messes happen, if you can't handle it then your playdates need to be at another house or outdoors.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:30 PM   #3
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Re: Playdate advice!!

I feel for you mama, I'm a bit OCD too, and we have the same set-up, only it's the entire upstairs room. I had to give up. Problem is-- if the guests try to help "pick up" their messes, they'll just shove stuff wherever, and you'll still have to take it all back out then put it away again, properly.

I do one of two things: 1)direct the play.... every so often, stop them and say "Let's put these things back here, since we're moving on to this activity"

or 2) MOST OFTEN- I pick it up myself later, don't make my kids do it.

Honestly, I KNOW it's a pain. But I don't think there's any other way to do it, so it's not worth stressing about! It is okay to say certain things are "off limits", if the kids are old enough to follow instructions. But if they're 1-3, forget it...
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Playdate advice!!

Instead of having the kids just free play in the play room, maybe you can give them a structured activity, so you only have one thing to pick up. Maybe they can color at the kitchen table, or play playdoh, watch a movie, listen to kid music and dance... something like that.

It's not resonable to except other kids that come over to put things up as organized as you have it. You can most defintely ask them to pick up... but most likely that'll consist of picking the toys up off the floor and putting them into ONE box or bucket. I know how you feel because I'm the same way... Everything has a particular place and certain things need to be kept together... etc. Most other people aren't like us... and you can't expect them to be that way just because they're at your house. You can either organize them an activity, or just suck it up and "reorganize" the mess after they leave. You have to remember what's more important.... that the toys are put in their exact place or that the kids are having fun socializing with their new friends.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:25 AM   #5
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Re: Playdate advice!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmaleigh3699 View Post
seriously?
don't have playdates at your house if you're that stressed out.

I host a lot of playdates and yeah, sometimes my house is a disaster afterwards but its not worth getting upset over. I'd rather have fun with my friends and have my kids have a good time than freak out over toys being...played with.

Messes happen, if you can't handle it then your playdates need to be at another house or outdoors.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:08 AM   #6
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Re: Playdate advice!!

If you can not stand the mess then I would not host playdates at all.

I host at least one large playdate a week (large as in 10 to 15 kids and moms) and a couple of smaller ones (as in 3 to 6 kids and moms). Our house is spotless at all times. It has to be because I run an in-home daycare.
On days we have playdates I do a deep clean before the playdate. Of the whole house. We too have a 2 story, only difference is that we have the whole upstairs (2 bedrooms, one bathroom and a den) dedicated to the kids. Then we have lots of toys in the downstairs living area as well as in the yard.

I am very used to picking up toys after the kids and am totaly fine with that. Our son just started to clean up behind himself (25 month old) and my daycare kids clean up behind themself as well. It is a game to them and fun.

When having playdates it is a whole different story. The house is trashed afterwards. At least when it comes to the toys. Every single piece get's dragged out of his place and thrown to the ground, dragged into the yard and then forgotten. Again, I am totaly fine with that. Playdates give my son joy and something to do. Me having to clean up the house afterwards is a small price to pay for my sons happiness.

We had a valentines playdate a couple of days ago. 14 kids painting planting pots with acrylic paint, then decorating them with foam stickers and ribbons and planting little flowers in them. I am still picking up stickers in the yard and there are paint stains on our patio that have to be taken care of. The fun the kids had was worth every sticker I will be finding for many many weeks to come.

Then we decorated pizza. The whole kitchen was a big mess. Imagine 1 1/2 to 6 year olds juggeling around cheese, peperoni, peppers and what else we put onto the pizzas. Again, no big deal. I scrubbed down the whole kitchen after the playdate and disinfected the whole kitchen.

What I am trying to say is that even thought I am very OCD about having the house in tip top being able to eat off the floors condition I know that kids are kids and let them be. I clean the whole house every day including dusting, I vacuum twice, mop at least once, most days up to 5 times, clean all bathrooms every day, disinfect all toys ever day... And still love for kids to have fun at our house. They should not have to suffer under my OCD and be able to be kids.

Either come to terms with the fact that kids are kids and will be messy with toys or do not host playdates anymore. For your own good.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: Playdate advice!!

Well this was totally not directed towards my guests. You know my DH is deployed. He is a very helpful one at that. So everytime something gets this out of order it really does throw us off by a whole day. I really do not mind them playing with the toys and I totally understand the age range thing. You know I really like the planned activity idea. I think that would work a lot better. Oh and I don't make my children clean up with me after playdates, My children and I do everything together so they essentially would help whether I asked or not. Thank you mommas for your help. I dont want to cancel any of our friends coming over we do love it. It just is a little more challenging with daddy gone!
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #8
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Re: Playdate advice!!

Might try the Barney clean up song about 5 min before the kids are about to go? The parents of the kids do not offer to help clean up
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:44 AM   #9
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Re: Playdate advice!!

My system (and my frustrations) seem similar to yours. One family in particular seems bound and determine to get *everything* out at once, not to play with, just to get it all out. The last time they were here, the Mum offered to help clean up, but even she didn't 'get' the system, so maybe it's far more complicated than it seems? I didn't think so, I mean, the dishes go in the kitchen, the cars go on the train table, the doll clothes go in the basket... but apparently it's trickier when you're not familiar with it?

So, no advice, but sympathy. I don't consider myself OCD about it, but it doesn't make sense to me when people don't 'get it'.

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Old 02-14-2009, 10:57 AM   #10
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Re: Playdate advice!!

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Originally Posted by gogokim View Post
Might try the Barney clean up song about 5 min before the kids are about to go? The parents of the kids do not offer to help clean up
That's what I would do. And as a parent, I would be mortified if we left your house trashed after visiting. I totally expect my kids to help clean up before we leave.
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