| |

Ask Izzy! Part 2

ask izzy

by Lindsey aka Izzy

Happy Wednesday! Welcome back to Ask Izzy!

If you are new, start here with Part 1 for ground rules and get to know why on earth – Courtney’s longtime baby-sitter would be offering you tips for your family. My heart is to help families function better together and I adore kids. Hope these simple tips do just that.


Do you have any suggestions for books?

I love to read! I love reading to children even more! I could make a list for days, but here are some of my favorites. It’s a combo of everything from picture books to chapter books. For families that I baby-sit for often, I like to read chapter books aloud to them at night before bed. For the most part, the books listed here don’t make me cry. I’ll reserve the teary
ones for another day.

  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Berenstein Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstein
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  • Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andrae
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  • Mrs. Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
  • Ramona by Beverly Cleary
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and A. Willis


Do you have any tips to get kids to clean up after themselves?

I’m a big believer that you should pick up with you mess up. Cleaning up after yourself is both responsible and a way that you contribute to the family running smoothly. When we teach kids to clean up after themselves, we are teaching them to respect the others in the family. Then, when they get that part down, we can move on to teaching them to do other tasks, and that teaches them to serve others. That doesn’t mean that cleaning has to be something that is miserable. Quite the contrary, I like to do whatever I can to make cleaning fun.

Before I give these ideas, I would be remiss if I didn’t give the credit to my mother. After all, she pretty much came up with all of these little cleaning games—at least I think she did because in all my years I have never heard of anyone else playing them!

Race the Room—Get the kids involved and ask them how long they think it will take to clean the room. Set the timer and see if you can get it all clean before the time is up. I typically reward the kids with music and a dance party—yeah, I’m cheap—but you may find another way that rewards better for your kiddos.

Alligators Awake—This game is super basic. I explain to the children that I am going to be the alligator. Whenever I say “alligator asleep” they are to run around and clean up as much as they can. Whenever I say “alligator awake” they are to get on the closest piece of furniture before I (the alligator) “gets” them. I usually play this game with kids when they are cleaning a family room (using the sofa and chairs) or their bedroom (using the bed). I’ve found this game is great for younger kids, and the fast pace nature of the game helps them to get the work done fast—just make sure you don’t scare them with your alligator skills.

Blind Prize Clean-up—This is a game that is great for children no matter their age, but it works best when you have multiple children. On a piece of paper, simply make a list of all of the tasks that need to be done. They can range from “fold load of laundry” to “clean out the garage.” On a second piece of paper, make a list of rewards that correspond for each task. The rewards don’t have to be monetary. Some common ones that my mother used to use were “hug”, “spend the night company”, “dessert.” (We had lots of structure in our home, so it was quite simple to reward—but you may need to adjust those for your family.) The list of rewards is kept by the overseer…and the list of tasks is given to the children. As the tasks are completed, the children put their name beside them. After all of the tasks have been completed, the overseer awards the rewards to the children. The key is that the reward does not always match the actual activity. Sometimes the largest tasks had smaller rewards, and the smallest tasks had the largest rewards.


We hear you like to clean and organize…do you have any ideas to reduce clutter?

You heard correctly. I LOVE organizing. Y’all can thank my mother for my love for order. This is actually a tip that will help you to cut down on what you have. After all, the less you have, the easier it is to keep it clean and organized. One of the things that my parents instilled from a young age was the need to give to those less fortunate. For everything that came in, we had to give at least one item away. To keep donations easy, my mom had a basket in her room that held anything that was ready to be given away. When the basket was full, it was loaded into the car and the items were donated. To this day, I still have my own donation basket. It keeps closet clean outs easy, and even better, it builds giving into the fabric of your family.



Ask me questions! I’ll be back tonight, September 3, from 8-10 EST to answer them live but you can start listing them now if you want.

Similar Posts


  1. Great tips. I will be trying a few of your games. We keep our house pretty tidy but I am sure the kids would enjoy more ways to build some fun into our cleaning routines.
    Another idea for kid clutter is to rotate toys. I took an excess of toys out of the rooms and put them in the attic. The kids can take something out of their room to swap out and ‘go shopping’ in the attic. It is a lot of fun for them. The old toys seem new again and there are fewer things in their rooms. Eventually, we pass on these things as they outgrow them. I am also encouraging a shift of focus from buying toys or ‘stuff’ with gift money/chore money to using the money on activities like the bounce house, skating, etc. so more things do not come in the house.

  2. I love the Alligator’s awake! My two year old isn’t really getting timers yet, but I think she would get that! And she’s fascinated with “scary” animals like sharks, snakes and alligators…

  3. I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be what
    precisely I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for you personally?

    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the
    subjects you write about here. Again, awesome blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.