Week of Help, Part 3: Izzy on Home Schedules and Organization


You might have heard about IZZY before – she has nannied for more families that I can count. She has mentored over 75 young women and is finishing up her final year of seminary. She’s like Mary Poppins and Super Nanny in one.

I love to get her advice because she sees and works with so many families. Give us the best tips, IZZY!

Here she is with Part 3 of Week of Help …



How do you get kids to clean up after themselves?


I am a firm believer that if you are able to make something fun, it is more likely to get done. I don’t know many people who truly enjoy cleaning. Personally, I don’t like it…but when I make it into a game for myself, it’s not near as bad. Getting kids to clean is the same way. Just this past week I was baby-sitting for two girls. When the time came to clean up before bed, I was met with an initial complaint. We talked about how it is important to clean up after yourself because it is respectful to others (namely parents) and it shows you can be responsible with things. After they understood the purpose of cleaning, we played music and pretended we were cleaning up the room for a fancy party. The girls loved it…and I did too!


Any tips for picky eaters?


I think it really depends on the situation. You want to make sure that they are getting the nutrients they need, but remember this can happen through vitamins and special drinks as well. If your child is just run of the mill picky, I’m a fan of modeling good eating habits and waiting it out. They won’t only eat chicken nuggets their entire life. Remember that eating habits is often one of the ways that children use to exert their independence, so don’t be alarmed if they are stubborn.



How do you get those afternoons to run smoothly when you are nannying kids?


I love a schedule. When I first get to the home, I always ask the mom or the kids what needs to be done. A typical afternoon consists of homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime. I try to give them a little time right after school to just unwind. Listen to music. Eat a snack. While we are doing those things, we can work together to make a schedule of what needs to be done. When the kids are part of the schedule making, they are much more likely to cooperate. It also works to my advantage that I’m a pretty good multitasker, so I can help with homework while preparing dinner. The key to it all is have a plan, and just work through.


What’s the common thread you notice between moms and homes that aren’t on the break of insanity – those that are actually enjoying life (in the midst of the mess) – but have a peace?


I baby-sit for a lot of families. One of my favorite things about it is the opportunity to see how each family responds to different things. Without a doubt, the moms that practice a balance of truth and grace with their kids appear to be the ones who are enjoying life the most. When we expect obedience to the rules all the time, it can be suffocating and burdensome to our children. Yet when we offer so much grace that boundaries are blurred, kids tend to run wild. Working to have a home that practices a balance of truth and grace will bring more peace.


If you have more questions, for her – don’t be shy! Ask  below in the comments!

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  1. We’ve got a major whined on our hands. You ask him to do something and it’s met with tears and lots of protests. I’ve tried ignoring it. I’ve tried punishment. I’ve trued reasoning or questioning the motivation to whine but nothing’s stopped it. Suggestions???

    1. First, remember that whining is normal behavior for children, and the protests are part of the way that your child is trying to exercise control. I would encourage you to try not to allow yourself to get frustrated. It sounds like you are doing the correct things!! I would just encourage you to keep at it. It will take time, but your child will eventually see that whining doesn’t work. As an example, my typical reaction when children are whining is, “I’m so sorry, I can’t understand you. I would love to help you though. Can you talk to me without whining, please?” Then when your child begins to make strides toward not whining, remember to praise them. 🙂 You can do it!

  2. We’ve also got one who cries and flips out any time she gets in trouble or think she might get in trouble. (Perfectionist who doesn’t want to disappoint like her Mom.) I can’t just ignore misbehaving because she’s so hard on herself already right? But is it ok to just do some surface punishment? I’ve talked about grace and always loving until I’m blue in the face and she gets it but still gets upset. I’m just not sure of the best way to handle it.

    1. I love your heart for your child. The fact that you recognize your child is a perfectionist and that you are reminding her of grace is HUGE! But you are right, the goal is to have a balance of truth and grace. You are right, you shouldn’t just ignore disobedience just because she is hard on herself. In order for her to understand the meaning and blessing of grace, she has to be able to balance it with truth and discipline. It sounds like you are doing the right things. One idea could be to let your daughter help determine her punishment. It may just help her to see in a tangible way that actions have consequences.

  3. great suggestions and options – always wanting home life to be peaceful admist the chaos. i believe kiddos perform better with routine and organization

  4. Great post! Question 1: will you come live with my family? 🙂
    Question 2: My 5-year-old son is having so much trouble with listening lately. He’s always been SUCH a great and easy kid – never has thrown a tantrum in his life. But now he’s ignoring requests, grumbling and a little back talking (“BUT!”) It seems like yelling and threatening to take things away are the only things that have been remotely effective at getting him to do what we say, but I don’t want to yell and threaten all the time! My husband and I are currently trying to decide how to handle this and are kind of at odds (spanking vs. taking away toys and TV shows vs. he needs more 1-on-1 attention.) Any suggestions?? (I should mention that he has a younger sister who has “different needs” and requires more care and attention than a typical sibling would.) I’m struggling a bit with the whole respect for adults and personal responsibility stuff right now.

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