When kids are home, it seems to be more challenging to keep the house clean; after all, cleanliness is not their priority – fun is. Knowing this can create a win-win, however. If you can keep it fun, you may have better luck keeping it clean. Here are seven tips for keeping your house clean when kids are home, so you don’t succumb to stress.
Make it Fun
The first tip has already been shared – make it fun! Whether timing, rewards, or contests, there are several ways to turn cleaning up into a game. Older kids can earn money or rewards, and younger kids can laugh and dance while cleaning up as fast as they can.
Age-appropriate cleaning tasks are important for building self-esteem, responsibility, and autonomy, so let the kids help! Kids will mimic you as a way to learn. Support this learning by helping them mirror you with safe cleaning supplies and chores.
Let them know they are “in training” to do something you do and that it will be their new responsibility going forward. Remember, don’t nit-pick! Teach them the right way, allow them to make some mistakes, correct them gently, and then let it go. Choosing your battles creates less arguing and a better attitude.
One of the most significant ways to keep space clean is to have less stuff. For some people, this means only one bin of toys can be accessed at a time. Or, it could mean that all the dumpable toy bins are eliminated. Remove what can be a mess, and the mess goes away.
To help with ongoing maintenance, don’t let your kids take out a new toy or game until the other is put away accurately.
It is easier to keep an area clean if there is a SUPER EASY system for putting things away. Kid-appropriate organization usually includes bins and shelves – but as mentioned above, this doesn’t mean kids should have access to all things at all times.
Organize, simplify, AND limit access to toys or supplies. Not only does this help keep your home clean, but it also creates novelty. Kids aren’t as likely to get bored of a toy they haven’t played with for a while once it’s available again after being limited. And, if they have lost interest, it is a great time to donate or sell it.
In school, your kids have a set routine. This is classroom management and can be used at home for the same effect. They know they have to do X before Y can happen. At home, create a routine or rule that says: You can’t have screen time (tablet, TV, video games) until a particular chore is done.
Or, if it’s more motivating for your kiddo and works for your family, have them do certain chores to extend screen time or other activities they enjoy.
Don’t Allow Overwhelm
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the cleaning tasks that need to be done, especially with kids being home. Make a plan for staying on top of cleaning, whether that means spending 15 minutes doing a quick tidy before bed, doing a load of laundry every day, or hiring a cleaning company to come in once a week to handle the dusting, trash, and floor care.
You are a better caretaker when you aren’t overwhelmed, so practice some self-care to keep yourself from burnout and resentment over cleaning by getting the help you need both in and outside the house.
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