A Clean and Tidy Home (with Kids!)
Home cleaning tips are always valuable. Below are different approaches and ways to keep your house clean even though your little humans sometimes seem to be working against you.
It is always a tough assignment to get your bundles of joy to pick up their toys and to keep their play areas tidy. However, do not despair. You can use one or perhaps all these tips to get your children to help out and to keep your home more organized too!
Establish Some Simple Rules
Explain the reason for each rule and why it is important. For example, a rule may be to play with one toy or set of toys at a time and when not playing with this toy or toy set to put it back where it belongs. Let them learn that in order to keep things tidy and organized they have to put things back when finished. This is important so that things don’t get lost or jam the vacuum cleaner.
Children are logical and just need a bit of help to get them started. When you explain the reason and the importance you will be pleased with what young children are capable of. Set the right expectation and establish good habits.
A caveat . . . if you ask them to put their toys back where it belongs when they are not playing with it then there has to be a place or this will not work. Which leads to our next tip.
Everything Has A Place (and everything it its place)
Kids are more likely to keep their areas clutter-free if items have a proper place when not in use. This is true for adults too. Adults need to put away their tools when not in use. However, we too have difficulties when there are items that do not have a proper place. These items tend to hang around in less-than-ideal places because they do not have a “home”.
When our children were young, we had nice wood bins for their toys. These boxes were stored in their closets. These toy boxes were easily accessible, and the toys had their place when not being used. We did not make things complicated. If the toy was in the box and the box was in the closet, then the toy had been put away properly.
To know where things belong is an essential part of keeping things organized and tidy.
Let Them Know There Are Consequences
When you want your little ones to tidy up their room or play area and it is not done. You can offer to clean up for them. However, also let them know that every toy you pick up for them goes into a special storage bin. This special storage bin can be kept in a locked closet, locked cabinet or locked toy box. What this means is that the toy is now yours. They will not have the chance to play with it.
In order for your child to play with the toy again they will have to earn the right to do so. For example, the child will have to do a chore to earn the item back. Taking this one step further let them know that if the special bin gets filled then it will be time to visit the local donation center to donate the toys to children who will appreciate the toys more.
To make a donation also makes sense for some of the older toys that your children may have outgrown. Selecting toys that are in decent shape but no longer used by your children, for a donation, is good recycling.
Create an Organization Game
Wouldn’t it be cool if our work was more play-like? I have often thought about this concept. What can we do to make keeping our home tidy and make it a fun game for the little humans? This may also help to teach them a life skill too!
Here is an idea. Let the children take turns being the boss for 10-minutes. Teach your children that it is important to provide some motivation and it will also help them to realize that there are goals and objectives that need to be managed. Using a game-like approach will help them to learn to pay attention to details.
Being “The Boss” mean their job is to supervise the other children to ensure everything gets picked up as requested. You need to supervise this activity to ensure that the game remains fun. Use this activity even when your children have friends over for a play date.
If the Vacuum Touches It then It Goes to the Trash
Sometimes the last step to cleaning an area is to bring in the vacuum. Let the kids know that on this cleaning day the vacuum will be used – give them a heads-up.
Tell the kids whatever the vacuum touches either gets sucked up or will be thrown in the trash. This approach can be playful or a consequence, depending on the day! Be watchful for the playful part. My children sometimes wanted a toy or two to be sucked up.
Create Put-Away Bins
Designate and label a bin or basket for each child. As you clean throughout the day, throw items into the basket for your child to put away. It’s easier to carry a basket full of things to their room than it is to carry individual items. Plus, it helps keep your floors clean during the day!
Create a Toy-Free Zone
You need to define the boundaries. If you allow toys to be in every room in the house and your children get into the habit that they can drop a toy anywhere then this will happen. Designate some rooms as toy-free. Explain the reasoning behind this and allow toys in these areas or room only under special exceptions (a birthday party for example).
This will help in significant ways as when your house seems to have toys everywhere the task of cleaning up seems daunting. Plus, toy chaos everywhere can get to you. It can feel overwhelming and you need a break. To have toy-free areas and rooms provides this break.
Teach Your Little Humans (you owe it to them)
I know having kids clean isn’t always “helpful.” In fact, I know a few good friends who feel the need to re-clean after the kids have done a chore. Here’s my advice. Don’t just let your child “play” cleaning up. Teach them how to properly accomplish the task. You can make it fun, but you also need to be firm.
Here is an article from our blog on Teaching Kids to Clean which you may find helpful.
Perhaps Some Singing and Dancing
Crank the tunes and make cleaning a PARTY. Set up a cleaning playlist. Be sure to sing perhaps with some made-up verses that relate to cleaning. I often changed the words of a song to fit the occasion.
We dream of having a clean house – but no one dreams of actually doing the cleaning. – Marcus Buckingham
We have found that there is a variation in the impact these home cleaning tips will have. A great deal depends on the child and the family dynamics. Some children will only need a little bit of music to get everything to work while others may need a firmer touch. Some or all will work with your little humans. Make and effort and provide some consistency and your home will be much more tidy even with kids and their toys.
Give us a call at 802-295-6065 if you live in the Upper Valley and need extra support for keeping your home clean and tidy. We have been providing homeowners of the Upper Valley with top-notch home cleaning services since 1993.