The chaos of a messy, disorganized home can be frustrating. The days when you were in control of your house are long gone and your kids are here to stay (at least until they run off to college, if you’re lucky!).
Kids are adorable and incredible bundles of joy, but they also don’t know how to care for your house the same way you do instinctively.
It is therefore essential to get ready to change your cleaning habits to adapt to your new residents and think about involving your kids in the home chores.
Because your kids are also fast learners, you can teach them the cleaning behaviors and habits that they will need when they are old enough to have their own home.
Teaching your kids to keep the house clean also means less work for you, as once they are old enough, they can start helping you to do some cleaning work too.
Here are some tips that will help you to keep your house clean with and without the help of the children.
Stop Buying New Things Unless It’s for a Special Occasion
The first thing you need to do is to stop cluttering your home. You need to get your possessions in order first.
Children have changing interests and if you keep buying new things for them to keep them entertained, your home will quickly become cluttered. Keeping toys and baby things stored away is a great way to start decluttering your home.
You can even extend this to guests during birthdays and special holidays by asking them not to buy toys for your kids. Instead, you could do a gift registry so that at least you have control over whatever is coming into your home.
Make a Cleaning Schedule for the Kids
Consistency is an effective way to create habits and behaviors for your kids that will stick around all their lives.
Teach your children to put their toys and things in their proper place as soon as they finish playing with them. When kids play their games, they tend to break out all of their toys and leave everywhere scattered with them.
You can time their playtime so that the picking up and cleaning starts before they are exhausted. If they get tired during the washing up, you can always finish it up.
Also, you can time the cleanup schedule to coincide with another significant activity like bedtime or dinner. This way, it becomes part of the house routine and they will get used to cleaning up their rooms and toys without being told.
In fact, tidying their own bedroom is generally a good place to start as even when the rest of the house if clean the kid’s rooms can still look like a bomb hit it!
Make Cleaning Exciting
Kids always like to have fun, even when it is disguised as work, so you can use this to your advantage by making tedious chores look like a game.
It will help to keep them occupied. For preschool kids, you can do a role-playing game of maids and cleaners.
You can compose cleaning songs and act out the different cleaning actions for your kids. Incentives also work if you make cleaning like a race where they must put away several items from their room to qualify for a prize.
Having a contest also helps your kids to become competitive and appreciate what they’re doing.
Use a Reward System
Positive incentives are beneficial as they help to reinforce good behavior. Same as you see with adults, you learn faster when the action has a reward.
You can offer 30 more minutes of TV or tablet time for children who complete all of their tasks within a specific time. These tasks could include making the bed, packing toys back into their storage containers and other things that they ordinarily don’t do without being told.
Also, praising your children for a job well done is more rewarding than punishing them for not doing it. Have some patience and encourage your kids to help them understand why they need to keep the house clean and reward them each time they complete their chores.
Identify and Control the Dumping Grounds
It is almost inevitable that things will get dumped around the house. Sometimes instead of fighting the dump and trying to clear it up every day, it might be easier to create specific dumping grounds for things.
If you’ve noticed that your kids always leave their coats and shoes lying around, try to get them to make use of a designated coat room or cabinet to keep those things in. Laundry baskets work well for both clothes and toys.
Identify where items get placed the most, such as the floors of the closet, dining tables, kitchen counters and other places that serve as general dumping grounds for things.
Label the laundry baskets to contain these items and place them at strategic locations. This way, things have a place to go rather than on the table or surface where they previously went.
Go Digital and Paperless
Paper is one thing that litters the home the most, especially when there are children around. They play with paper, color it, rip it up and just turn it in to different things that will clutter your home and mess everything up in the process.
Hide all of your paperwork away out of their reach. This includes mortgage and insurance documents, unpaid bills, receipts and other essential documents.
Make a digital copy and save those to your computer or cloud storage and shred the rest.
Change some of your magazine subscriptions to electronic copies where possible and subscribe to online bills to reduce the paper trail in your home.
Cleaning your home with kids is sometimes annoying but it can also be fun and a learning experience.
By involving your kids in the cleaning, you help them to build good habits and save yourself valuable cleaning time too.
Your home will stay clean and organized and your kids will become more responsible and health-conscious – an awesome win-win for everyone!