You’ve probably heard people claiming that trying to clean your house when you have small children is like “brushing your teeth while eating” or “shoveling snow while it’s still snowing”, but the fact is – you can’t just give up and live in chaos until your kids grow up. There are, however, a few sneaky tricks for having a clean home even when your toddlers start to discover their artistic side or your baby likes throwing food more than eating it. Here are some of them.
Less is more
Being a parent requires a lot of planning in advance, and always being one step ahead, and it applies to cleaning as well. It’s normal you want your kids to have all the toys in the world but, in this case, less is really more. Go minimalistic and buy your kids a few essentials or rotate toys daily or weekly (keep the rest in the basement or in a closet). Not only will it do good for your child’s development, it will also save you from being swamped by a pile of toys or, worse – stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night. Bonus tip: instead of trying to have a place for every toy, invest in one of those toy boxes and keep everything in one place. That way, even the youngest child can learn where their toys “live”.
Think practical home décor
As for furniture, try to refrain yourself from furnishing your home with expensive things until your kids grow up a little. It can be a real waste of money and an extra source of stress. That’s something you don’t really need so opt for durable but affordable stuff instead, such as cheap rugs, cabinets, etc. Darker colors and shades are easier to maintain, so go with those instead of pastels and other bright tones. Consider covering the lower half of your walls with wallpapers and don’t worry about your kids leaving their fingerprints all over the house.
Make it a daily routine
Incorporating cleaning into a daily routine sounds like a real nightmare, but it’s essential if you want your home to stay tidy every day. That doesn’t mean you should do a spring cleaning every day – a quick sweep will be enough. Put all the toys in the boxes, do laundry, and wipe off the dust from visible places. It also helps if you clean as you go. Some parents decide to do it when the kids are asleep, but that way you might fall into the trap of making your kids believe that some magic fairy cleans your home. They should see you clean because that way they’ll learn to appreciate it – and you – more.
Turn it into a game
When your kids see you clean, you’ll have no trouble explaining to them that they should clean, too. Of course, you can’t expect a toddler to clean the bathroom, but kids can do a lot more than you might think. Choose the age-appropriate chore, show them how to do it, and watch them turn into little helpers. If they don’t want to do it just because you ask them, try turning it into a game. For example, tell your kids to pick up everything blue or anything they could wear, eat with, etc. Tell them it’s a race and have them do it faster than you. Not only will they help you, but they will also learn colours and other skills along the way. Don’t forget to award them properly afterwards – think extra playtime or cartoons. Avoid giving them too much sugar since it can make them hyperactive and then your cleanup will be futile.
In the end, try revisiting your definition of tidy and come to terms that there will always be some mess around. A clean home means nothing if the kids are bored. Think of it this way: it’s not chaos; it’s the kids making memories. So, encourage them to be creative and active, but make them responsible household members as well. With a good system and a little planning, your home will become shiny in no time.