Tips for Cleaning With Kids
Cleaning is hard enough without toddlers getting involved. On top of all the messes that need to be handled, kids often demand your attention mid-task, undo whatever you’re working on, or “help” you in ways that are decidedly unhelpful. Here are some of the top tips for keeping your home clean even with small children in the house.
Stay Out of the Way
Try to clean so that you don’t disrupt your kids and they don’t disrupt you. If you make your toddler move while he’s playing so that you can vacuum, then you’ve probably just added a temper tantrum to everything else you need to handle. It’s okay if you leave something half-done and finish it later, and it’s okay if you have some flexibility in the order of your to-do list.
If you find that you’re struggling to accomplish things with kids in the house, have your spouse take them for a little while or set up a playdate at a neighbor’s home so that you have a little bit of extra time. It’s amazing what you can get done in an hour or two if you aren’t interrupted.
You don’t have to clean an entire room all at once if you’re doing little stuff constantly. If you have a few free minutes while your kids watch TV or eat an afternoon snack, use it to load a rack in the dishwasher or wipe down a countertop.
Cut Back on Clutter
Reduce the things that you don’t need. Although it can be tempting to buy your children lots of toys, most kids are perfectly happy with just a few favorites. And if you gather and donate old items that they no longer use, then you can teach them a valuable lesson about giving while you declutter your house.
Let Them Help
Do your kids want to help you clean? Let them. This helps you teach them the value of work early, and keeps them out from underfoot. The trick to making this work is giving them a task that is easy, that isn’t urgent, and that doesn’t require perfection. Some ideas include:
- Wiping down light switches and doorknobs
- Folding dishcloths and hand towels
- Picking up their own toys
- Putting away non-breakable dishes
If you really can’t afford to let them get involved, then give them something to do that looks like they’re helping. Give them a damp rag with no cleaner and have them “scrub” the table, or let them loose with a broom in a spot that you’ve already swept.
Raising kids can be a wonderful experience, and having a clean home is nice too. With these tips and a little bit of patience you can have both at the same time.