How Can I Keep My House Clean While Living With Kids?
Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, having a clean home while your kids are home all day can seem impossible to pull off. It can feel like you're cleaning up one mess, only to turn around and see your little ones making another one in the next room. When you do try to clean, you may find that your kids want your full attention, distracting you or preventing you from getting the job done. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make it easier to keep your house clean while you have kids at home.
Get the Kids to Help
If your kids are old enough, there's no reason why they shouldn't be helping you clean. After all, they most likely helped make the mess. Children as young as two or three years old can pick up after themselves and help with household chores. Don't expect perfection, however.
Start by showing your child how to do the activity, whether it's vacuuming, taking the trash out or putting the laundry away. Let them practice with your supervision a few times, and once they figure it out, they can do it on their own. Create a chore chart, and assign each child in your household a list of a few chores that they’re responsible for every day or every week. Make sure your child receives praise for completing each task, and consider an allowance for older children who want to take on extra jobs. It can be a great way to teach financial responsibility at the same time.
Make Sure Everything Has a Place
If you're not already organized, keeping the house clean when your kids are there will be even more difficult. Everything should have a place, and if it doesn't, you may need to get rid of it. Take some time to declutter your entire house, starting with just one room at a time. Once you’re ready to organize, make sure your entire household knows where items belong and that those places are accessible to even your preschoolers. Store toys in baskets and on shelves at their level so that young children can put them away easily. The same goes for clothing.
Create a Routine
While you don't need to do a deep clean of your house every day or even every week, getting into a good routine can help you keep things in reasonable shape. Maybe you take 30 minutes and straighten up the kitchen after dinner every night. Perhaps you vacuum before you go to bed or make Saturday mornings a time for wiping down bathroom surfaces. Not only will this help you stay on track, but your kids are likely to adapt your routine as well. By following your lead, they know that the kitchen must be clean after dinner or the bathrooms must be clean on Saturday.
Take Advantage of Your Child's Downtime
No matter how much they may help or try to help, sometimes it's difficult to get your house clean with children underfoot, especially babies and toddlers. If you find this to be the case, take advantage of their downtime. Get up a few minutes before them to do some cleaning, or clean for a half hour or so after they go to sleep. Turn your child's nap time or screen time into cleaning time.
Be Flexible and Prioritize
Finally, lower your expectations. Your house is not going to be perfectly clean as long as people live in it, and that's OK. Prioritize what's most important, like getting the laundry done or a clean kitchen, and work from there. Realize there will be days when chores don't get finished. There will be days when the kids want your undivided attention or you don't feel well. However, there will also be days when you have more energy, or the kids are willing to play quietly on their own, and those are the days when you can take on those extra tasks.