Do you ever wonder what it would be like to reach the end of the day with a clean house instead of something that looks more like a tornado ran through the entire house throwing a rave? Mama I have heard you loud and clear. My inbox over flows with cries for help with keeping a tidy home when those silly little people your created just keep making messes. One person summed it up very well by saying, “I thought I did not have the time to clean but I realize that is not true. It’s that I do not have uninterrupted time.”
I have a few solutions for you that will provide not only practical solutions but also some encouragement along the way. Keeping a clean home when you have young children is possible. I pinky promise!
Keeping Your Home Clean
The very first thing I recommend is that you take an honest look at the routines you currently have in place for keeping a tidy house. If you do not have an established cleaning routine then that is going to be a very important step towards maintaining a clean space. It is one thing to spend all day, weekend, or week cleaning and scrubbing your house so that it sparkles. However, it is another matter entirely to have an established cleaning schedule in place that helps you to keep the home clean every day.
If you do not currently have those systems in place I encourage you to read this post on about establishing a daily cleaning routine. Another good resource for weekly cleaning routines can be found here.
Another thing to consider is making sure that the cleaning process you are using for your home fits the current season of life that you are in. A cleaning routine that worked amazingly well before you had children, or before you had as many children, may not work as well now. Changing jobs, homes, times of year, or any number of factors can impact your day to day life and therefore your routines. So give yourself permission to grow and make changes as the seasons of life change. It is incredibly normal if what once worked is no longer serving you. That just means you are living and growing.
How Do You Clean When You Have Kids?
If you are wondering how to clean when you have kids in the house you are not alone. You are not stuck between having a messy house or hiring a cleaning service. Whether you are a stay at home mom or work outside the home you will benefit from these practical tips.
I have also put together a free cleaning guide for you to download. The guide will walk you through every room in your home and outline what needs to be cleaned, how often you should clean it, etc… The cleaning guide is a great resource for any busy mom.
Teaching your children how to play independently will help them to develop great skills that will benefit them in other areas of life. Skills such as creativity, self-reliance, and imagination. It will also give children a sense of agency not to mention that it is through playing that children truly learn. Despite all of those wonderful things I struggled for a long time in feeling like I needed to entertain my small children constantly otherwise I was failing miserably at motherhood. Sometimes I think that one of my mom super powers is finding even little things to feel guilty about. Independent play is important for kids of any age and it is also a great time for you to be able to accomplish your cleaning tasks uninterrupted.
The first step is to take comfort knowing that all children are born with the ability to get lost in their imagination in the wonderful world of play. If your child is used to more structured play time or more one-on-one mama time then it may take a little bit of work to get them back on track for independent play and that is okay.
If your little one is having a hard time adjusting to independent play I would suggest creating 2-4 “busy boxes” for them. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest for busy boxes/bags that you can look up but do not try to over complicate things and definitely do not feel like you need to spend a lot (or any) money.
What I personally like to do is have a toy rotation system. Because those toys only come out every so often they retain a “newness” to them that makes them more exciting than even the favorite toys that are always available for play. You can easily do this with toys that you already have by tucking them away for a bit and then reintroducing them at strategic times. When you limit toys this way it increases the interest the child has in the toys.
Another thing that I do is use non-toy items that I already have in the house. For example, when I am folding the laundry I will let my toddler play with the dryer balls. When I am at the kitchen counter I will often pull out a few plastic containers and wooden spoons that can be fun new toys to occupy little hands. Be patient with this. At first you might only get 5 minutes before your child is asking for you. Just keep kindly redirecting and eventually you will build up to that 15+ minutes that you need.
Get Your Child Involved
This of course is the opposite of independent play. Getting your child involved is a great way to do your regular cleaning while also teaching them life skills that they will absolutely need whenever they move out to live on their own. Kids love to help and feel needed. They really thrive in those environments so by allowing them to help you you are not only teaching life skills but also empowering them and giving them an opportunity to feel productive and valued.
Getting your child involved in your housework does mean that a chore that usually takes you 15 minutes will more than likely now take you 30 minutes or even 45 minutes. That. is. okay. Your children will not always be little and once you have older kids the whole house will benefit from you spending this time to teach them now. All parents are busy parents and it can be so much faster and easier to just do the job yourself. However, I really want to encourage you to slow down and give your toddler the good practice he or she needs in order to learn these new skills. That is not to say every task needs to include all the family members. But giving the opportunity when you can is a wonderful teaching opportunity.
Another thing I would like you to consider is why the extra time matters. What are you in a rush to get to ? There are absolutely going to be legitimate answers to this such as leaving for work, school, or an appointment. There are also going to be times where you do not necessarily have anywhere to be but you want to get done with the chore more quickly anyway. During those times I would gently remind you that you have the time to raise a successful adult. It’s okay mama. Let him take twice as long to sweep the floor. Give him the rag and let her help dust. It’s worth it.
Age Appropriate Chores
Similar to getting your children involved this does have children doing housework but rather than doing a chore alongside of you they are learning to be responsible for certain household chores on their own.
For our very littles this will essentially be the same as getting them involved because they are not truly ready to do the work 100% independently however as our children get older you could provide a list of chores that they are responsible for doing.
Will you need to remind them? Most likely. Even the older children? Yes, it is quite possible.
Will you need to occasionally check to be sure that the chores are in fact being completed correctly? Yes.
Will this still be frustrating at times and feel like it would be easier to just do it yourself? Yes.
Is it still worth it because you are raising a successful and flourishing adult? ABSOLUTELY!
Again, here you want to set your children up for success rather than failure. The best way to accomplish that is to make sure that the chores are in fact age appropriate. Also keep in mind that the quality of execution should also be age appropriate. What I mean here is that a 5 year old can definitely make their bed however it may not look quite as put together as if a 40 year old made that same bed. That okay. As long as the bed was made to the best of their ability then everything is as it should be.
One question I am asked about this is at what age do you start giving chores. The first time I was asked this was right around Easter so I said, “If your child can pick up an egg and put it in a basket then they can pick up a shirt and put it in the hamper.”
Now of course a one year old will need mama to walk beside him and give directions each day on picking up his toys but I really do believe that that is an excellent place to start. Do not underestimate your children. They are capable of amazing things.
Stick To Your Schedule
My final tip is this one… stick to your schedule and stay consistent with your cleaning routines.
If you stay on top of your housework and avoid reaching a place where you feel overwhelmed with how much needs to get done then you will allow yourself to be much more open and flexible with the chores of the day.
If you are struggling to find or maintain a consistent routine then download my free cleaning guide. It will guide you step by step through each room in your house.