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  • Julia Weaver

Cleaning Habits and Routines For a Clean and Tidy Home With Kids

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

November 15, 2021 by Julia Weaver

Does it seem impossible to keep a clean and tidy home with kids? While we wouldn’t change a thing, kids across the country, from Oahu, HI to Buffalo, NY, have a special talent for creating chaos in our homes.

It can be a challenge to keep the home clean and organized when you have kids to take care of and don’t have much time or energy to maintain your home’s cleanliness. That’s why we’ve asked cleaning and organizing experts, professional coaches and wellbeing specialists, and rockstar parents, nannies, and teachers to weigh in on this topic. Check out their best tips and tricks, cleaning habits and routines, and tried-and-true techniques for keeping a house clean with kids.

Break cleaning into smaller tasks

When thinking about everything that needs to be done, it can feel overwhelming and often leads to avoidant behavior. So, instead of thinking “I have to clean the house,” a good cleaning habit is to pick one small area and decide to just straighten up. When the task is smaller, it is easier to tackle. Instead of leaving the time you’ll need to work on something open-ended (often a reason for not starting because you don’t think you’ll have time to finish), set a timer for 20 minutes, or even 10. At least you’ll have made progress, and once you start it may be easier to continue and do more – success breeds success. Even your children can use these concepts to reframe doing things that seem like too much work or effort so they are more ‘do-able.’ – Susan Lasky

Keep a clear space by decluttering regularly

Children, and even adults, are prone to hold on to unnecessary clutter so be sure to only keep what is meaningful. Christmas time is a perfect opportunity to donate what is no longer of use to us, but can be useful to someone else. – Comforts Cleaning Services

Find a home for everything, and label it

One tried-and-true cleaning habit is making sure that everything has a home to go to, and marking it clearly with labels. Picture labels are good for small children who can’t read. Remember, it’s always easier to keep fewer things tidy, so make sure you have a good declutter first before you organise. – The Tidy Coo

Designate a space for their toys

As a mum to a toddler and someone who does like to have a clean and tidy home my piece of advice is to create a space, if possible, for them to play and for their toys to be kept, some which they can access so you can rotate and not have everything out all of the time. – Emma Cottam, founder of Isabella and Us. and editor of Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums

Consider rotating toys available to play with

I always recommend to my clients to rotate toys so that kids don’t get overwhelmed with what they have. Kids tend to pull everything out when they are looking for that one specific toy. If toys are kept to a minimum it makes finding them so much easier and the cleanup is much more realistic for a child. – Simply Organized Nashville

Keep everyone involved and utilize a chore wheel

At summer camp, we get everyone involved at keeping the cabin clean, no matter their age. This should be no different at home. Put a chore wheel up that lists a few different chores from clearing the table to taking out the trash. Each day or week, move the wheel so that everyone shares in the duties. If you want to go further, list out the things your child needs to do each day like making their bed, caring for the pet, clothes in the hamper, etc. Score them each week out of 100 points. If they get over 80%, celebrate and have a treat! – Campfire Conversation

Turn cleaning into a “game” for your little ones

Give them short tasks, such as helping out with the dishes every evening, and link the cleaning directly to a reward. Our daughter loves a couple of gummy bears. – RezClean Houston/Jetty Carpet Cleaning

Establish a routine to get the kids involved

Have you ever heard the saying that keeping your home clean and tidy with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos? We get it. To stay on top of the mess and clutter, we recommend making it a cleaning habit to involve the children. Daily tasks coupled with a schedule creates consistency, less nagging, unsaid expectations, and a generally cleaner house. A simple routine such as unpacking the backpacks when they get home from school, then jumping right into chores, establishes consistency which kids crave as well as ownership in the home. – The Nanny Poppins Agency

Teach your children to clean up after themselves

Messes are inevitable; the trick is to stop yourself from cleaning up after your children. Instead, ask them, “What do you need to clean up this mess?” Offer assistance if needed, however, the goal is to empower children to clean up after themselves. I keep cleaning supplies such as a cordless vacuum,

dustpan, and paper towels in places that are

easy for my kids to access independently. – Calm Chaos

Acknowledge their effort and give praise

Label all baskets with pictures of the toys making them kid-accessible. Make it a game – sing a song and use timers to help with the transition for cleaning. When the timer goes off let’s see who can get the toys away the fastest. Acknowledge their efforts by giving praise. Use a family routine visual chart illustrating what is happening next. Children will learn everything has a place, but remember to have fun while you’re doing it. – Parenting Coach Online

Use this time as a learning opportunity

We believe in transforming everyday experiences into learning opportunities. To keep a clean and tidy home with kids, we suggest using clean-up time as an opportunity to teach children collaboration and responsibility. After playing with the toys, doing a craft, or eating lunch, encourage your kids to clean up after themselves or have them be your helpers. Use a code word or song to trigger the behavior, assign tasks when possible, and reward its completion with a sticker, a treat, or praise and recognize their effort. The awesome thing about this approach is that you will be cleaning as you go while creating new cleaning habits for your children. – The Stem Nanny Company

Create a dedicated space by the door

Give kids a dedicated place to drop their stuff when they come in the door. Keep it simple – I recommend a hook for jacket/bag and a basket for shoes. An empty wall in a mud or laundry room will work great for this but if you don’t have space there, get creative and carve out space in the garage, a coat closet, or even in a hallway. And, keep an empty box or bin in closets for outgrown clothes. When you notice that something is a little too tight, it’s easy to toss it in the bin then and there. This saves you from big cleanouts and once the bin is full, you know it is time to donate, pack the items up or pass the items on. – Suzette Gebhardt Creative

Something that works great for a lot of my clients is having separate bins and baskets for each kid. This can be used by the front door for them to throw their shoes into when they get home from school or play dates, or on the stairs or in the hallway if there is something they need to take with them to their rooms later. It allows kids to form a sense of responsibility for the items in their bins. Also, it relieves parents of stress of misplacing items when they have so many things going on and don’t have time to keep track of each kid’s individual items. A win-win for all. – Categorized By Katie

Connect before direct

Anytime you wish to involve your little ones in helping to keep a clean and tidy home, you must connect with them first. It is the key to cooperation, and play is the language they speak. Once that connection is established, your children are more likely to respond to your request and do it with delight. – ABC Parenting

Print chore checklists for each family member, including kids

The checklist can include things that need to be cleaned or done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and stick to it. Keep all cleaning supplies together in a caddy under the sink or laundry room so you can just pick it up and start cleaning. Pick up things that don’t belong in the room or on the floor as you go in a laundry basket, then sort by room and put them where they belong. Avoid keeping all toys out as it will clutter the room. Establish a toy rotation system where you keep each type of toy (electronic, stuff animal, doll, truck, etc) in baskets/containers and rotate the toys once the kids start getting bored of the ones that are out. – BrightLine Clean

Give your kids the responsibility of picking up their toys and personal belongings daily

Purchase a small-medium sized plastic container, label it with their name and place it outside their bedroom door, anything that is left throughout the house and belongs to them during the nightly pick up routine will be added to the bucket and it is their responsibility to empty it every night before bed. This routine eliminates lost shoes, clutter throughout the house, and creating a space children can thrive. – Houston Sweep

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