This original article was first published here: Kids – Your Biggest Allies When Cleaning Up the House
Yes, you read that right. Train your children properly, and you have given them an important life lesson.
Although kids contribute to the chaos of clutter, you can keep it at bay when you introduce good examples and make it a lifestyle. When you speak to parents, they will tell you that you can never keep a clean house with kids but, if you have always loved the idea of having less clean up to do, then instilling cleaning up practices in your kids will help you get there.
Parents of today are not the parents of decades ago. There is a higher percentage of the population nowadays where both parents are working. It also means less time at home to clean, dust, organize and keep home.
We all want to come home to a clean house. After leaving the stressful work environment, and stressful commute home, we want to come back to a clean home. Everyone has a different version of what clean is but generally, you’re talking about a home where you can see the floor and walls, there’s nothing on it that can cause tripping hazards, no liquid spills, or dangerous items lying around. It’s also a place where it’s free from pests and rodents. A clean home is healthy – you can find things where it’s supposed to be. You can breathe, walk around, sit or sleep comfortably. It’s a place for cuddles and warmth, for having healthy meals.
A clean house also promotes better well-being, safety, and security for your child. It benefits everyone.
So how do you go about keeping a generally clean home? Here are a few tips for you:
1. Invite your kids to join you
When you clean, get your kids involved in the process. The sooner and more often you get them to join in, the more opportunities you will have to show them how to store their things, how to clean, how to keep their stuff in the right places, and also how to maintain a lifestyle that promotes minimalism. This is also a great learning opportunity for living with less material in their lives. Getting them involved in the process also tells them everyone in the house is responsible for keeping it clean and it is not only the job of the parent or the housekeeper to do it.
2. Embrace the little things
Giving things away, making space, and living with what you need are some of the important life lessons, and cascading this to your kids ensures that a rich life does not mean a materialistic life. It simply means being grateful for the things you have, using these items to their full potential, not wasting things, and living with less stuff. Your kids will be less inclined to ask or even demand gifts and present like they are entitled to them. Instead, they will view it as a luxury and will better treasure it.
3. Schedule time to clean
Hard to find time to clean? It will not be hard if you make a point for everyone in the house to do their part. At least once a month is all it takes and it doesn’t even need to be a full day. At least one Saturday each month, make it a family habit to clean all private and public spaces in the home. Delegate each kid to clean their room and make it a game to separate trash, giveaway/donation items as well as things to keep. Depending on how little your child is, give them certain tasks/spaces to clean. Smaller children can do toys, while the bigger kids get their rooms and the more adult children help you with the other chores.
4. 30 Minute Clean Ups
On other days, especially if there’s a holiday around the corner or you have guests coming soon, do a 30-minute clean-up where everyone focuses on just getting rid of the trash. Emptying the trash cans, throwing away any rubbish from bins, arranging items back into their storage, and doing surface-level cleaning is great for a quick 30 minutes. Your home will be tidied up in no time and you will have the rest of the day for family time and having guests over.
5. Determine house boundaries
Toys belong in the playroom or their designated toy baskets, books must go to their shelves, your stuff goes into your rooms and not left on the dining table or the living room. While it can and will be difficult to set these rules and see them honoured, establish them anyway because it helps prevent clutter from creeping into public living areas. This leaves our living areas uncluttered and simple.
6. Using bins and baskets to store toys
Keep cleanup simple by using bins and baskets for children to place their stuff. This also makes it easier for them to toss their stuff into such as their Lewis Is Home blankets that need washing or dirty clothes into their bins. Another good tip is to provide baskets for kids’ home clothes so they can easily take it out and also help you keep laundry away. Use picture labels to help your child identify what basket is for what item.
Instilling good habits such as cleaning up after themselves ensures that your children grow up knowing that they need to place priority on what are real necessities in life. They will also be less demanding, less needy, less impulsive, and less entitled.
Sure you can get gifts and presents but making them responsible for their own spaces means that you keep them accountable for where they live and how they live. They will also learn the value of things and will not be purchasing unnecessarily when they start earning. This is crucial as it will help reduce waste in the process and also help them make better purchasing decisions in the future.
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