Monday, January 12, 2015

5 Tips for a Clean House with Little Kids

Here is why I am writing 5 Tips for a Clean House with Little Kids.

My friend was "feeling defeated" yesterday on Facebook. {Unrelated: Check out her Facebook Page on Fitness here} She posed the question - HOW do you keep your house clean with kids?

Now true, many of us - myself included has felt this way many times.

Here are some truths that were shared across the comments
- Your real friends don't care how your house looks.
- Your house will never be clean with kids except for a few times a year.
- Keep organized and get rid of excess stuff.

I really started thinking about this. I like to have a clean house. I like going to bed with a clean house. I sleep better. I am in a better mood not having to do chores right away. I also have this slightly warped thinking that it is my job to keep the house clean since I am the at home parent.

Truth be told it is hard to keep the house clean when you have little kids. (My friend's boy and Little Mister are about the same age.)

I thought about giving her all my tips right there on her comment stream, but then I thought how many other mama's would like these tips.

If you are a newer reader let me give you a peek into our lives.

Little Miss is 5.
Little Mister is 3.
Hickman #5 (the dog) is 10.
We live with my in-laws. The house is a "Quad" this means it is a Tri-Level with a completely finished basement. We live in the bottom two levels and my In-Laws live in the top two levels.  We share the kitchen (I use it more and keep it clean - to their standards, much lower than my own.)

This is how chores work on a good day.  We don't always have good days. In fact we probably have more bad days than good days.

While the kids are eating breakfast I put away the dishes from the night before.  Load up anything that has made its way to the sink. After lunch we will add all dishes and run it. While I am cooking dinner we empty it. Littles put their dishes away and silver ware. I handle what they can't reach and what could break. After dinner I toss it all in and run it.

The rest of the kitchen I clean while I am cooking dinner. To keep them occupied while I am cooking they are either getting some TV time or table play - slime, playdough, painting ... or other great goodie that I have given them that day.

The kids are responsible for cleaning up when they are responsible for keeping their toys picked up throughout the day. When they are done playing they are supposed to pick up first. This is a new skill we are working on. Little Miss is getting it, Little Mister is struggling. They get "Mommy Rules" before nap and we clean up all the toys. If Little Mister is playing with Legos I will let him keep is creation together and off to the side. Seeing that we eat not all that long after nap we do not clean up usually before dinner. They really only have one or two toys out at that time. Before bed we do the same thing, just with "Daddy Rules".

As for the bathroom, that is just my job and I wipe it down in the morning after I get ready for the day. Then I wipe it down as needed through the day. Deep cleaning of the bathroom I pick a time when Daddy can keep them occupied to do it. I also keep cleaning supplies right there in the bathroom.

When it comes to dusting - I let them help as much as possible. I use Swifters to dust this way no cleaner is needed and the kids can do all they can reach.

Windows - probably not cleaned as often as they should be. I clean them good when we are putting up our holiday window clings. Our French doors get cleaned much more often since we paint on them and use dry erase crayons on them weekly. I do this during nap/quiet time.

Laundry - it is the worst thing at our house. It seems like it is never folded or put away. If it's not in the hampers clean it is the mountain that needs be cleaned.

Here are some tips that have helped my Littles.

1. Let them help you.
They want to be big helpers, so let them.

2. Chores
Even at 3 they are not too young for responsibilities. Little Mister's job is to get the garbage bag when Daddy changes the trash. They both help feed the dog. Little Miss has to clean up the table after eating.

3. Reward Jars
Starting a reward jar is probably the best thing we have ever done for behavior management. It is better than a sticker chart because they can earn and lose pompoms as they work toward a reward.

4. Acceptance
There are times that they are not going to want to do their chores. Remember we all have times we don't want to do what we have to do.

5. Games make everything more fun.
I remember as a kid we raced to see who could do what first when it came to chores.

Bonus: Keep the cleaning supplies that you need for that room in the room or super close.
One thing I have to remind myself often. Do I want it done or do I want it done my way. I am happier when it is just done.


  1. I get asked this question often and for me the answer is getting my kids to help. I wash, dry, and fold all the laundry but the kids put it away. They have chores including cleaning their own bathroom which is awesome now that they know how. It took six months to teach them how to clean the bathroom but it was worth it. Like you we clean throughout the day and all toys are cleaned up before nap and bedtime. It stresses me out to wake up to a mess.

    1. Thank you for commenting! I look forward to more and more that they learn to help out with things.

      Have a great night.


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