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When you have small children, keeping your house tidy is an uphill battle. Between the ocean of discarded toys and that mysterious green splat on the wall, the mess our kids can make is often surprising.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though! With a few smart techniques, you can keep a tidy house when you have little mess-makers. Here’s how.
Pick your battles
Before we get into this, a disclaimer: you’re not the only parent struggling to keep things tidy in your home. It’s a mammoth task for some, so give yourself a pat on the back for at least trying to keep things nice and tidy (the least of your worries when you have kids).
Let your children be the ‘boss’
If you have more than one child, let them take turns being the ‘boss’. This means putting them in charge of tidying duties and supervising your other children so that everything gets picked up and put away. They’ll relish bossing their siblings about (just make sure they’re not too bossy).
Make daily sweeps around the house
Instead of tackling the mess at the end of the week when it’s at its absolute worse, do your best to spend 10 minutes or so at the end of every day to *quickly* pick everything up. Put things back where they came from and, basically, tackle the small things. This way, you’ll maintain a (more or less) clean and tidy house. It also pays to get the kids out of the house doing physical activities – not only does it keep them fit, it keeps them from causing havoc inside the house!
Get the whole family involved
If it feels like you’re going it alone, you don’t have to! It may seem easier to just do it all yourself, but teaching your children to do (age appropriate) jobs around the house will definitely benefit the both of you.
Know the high traffic areas
You’ll soon learn which parts of your house are frequented by your children the most – if not, get to know it like the back of your hand! Focus on keeping these high traffic areas as clean as possible because when you do, you will prevent the spread of dirt and dust throughout the house.
Set up ‘dumping grounds’
Have a few preselected ‘dumping grounds’ around the house where, if you’re in a rush and you only have a few minutes spare to have a quick cleanup, you put things away in your dumping areas until you have time for a proper cleanup. A good dumping ground may be a laundry basket or the space beneath the stairs; anywhere you can stow things away while you go about your business!
Try not to buy new things for the kids unless it’s a birthday or holiday
While it’s nice to treat your children, if you do it too much you’ll start to stockpile things and, before you know it, you’re all sitting atop a mountain of toys and cleaning up after the little ones just gets harder. It’s a tough rule to follow, but it works.
It’s also good for encouraging your children’s imagination and resourcefulness – it’s a well known fact that when kids are surrounded by everything they’ve ever wanted, their imagination tends to wind down a little. Children who have less generally play longer with the toys they do have, and appreciate them more over time.
Have a special toy box
Our last tip is to have a special toy box in which you put toys that your children have left lying around and not put away – the box will be out of their reach for a short period of time so they will learn to put them away properly. It might seem a bit harsh, but it works!
If you’re looking for toys for your children, check out Toys For A Pound – they have a vast range of affordable yet high-quality toys that your children will love.