Now that my five kids are well past the “little” phase, it is much easier now than ever to whip the house into shape, but it hasn’t always been that way. Here are some tips I’ve learned from years with and without helpful kids!
When Mama's Cleaning Alone
At one point, I was pregnant with our fifth child and had four kids under the age of five! Here are a few tips I discovered that can make cleaning enjoyable and doable:
- I focused on cleaning throughout the day in spurts. It is a rare opportunity to have several uninterrupted hours to focus on a project, so I chose several ten- to fifteen-minute sessions to do quick pickups.
- I left the heavy duty cleaning until I had a little help. My husband had the weekends off, and I would often scrub the bathrooms, clean out the fridge, or organize a closet when he could play with the little ones or watch them for about an hour.
- Use naptime wisely. Don’t burn out thinking that every sleeping moment of a baby’s or toddler’s life has to be spent “catching up” on housework. Spend a little time cleaning and a little time for yourself!
Cleaning with the Kids
As children get older, the time comes to pull them into the cleaning process. It’s a rare sight to see children enjoy clean up time, but whether it’s cleaning the bathrooms or straightening up after school, here are three things that can make it enjoyable.
Children would much rather clean and tidy with parents than on their own. When it’s time to clean, do it together! Not only does this allow for you to watch over the process, keeping it within a reasonable time frame, but it allows for meaningful conversations to occur during the process.
Whistle while you work
Nothing motivates moving around like music. When it’s time to scrub floors in our home, I put on some music with a beat, and we sing together while we clean. It not only makes the time go by faster, but it builds lasting memories when Mom hits the wrong note!
Set the timer
Cleaning is more enjoyable when it is not a process that takes up an entire day. Set a reasonable goal for what you would like to accomplish and communicate it clearly with your children. If they know the end goal, they have something to work toward.