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Remember Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoons? He was constantly surrounded by a cloud of dirt, and everything he touched was left with streaks of filth. Most children remind me a lot of Pigpen.
Have you seen the meme on Facebook that says, “Trying to clean your house with kids in it is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos.” It’s funny because it’s true! Kids represent a special challenge in the struggle to keep a clean house, but it IS possible to keep a handle on things with little ones under your roof.
I have a 14-year-old, and 7-year-old twin stepsons, and it has taken us several years to find a way to allow them the freedom to have fun without our house looking like the Chernobyl aftermath. Today I am going to share a few tips for keeping the disaster-waiting-to-happen under control.
Limit Their Toys
Yep. I’m that mean mom. Your kids don’t need 19363526 pieces of plastic to have a great childhood, and I dare say they will be better for eliminating the junky toys out of their lives.
But seriously, if YOU are overwhelmed with how many toys your kids have, I promise they are too! Be intentional with the toys you allow in your home, and set a limit on how many you allow. Whether it’s as many as will fit in the toy box, or a certain number, decide on the amount and stick to it.
With the holidays coming up, be more intentional with the gifts you give your children and allow in the house. We tend to do one larger present, like a tablet, instead of a bunch of little toys.
Keep a Strict Routine
Some kids are going to be naturally neater than others, but if you have a hoarder-in-the-making like I do, then a routine is going to be your best friend.
Every day she’s expected to make her bed, feed the dogs, and a few other chores around the house. It can be easy to let that routine slide in the early morning craziness, but The longer we have stuck to it, the more I have seen her actually take responsibility for keeping her space clean.
I think some kids just get so overwhelmed by the mass that they don’t know where to start, so they don’t start at all. If you break it down into a few daily chores, you may not be able to eat off of their floor, but it will go long ways to keeping your house tidy.
Teach Them To Pick Up After Themselves
Sometimes it is just easier to do it yourself. I totally get that. But if you don’t follow through on making your kids pick up after themselves, you are creating a monster that you will be cleaning after until they are an adult. Decide what consequences there will be (i.e. taking the toy away, time out) and STICK TO IT.
If you are short on space it can be hard to keep the toys separate from your living area, but if your kids have their own room or play area, try to keep the bulk of the mess in there. My kids aren’t allowed to set up racetracks in the living room because we have a big, open basement they can do it in.
Keeping your house clean when you have kids can seem like an uphill battle, but it is possible to at least stem the chaos.
This is the 17th post in my series 31 Days To A Clean House