Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Simple Tips To Encourage Kids To Keep A Tidy Home

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Simple Tips To Encourage Kids To Keep A Tidy Home

How to encourage kids to keep a tidy home

One of the biggest adaptations for me when entering motherhood was accepting the fact that it was no longer just me & my partner (who also enjoys a nice, clean, tidy home!) who were impacting on how our home looked - now there are little people here too....little people who make a mess....little people who own probably a million times more things than we do and love to leave those things trailing behind them from room to room!

Of course I don't want to be one of those parents who refuses to let the kids have toys out, I'd rather just invest in a little mummy & daddy hideaway/craft room in the form of no-kids allowed sheds in the garden and let them take over the house! But still...you don't want to let the place go entirely to the dogs!

It also came as quite a shock to me just how grubby children can get - it never ceases to amaze me that no matter how often I bathe my toddler, no matter how many times per day I help him to wash his hands, no matter how many times per hour I attack him with baby wipes - he seems to be eternally grubby. What is this mystic muck all over his fingers?! Where does it come from?! And how does it keep coming back?!

These are questions I will probably never have the answer to...but along the way I have started to find little hacks in life as a Mum, little ways to make it easier to keep a home clean and tidy without impacting on the fun aspect for the kids.

Today, I'm sharing them in the hopes they might just be useful to somebody out there!

1) Introduce the Kids to the concept of cleaning early on - and get them involved!

A big part of children understanding that you want to keep your home clean is helping them to understand two things - 
1 - WHY you want a clean home
2 - How to achieve that.

Take the time to teach them about germs and why we don't want them around - it's easy enough to put this across even at toddler level, to explain that if things get dirty then germs can live there and if germs get into our tummies they can make us feel poorly. 

Then set about explaining how you clean things and why. My toddler loves to follow us around as we clean, ask why we're doing things and ask if he can help - sure its tempting to brush off his 18th question with a quick answer and it's easier and quicker to clean without his "Help" but it's important to let him be involved and help him understand why its important.

We recently brought home a very light weight cordless Vax (which is AMAZING! You can read our full review here) that my son is able to use and loves! - he used to be quite scared of the vacuum but once we sat him down and explained what it does and why we use it he suddenly developed a real interest in it, and now whenever we're cleaning - pushing the vacuum around the living room is his special job!


2) Make tidying up part of playtime, and try your best to make it fun

Getting all of your toys out is fun, but walking away afterwards and leaving it all for mum to tidy up can get old quickly - try to instill the knowledge that tidy up follows playtime, and as soon as we're done playing with something it goes back to its home so that nothing gets lost or broken, and we know its packed away safely for next time.

I used to work at nurseries where we would always sing a simple "Tidy Up Time" song when it was time to put the toys away, and I`ve found that using that song really helps my son to recognise that its time to start clearing away and that he is expected to do his share if I help him too - as soon as I sing the first line he starts to giggle and pack things away, it's a part of the playtime routine to him and it makes it more fun.

I also use the "basket" technique - at the end of each day, I go around the house with a basket and collect up any toys or bits & pieces I find laying around - then I put the basket on the living room floor and say that anything still in that basket and not in its home in 5 minutes is going to the bin - you can guarantee its always empty when I come back 5 minutes later!

3) Introduce a routine & reward system

Ironically for me, someone not a big believer in routine with children,  I DO implement a routine when it comes to tidying away - every day before dinner while I`m cooking I sing out "Tidy Up Time" and state that everything needs to be away before dinner is served. The house is then nice and tidy for us to sit and enjoy our dinner, and my son knows that after tidying away he's rewarded with dinner and dessert.

4) Set a "No Shoes Indoors" rule

Shoes carry in dirt and muck from outside, so rather than risk having it trodden through the house - if shoes are put away as soon as we're through the front door, then the risk of that is eliminated and the carpets are kept much cleaner. Simple!

5) Introduce good habits

As our children grow up, we teach them how to use the toilet, how to wash their hands, etc.

Whilst teaching these everyday important life skills, it's not much extra work to teach some good habits alongside them - for example, teach them that after they've used the toilet, they wipe the seat before they flush. 

Teach them that after they wash their hands, they dry the sink and the taps over to keep them looking nice, and that after drying their hands they fold and replace the towel rather than scrunch it up or drop it on the floor.

If these expectations are set from the start and children are taught to do these things, they become habits and make for a much more pleasant bathroom experience for the next person going in!

6) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

Preparation is half the battle, and anything you can do to prepare for the next day saves you time and can only be a good thing.

If you can prep veg or any other food for the next days dinner the night before, do it! Prep lunches the night before. Lay out the next days clothes ready for the morning rush without the need to go through wardrobes looking for lost items and have clothes strewn all over. 

I hope these tips are helpful, they are all very simple but I have noticed a real difference since implementing them myself.

What little things do you do to help keep your home tidier?

If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me on Bloglovin'
  
  

3 comments:

  1. Really needed to read this today! My boys are refusing to tidy all the time and it drives me insane! Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It does get harder the older they get but usually threatening to take away a games console/tablet works in my house!

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are great tips. My eldest has started to enjoy tidying. She tidied her whole bedroom by herself yesterday. She likes to have that praise at the end of doing it and she feels proud of herself. My youngest is a little different. I have to make it as a game, we have a race and maybe some odd dance moves in between haha! xxx

    ReplyDelete

If you're feeling generous, please consider leaving me a comment as they brighten up my days and make me feel all warm inside!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me at sparkles_blog@hotmail.co.uk or tweet me @sparkles_blog