A few small changes around the home can make all the difference, starting with the flooring. Some types of flooring are easier to clean than others, so despite the expense, consider replacing what you currently have with a material that can withstand your children’s food and drink spills. Sheet vinyl can be a good solution, as can hardwood and laminate flooring. Any spills can easily be mopped up, and especially with vinyl flooring, there is less chance of long-term stains. Then consider your sofa and chairs. You want something with kid-friendly fabrics, so go for microfiber, vinyl, or leather. Alternatively, if you don’t want the expense of a new set of furniture, purchase slipover covers to protect your chairs from sticky fingers and problematic spills.
#2: Set house rules
There are all kinds of rules you can set around the home, but remember to follow them yourself too if you want them to stick with your kids. For example, you might have a ‘shoes off at the door’ rule after enjoying family time outdoors. When your children are playing with something, you might want to set playtime rules, such as ‘tidy away your current toys before getting something else out.’ And you might set food rules, such as ‘only sit at the kitchen table when eating something messy.’ Children learn through boundaries, so by setting household rules, you will eventually get them into a habit of good practice.
#3: Make tidying away fun
Kids are very good at making a mess, but they are not so good at tidying things away. This is where you need to make it fun, so you might want to turn cleaning into a game – who can tidy their toys away the quickest? – or for very young children, you might want to invent a cleanup song that you all sing together as you tidy up. There are further ideas here, so use whatever works for your family.
#4: Create put-away baskets
Especially when your children are playing in the living room, purchasing a few extra baskets for your children’s toys is an excellent idea. Label them in line with the types of toys that can go in each, and then when your children have finished playing, encourage them to tidy away their games and toys into the relevant basket. You can then keep the toys in the baskets or transfer them to the relevant storage places in their bedroom.
Keeping a clean and tidy home with kids in tow isn’t easy, and there are times when you have to get used to the fact that your home isn’t always going to be sparkly clean, despite your best efforts. However, these suggestions may help you alleviate the problem of mess. And if you have any top tips, I’d love to hear them!