Are you drowning in trying to keep the house clean with kids? Well, we have 7 simple tips on how to keep a house tidy with toddlers that you can do today!
7 Simple Tips on How to Keep your House Clean with Toddlers
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If you have little kids (or even big kids!) you might feel like it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep your house clean! Every time you pick up a toy your little ones are right behind you dumping out the toys…again. Sound familiar?
I feel like there are some days I just can’t get ahead and it totally stresses me out! It stresses out Ty even more. He walks in the door some days and literally the house looks like a bomb has exploded. This makes him irritable and just makes the whole night go bad. So I decided to figure out how to keep the house clean and organized with toddlers and when I did this it changed the whole dynamic of our home! So, how do you keep your house clean?
Here we are sharing all our secrets that work to keeping your house clean!
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Get on the Same Page
The first step to keeping your house clean with little kids is to get on the same page. Talk as a family and come up with a plan as to how you can work together to keep the house clean. If you have older kids have them team up with one of the younger kids so that they can help them put their laundry away or make their bed. Having a buddy can help teach your little ones how to clean up after themselves and teaches them responsibility. If you don’t have any big kids to help you can be your little ones’ big buddy and show them how to make their bed the right way and which toys the bins go in.
Make Cleaning a Priority
I am going to be completely honest with you… one of the secrets to keeping your house clean with toddlers is to decide to make cleaning a priority. I know, it’s something you didn’t want to hear because cleaning isn’t really something we like to do. I am going to be really honest for so many months I literally shrugged my shoulders and thought, “What’s the point? It’s just going to get messy again.” I refused to do laundry until it was absolutely necessary and the bathrooms, well they looked like the boy’s locker room at the local high school.
Well, the minute I made cleaning a priority, the house started to magically get clean (because I cared about cleaning!)
For me, having a schedule helps me make cleaning a priority. I get so stressed thinking of EVERYTHING that needs to be done. But once I started following a schedule or a to-do list, cleaning became SO MUCH easier because I only had to focus on one thing. Trust me, following a cleaning schedule, will seriously help you stress less over cleaning and will actually help you get your cleaning done.
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Set Playtime Rules
Okay, this may sound silly. And you may be asking yourself why rules for playtime? Isn’t that just me policing everything they do? Well, it’s really not that bad, and it will make keeping your house tidy a million time easier! All you have to do is try some of these tricks and your life will feel so much freer!
Try setting the rule that only one toy at a time can be played with. I know it may sound ridiculous, but I don’t mean one doll, one car, or one action figure. It’s more like one type, or one container at a time. If your toddler dumped out all of the blocks and is done playing just tell them that to get the next toy out those blocks need to be put away first.
But what do you do when they don’t follow the rules? Well, if they dump out all the blocks but won’t put them away before the next toy comes out then confiscate the blocks because they broke the rules. This is super easy for them to understand. You may only need to do it a couple of times. Just make sure it is super easy for them to earn the toy back.
If they ask for their blocks they can help you do a chore around the house like emptying the trash can or helping put a pile of clothes away in their dresser. None of the kids want to do extra chores, which makes them more likely to remember to put away their toys in the first place.
Another playtime hack is to make a designated play area. If you don’t want toys thrown about the house then pick just a room or two and make those the only places the toys go. It might be nice if this room has doors so you can close it off if you need to.
As soon as I did this my house automatically looked 100 times cleaner because I wasn’t stepping on toys while trying to make dinner or while vacuuming the living room. Having a designated toy play area will save your life!
If your house is small and you don’t have enough space for a designated room don’t worry, you can still have an organized house. Just set rules that toys can’t go in certain areas like the kitchen or maybe they can’t leave the carpet areas. Any little rule as to where the toys can and cannot be played will help your house look 100 times better AND it’ll help you keep your sanity.
Tidy Up Often
Have you ever let things get so bad that you finally just have to clean your house and it takes hours to do? Yeah…not fun! Yes, your house is finally clean but it literally took all day and now your back hurts and your feet and you never want to clean again? I was sick of just letting things pile up and then spend literally hours cleaning the WHOLE house. That is when I discovered how this simple trick and it changed my life.
The easiest way to keep a house tidy with toddlers is to tidy up often. Don’t let things pile up! Whenever you leave a room see if there is anything in there that doesn’t belong and put those things back in their proper place. That’s it! You can also just pick up the little messes that are left over at the end of the day so you can start the new day with a clean home. Stop spending hours cleaning up! Take 5 minutes to pick up here and there and your house will look way cleaner!
One thing I make sure I always do is to have all the toys picked up at bedtime, that way I can wake up to a clean house! Nothing is worse than waking up to toys everywhere or stepping on them in the middle of the night to get to your crying baby! (Trust me on this one!)
Another way to make it so there isn’t so much stuff to clean up is to get rid of things you don’t use anymore. Take 5 minutes in each room and look to see what you can donate. Less stuff means fewer things to make a mess!
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If you feel like you have too many toys try a toy rotating system where only certain toys are out during that week. It’s fewer toys for them to throw everywhere and they get excited each week at the new toys they get to play with!
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Make Clean Up Time Fun
Who said cleaning needs to be boring? Crank up those tunes and let the cleaning party begin! Whether it’s a cleanup song that your toddlers sing along to or if it’s your favorite hits play some music and get everyone involved in the cleaning dance party.
Make a game out of clean up! Set a timer for a certain amount of time and see how much you can pick up! Or you can set a stopwatch to see how long it takes for your toddler to keep up their toys. Each time it’s time to clean up see if they can beat their last time. Your toddlers will LOVE trying to beat the clock for their new personal record and you’ll love that you are teaching your kids how to clean up after themselves while maintaining a clean house! Can’t you just see your house getting tidier already?!
Set Reasonable Expectations
Don’t expect your house to look as if a maid lives with you or that you don’t have kids living there! You DO have toddlers living in your home which means there WILL be messes. But you can have a smaller mess or even an organized mess by doing little things every day.
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If you aren’t feeling well don’t push yourself! You don’t have to do it all on your own. Your toddler can help, and so can your spouse and older kids. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is once you stay on it! Your hours of crazy cleaning will be spread out into 5-minute chunks throughout the day making it much more manageable.
Let everyone know that you expect the house to be tidy, not spotless. Make sure that when you involve your toddler that you have reasonable expectations for them too. Thinking that they are going to clean up the whole playroom by themselves is expecting a little much. But having them help you clean up the playroom is much more reasonable.
Take Care of Yourself
Okay let’s face it, how are you supposed to keep your house tidy with toddlers if you don’t even take care of yourself? Oftentimes we don’t feel like we are the first priority, but we are! If you don’t take care of yourself then you can’t take care of anyone else, and you especially can’t keep the house tidy.
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You may think you have no time, but there are ways to still do this. You can wake up before your kids to take care of your daily needs. Take a bath, have some quiet reading time, or do whatever you need to help you feel good. It could be doing your makeup every day or maybe just showering! I know that when get to take a shower by myself with my toddler banging on the door it feels like a mini-vacation.
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You can learn how to keep a house tidy with toddlers, it just takes a little bit of practice. Remember that there will days (or even weeks) where you can’t stay on top of it as much as you like and that is okay! You have toddlers, which is basically the same thing as having a tornado in your house so cut yourself some slack! But by making cleaning a priority, having your toddler help, and working on it for just 5 minutes at a time you’ll be able to be much better at keeping a tidy home. We are rooting for you!
LOOKING FOR MORE TIPS ON KEEPING THE HOUSE CLEAN?
- 5 Reasons why fewer toys is better
- How to teach kids to get rid of toys
- The stay at home mom survival guide
- Laundry Tips and Tricks for the Busy Mom
Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!