Kids and a Clean House: Can You Have Both? Absolutely.
January 15, 2020 | by kevin gardner
When you're a parent, the idea of having a clean house seems to be more of a pipe dream than anything. However, having a clean house can be more than a nice feeling and wishful thinking, it's also an important step in keeping a healthy, safe home for your little ones. How can you create a realistically sustainable balance between your role as a parent (and your family living life in your home) while also maintaining a clean house?
Make It A Family Affair
Leave the bigger tasks, like vacuuming and oven cleaning to you and your partner. Little ones love to feel important, so make helping you clean one of their special, most important grown-up tasks. Starting them young, adjusting their tasks according to age will get your kids into good habits early on, plus when they help it lightens the load, even if it’s just a little. Some of the tasks that even the littlest kids can help with might include:
- Sorting the silverware/unloading the dishwasher (within their reach)
- Putting their toys away
- Folding/Sorting the laundry (This can be a test of your patience and make you grit your teeth, but the more you have them practice the better they will become!)
- Sweeping the kitchen/small area of the house
Remember that kids need training in order to develop good habits. It takes some practice (patience) and time, but before you know it you'll have the house running like a well-oiled machine as everyone does their part.
Find A Babysitter
Even when your kids do their chores that doesn't mean that the rest of your home is magically cleaned as well. Or, if you’re at the stage where the kids are more underfoot than handy helper, consider calling in reinforcements to help you. Ask a friend or relative to come by and hang out with the kids while you get the bulk of the housework done. While you have someone there with the kids, take advantage of the time to do the more arduous tasks like:
- Cleaning out the refrigerator
- Changing and washing bedding, including pillows and mattress protectors
- Sorting through closets/cabinets and getting rid of items
- Giving the kitchen a deep, thorough cleaning
Don't feel guilty about asking someone to come over while you get things done; it's not like you make this an everyday occurrence, plus, dollars to doughnuts, a loved one will be delighted to have an excuse to see you and the kids. Even an extra hour is worth it!
Adopt a Schedule
If it feels overwhelming to leave the housecleaning to Saturday morning (or your cleaning day of choice), sprinkle tasks out throughout the week, so that you’re maintaining versus feeling overwhelmed by EVERYTHING at once. You can break things up into daily tasks and establish what things can be filed under weekly, monthly, quarterly, or seasonal tasks.
There are a massive variety of cleaning schedules to choose from, here’s one that we like (that you could adjust to accommodate the realities of your family’s life):
Daily Tasks (<<<swipe>>>):
Hire A Housekeeper
If you read that title and laughed to yourself, give it some thought: Why shouldn't you hire a housekeeper? If you think you can't afford it, think again; if you check hourly rates for maid service in your area, you will likely be pleasantly surprised. The pros of hiring a housekeeper far outweigh the cons, some of the best perks being:
● Letting someone else do the work for you frees up your time, which means you get to spend extra time with your family. If cleaning is taking away precious time with your kids and partner, isn't a cleaning service worth the money?
● The stress is taken off of you and you can spend less time psyching yourself out over the dirty dishes in the sink and the expired mayonnaise in the fridge and devote your thoughts to more important things.
● It's just nice having the work already done when you walk in the door! Your house smells, looks and feels good, and you feel better too.
Hiring a housekeeper is not for everybody, but if you think that it might be worth it then give it a trial run at least once. If you aren't happy with the results, then you can always stop service.
Although you don't let your home become dangerously messy, it's true that you no longer have the same time that you used to have before you had children. Figure out ways to make the burden fall less on you without hindering your role as a parent.
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS. As busy as he is with his career, Kevin has made his family a priority and has found creative ways to give them the time they deserve. Whenever possible, he writes about his experiences and shares them to help others.
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