I am a Swiffer Fanatic and received compensation and product for this article, but I am a long time Swiffer user and all opinions are my own.
I recently read a tongue in cheek article on keeping the house clean with kids. Strategies included gems like don’t purchase any toys, don’t allow the kids to have crayons, and never feed the children anything crumbly. From my experience, toddlers can be little mess magnets, so I am not sure these strategies will work. I vividly recall my daughter, in a fit of jealousy over her new brother, writing a three foot high circle of the word “NO” on her bedroom wall. Thanks to my slightly OCD tendencies, (read this as huge messes give me eye twitches), I discovered five tips to keep my home clean with toddlers that work. Really.
1. Keep toddler sized storage bins available. I found my children were much more willing to help clean if they had a designated place to store their toys. I purchased several small bins and a wooden storage rack. I left the bins on their level so they could find toys (and put them back) easily.
2. Pick Up Toys Each Night Before Bed. One way I tricked helped my children learn to pick up toys was the “Bedtime Clean Up Game.” Every evening before bed, I told the kids it was time for the clean up game using my most excited voice. The kids had 60 seconds to see how many toys they could pick up and put away. And, of course, I helped. I used a timer, yelled “Go!” and saw how many toys could be put away. The kids always tried to beat me to see how many toys could be put away.
3. Rotate Toys. One way I learned to prevent boredom, keep the kids from asking for new toys, and keep the house cleaner was a toy rotation. If I saw a toy the kids seemed to be bored with, and there were usually several, I placed them in a box in the attic. When the kids seemed bored with toys in their room, I replaced the toys with my attic stash. I often heard them saying, “Hey! I forgot we had this!”
4. Declutter. Have the kids outgrown the toy? Do they no longer seem interested even after the toy has returned from the toy rotation? Donate the toy or sell the toy in a yard sale or a consignment store for some extra cash. Just don’t make the mistake of bringing home more than you donated or sold!
5. Use Swiffer Products. According to the second annual Swiffer Cleaning Index, while the majority (72%) of parents feel that letting kids make a mess helps encourage their creativity, nearly all (95%) have said “no” their kids’ request because of the mess it could make. I’ve been a huge fan of my Swiffer Sweeper and my Swiffer Wet Jet since its inception and still use then at least once a day to clean up after the kids and cats. The Wet Jet is a great tool for helping clean those spot messes the kids used to make with paint, crayons and crumbly food. I’m sharing a Swiffer Surprise box with one of our friends who has 3 children ages seven, five and two. I had to drop them off at work so she got to check out her first Swiffer products there before taking them home. Hopefully, it will make it easier for her to “Say Yes to the Mess” of toddlers.
What are your best tips for keeping a home clean with toddlers and kids?