How to stay sane while your kids are home with you all summer {Part 4}

Cleaning. It’s not usually thought of as fun, but we can make it as fun as possible by playing our favorite music while we clean.  Scents make everything more enjoyable, so pick your favorite one and get it in a room spray, candle, essential oil, or wax melt.


The most important part of keeping a clean house while everyone is home all day is for everyone to clean up after themselves.  That is WAY easier said than done. I know. Unless you start instilling that habit young, it’s nearly impossible to retrain it into anyone’s habitual routine.  If your kids are under 4, you are golden. Teach them NOW! If they are over 4, then “just” have them clean up what they messed up before moving onto the next activity.  You can expect to have to remind them over and over again. This is not a reason to be dismayed or annoyed at them. It is your job as a parent to teach them.

Getting rid of toys (or whatever has to be cleaned or picked up continuously) is a wonderful way to reduce the amount of time tidying and reminding.  For example, only have one place setting of dishes and silverware per person to get dirty. Don’t have more toys available to play with than your children can clean up on their own without a meltdown.  It’s not a punishment. It’s scaling things down to their developmental level.

If you WANT to pick up for them, well, you’re reading the wrong blog...LOL!

Once you have the environment ready for success, you need to add times for cleaning to your daily routine.  You don’t want to nag all day long. Let the blanket fort stay up until __ o’clock each day. For example, everyone picks up the living room before lunch, dinner, and before bed.  The floors are swept or vacuumed every day right after breakfast. The laundry is put away right after lunch. Just pick a time, so you know when to expect it to be done by and they know how long they have to get it done.  If you have a separate playroom, then you could let things stay a mess until the end of the day, but don’t let it go until it reaches a point where they can’t clean it by themselves. Dishes are unloaded before each meal, so that the dishwasher is empty for loading at the end of each meal.  Or, if you limit the number of dishes available, each person can hand wash their own set, dry, and put them away.

Chores were always rotated between my three kids.  They would each do one group for one week and then switch.  I grouped them in the following ways.

Group 1: wash dishes & clean sink

Group 2: counters, table, floor, & put away leftovers

Group 3: put away dishes, clean kid bathroom, & cook

I did not pay them for these services.  They got to live and eat here for free. However, if they wanted to do extra cleaning like mopping, vacuuming, and clean my bathroom, they could do that to earn a little money.  

Most moms don’t want to let anyone in their laundry room or kitchen.  I challenge you to teach your children to cook and do laundry. You just need a stool for the kiddos who can’t reach the knobs on the washer, the bowl on the counter, or the faucet on the kitchen sink.