The summer holidays are here again. Children around the country are getting ready to unwind and blow off some steam. But if you’re trying to keep a clean and tidy house, this prove difficult over the coming weeks.
Let’s be honest: cleaning isn’t a major priority for most children these days. They want to be enjoying time with friends, playing and getting into mischief. Unfortunately, some of that mischief might be in your house.
But don’t panic. If you’re organised and prepared, you can keep your home in a relatively clean and tidy state throughout the school holidays. And if you don’t believe us, take a look at these top tips for keeping a family home clean during the summer break.
Create a set of rules
Children need rules and boundaries. And this applies to keeping a home clean and tidy, too. If you set the expectations from the outset, you can actually make life a lot easier for your kids.
For example, one of your main priorities should be a one-toy-at-a-time rule. If your child wants another toy, they must first put back the toy they already have. You can also set rules regarding where playtime happens, and at what times.
Create a home for everything
Clutter can be a huge challenge for a tidy family home. Not only does it leave a space looking messy, it makes cleaning the space incredibly difficult. Right at the beginning of the summer holidays, assign every toy and possession a home of its own.
To make things easier — and more fun — make some cute storage containers with your children. Label each one, and set out your expectations on all clutter-related matters.
Give your children responsibility
A lot of children like showing their parents they can be trusted with responsibility. It makes them feel older and more valued within the family unit. And you can leverage this for the good of your home.
Give your child a particular area of responsibility. For example, you could put your child in charge of picking up mess in the living room. It doesn’t really matter where the responsibilities lie. As long as they’re being upheld, your home should reap the rewards.
Another way to dish out responsibility is to allow children to be in charge of cleaning and tidiness for limited periods. If you have more than one child, however, make sure everyone has the opportunity to be the boss for a while.
The summer holidays can be a very chaotic time in a family home. As quickly as you clean and tidy, your kids are making more mess. It’s often easier to simply accept there will be mess — and prepare for it accordingly.
One way to do this is to create drop-zones all over your home. These are locations where toys and everyday clutter can go. At the end of each day, empty each drop-zone and return the items to their allotted home. This activity can be something you do with your children just before bedtime or first thing in the morning.
But what is a drop-zone? Well, it might be something as simple as a cardboard box with a label on it. Use waste paper baskets, bins, chests and anything that can be used to temporarily store clutter around your home.
Restrict play area access in your home
Most young children want to explore and cause mischief in as many places as possible. But this is a recipe for more housework. The more open your home is during the summer holidays, the more chores you’ll have to manage.
Why not dedicate one room in your home to playtime. Let your children make some mess in this room, but nowhere else. In fact, make the rest of your home off limits. Yes, you’ll have tidying up to do, but it will be restricted to just one space. This also makes supervision a lot easier.
Hold some cleaning lessons
Right at the beginning of the school holidays, assign key cleaning jobs as fairly as possible. But before anyone does any of their chores, demonstrate how they’re done. Talk your children through the process, show them how it’s done, and then get them to do it for you.
If your children are particularly young, you obviously won’t want them handling chemicals or using hot water. Instead, assign tidying or organising duties. Who knows? These jobs might end up being fun for your children.
Add some fun into summer holiday cleaning
If cleaning chores in your home are fun, your children will be much more receptive to your summer holiday cleaning schedules. Not only that, the standard of the work will increase dramatically.
There are several ways you can make cleaning more fun for children. For example, you can play their favourite music. You can make things competitive and award prizes for good work. Use charts and graphs to record progress. If cleaning feels like playtime, you’ll never have to persuade your children to get involved.
If children can see an obvious reward for their cleaning efforts, they’re likely to get involved without the need for persuasion. Fortunately, there are countless ways you can reward a child for a job well done. Offer 10 minutes for outdoor play for every 10 minutes spent on chores. Offer snacks and treats at the end of cleaning sessions. Or use a family day out as an incentive for keeping your home clean and tidy.
Now is the time to start planning for a long summer holiday. Children will help you to keep your home clean and tidy — but only if you manage the process in the right way.