It is finally back to school! Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, but it has been a VERY busy summer and I am ready to get back into a normal schedule (working from home when your kids are also home all day, is not the easiest task!) Anyway, this new found schedule, has really got me thinking about cleaning and keeping the house livable. I really need a clean and healthy home for this coming winter!
My kiddos are at a good age to really make a dent in the messes by helping. Up until now, it has been more work when they helped- albeit necessary, but they are getting better! So, today I’ve partnered with Oreck Elevate to create a list of great easy ways to keep your house clean and TEACH your kids cleaning responsibilities at the same time. Here are 7 ways to keep your house clean easily while teaching your kids how to clean!
Tips for Cleaning with Kid’s Help
1. Create a routine!
The easiest way to make cleaning the house fast is to set up a routine and some rules.
Before the kids go to school they might need to make their bed and pick up their room. At breakfast, one child might help you unload the dishwasher while the other sets the table. Before bed, have a family quick clean dance off party with the timer set (see #2. for more about this below) Set up a couple easy routine chores, so that things don’t come as a surprise. Sometimes just knowing what needs to be done helps cut out the extra whining (sometimes!!).
As far as rules go, if you don’t have them, then don’t expect anybody to keep them! Yet, on the same note, if you have TOO many, expect no one to keep them either. Try to pick 5-7 hard and fast rules for keeping the house clean. If that means we take off shoes at the door and then put them in your cubby, (to avoid tracking in dirt and finding stuff scattered on the floor from the door to the fridge…) then perfect!
When choosing those 5-7 hard and fast rules, be on the lookout for problem areas! The spaces that always collect junk, your “hot Spots” maybe by your door, or on the end of the counter. Then select the rule that will help stop those problem areas and then follow those rules.
Doing a little each day really goes a long way. Stopping the problem (areas) before it becomes a huge mess is the perfect way to start.
2. Make it fun!
What did we learn from Snow White? We need to whistle while we work! i.e GOOD TUNES!! Cleaning is always better with some good music.
And what did we learn from Mary Poppins? Make that job a game!
Put the two together- good tunes and games and what is born? The family dance party clean up session. Before you start winding down for bed with the kids get that last bit of energy out! Turn on some tunes and dance while you straighten all the main family spaces, dance those pillows back onto the couch and sing loudly while you do it! Set a timer anywhere from 5-10 minutes, and you will be shocked how much can get done, while making good memories with your kiddos.
Keep in mind that a really motivator for kids to actually work, is working together with an adult. It feels like less of a punishment if you aren’t doing it alone.
And why not grab your Ultimate handheld vacuum for edging or shelves, getting crumbs off the couch… The best part? With a little music playing and the handheld vacuum strapped on, it makes the perfect air guitar for the dance party!
Or make a game for the kids, by grabbing your awesome Oreck Elevate vacuum anything that is left on the floor that the vacuum touches is now Mom’s stuff! See how fast they move and start picking up their stuff!!… Of course this “game” can be for fun OR for real consequences! I guess it depends on the day, and how many times you have asked them to pick up their shoes!!! (does that make me the BAD mom?)
3. Keep instructions simple!
If you tell your kiddos to clean the room, you will be guaranteed to be met with looks for horror, and whining… So instead of being vague, give one (simple) instruction at a time. For example, we start with a surface like the bed. “Please make your bed”, doesn’t feel as hard as clean your room. And the bonus is, when you bed is made, then you have the perfect surface to use to help you clean the rest of the space. Then “Put all your shoes away”. Then they can make it a game to find every single shoe! Pretty soon, the room will be clean and they will be surprised how easy it was.
Remember don’t get too caught up on being perfect and doing everything the “right way”, instead focus on teaching and accepting a good effort. They will get more coordinated and experienced with age.
4. Less is more.
It is easier to keep a few things organized than a lot of things organized! So try to experiment with keeping less stuff. If you aren’t ready to commit, do a trial run. Pack away the items you think you can live without and try it for 6 months. If you need it grab a couple things back, no problem, if you don’t, leave it in the box and at the end of 6 months let it go! (Don’t be tempted to look back through the box at the end of the six months, just let it go!)
5. Make sure everything has a place.
Only after you have cleaned everything extra out, (see step 4) is it time to make sure everything has a home. And that everyone in your home knows where that home is!! Funny story, I remember organizing my first house, but the tape dispenser kept disappearing. Come to find out, my husband thought it had a different “home” than I did. If people know where things belong they will be more likely to put it away.
If you have very young children who are not yet reading, they can also learn how to put things away in the right places!! Use bins with photographs of the toy type on the box. For example a little picture of cars for all the car toys. I’ve even surfed the web to find pictures of the exact dolls I wanted my kids to put in what bin! It works, and I even use it when helping to clean up their stuff!
6. Give choices!
We all want to feel like we have some control over our own lives and kids are no exception to this rule! If you have a child that is constantly fighting back about having to do a certain chore, try giving them the option to either take out the trash or sweep the floor. You might just have a happier child than normal sweeping the floor! Create a chore list and take turns letting each child get to pick first.
And in the spirit of making it a game, why not let your kid be the boss for 5 or 10 minutes. Let them supervise the cleaning and make sure that they know to pay strict attention to details. They may start noticing more of what needs to be done, if they are the ones telling you what to do and not being told what to do. Which will make cleaning that same space better next time, because they will remember what needs to be done, from when they were in charge!
7. Clean the surfaces
The fastest way to make your house feel clean is to clean the surfaces. Keep your counters clear, keep your sofa clear, and the floor clear, all of a sudden the house feels clean!! Try it for one day, it will be your new favorite!!
And speaking of cleaning the surfaces, when you want to get those surfaces really clean, we really love our Oreck vacuums! Yes we have two, one for upstairs and one for down! Call me lazy, but that is okay with me, cuz me and my vacuums get a lot done effortlessly!
When it comes to keeping your floors clean, a good vacuum does more than just get dirt off the carpet! The Oreck Elevate has 5 layers of HEPA Media filtration to trap at least 99.97% of the tiniest of particles at 0.3 microns, including allergens, mold spores, pollen, dander, dust and smoke. This will not only clean your floors, but keep the air quality in your home nicer and hopefully contribute into a little less dusting! So much dirt is tracked in on our shoes and gets lifted into the air! Get those tiny particles trapped and not shot back out into the air!
Secondly, I LOVE that Oreck Elevate, has the SaniSeal® system. It automatically closes upon disposal to help lock-in dirt & debris, while the extra-large capacity holds up to 4X that of a typical bagless vacuum. I will tell you- we have had bagless vacuums in the past and suction is lost quickly and it was SUCH a huge mess to clean out. Not to mention that the vacuum was always a little dirty from cleaning out the filters. How is that clean? The mess involved to empty it, negates all the vacuuming you’ve just done! Believe me bagged vacuums are SO much better, one stop for dirt and nasties- not vacuum and then the air while you try to clean the filters from emptying the bagless container.
I love the easy to carry Ultimate handheld vacuum for edging around the room, shelves, stairs, furniture and baseboards! It is so nice with the shoulder strap, to work all throughout your home quickly!
Lastly, my other favorite feature is how light my Oreck vacuums are! A tiny swivel in your wrist and the vacuum turns SO easily. In the past, I used to kick my vacuums forward since they were so heavy, but the Oreck Elevate is half the weight of other vacuums in its class*, the ELEVATE CONQUER™ delivers a complete clean without the strain of lifting traditional heavy uprights.
What works best in your family for cleaning together? Tell me about it in the comments, I would love to hear.