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Forums Forums Group Forums Breaking Moms How do you maintain the never ending mess of having children? Reply To: How do you maintain the never ending mess of having children?

  • Bromoko1

    October 22, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Any answer to this question necessarily depends on the ages and number of children you have.

    If you have only small children and more than one of them, the only real answer I can give you is to wait until they’re older. Having young kids is hard without trying to keep the house clean on top of it. They’re tiny mess machines.

    Beyond that, I have some tips I got from a German daycare teacher who was, reportedly, really good at keeping her house orderly. She said the key is to get the kids helping clean early when they think it’s a game and don’t realize they’re cleaning. For example, put a toy in the hand and tell them we’re going to put it away (fun sing-songy voice here) and then physically help them fly the toy in whatever fun way you need to use to the place where that toy belongs and applaud wildly when the toy makes it there. Rinse wash repeat, but only as long as the kid is interested. It takes a million years. But it gets them used to helping and makes them think it’s fun. It also keeps them from making more messes elsewhere.

    I’ve always started my kids cleaning out the dishwasher at age two, mainly because they’re usually trying to throw dishes on the floor at that age anyway, so occupying them with cleaning out the silverware prevents them from breaking any of my dishes. It becomes their “job” to put the silverware away and we count the knives, forks, spoons as they do it.

    Basically, when they’re little your goal with “cleaning” is more or less to occupy them in not making more messes. If actual cleaning needs to be done, one parent needs to go out with the kids while other parent does the cleaning. Or clean after they’re in bed. Which I did a lot of when I only had little kids, but in retrospect, I was so stressed and miserable I think it would have been better for me if I had just watched a movie, read a book or taken a bath. Hire a cleaner.

    If you have bigger kids, everyone needs to help with the cleaning, period. No ifs or buts. I always remind my kids that we’re a team and if we want to have a nice house to live in, we all need to pitch in and help keep it clean. They have their own rooms to clean once a week and one other room to clean, which rotates weekly (bathroom, living room, dining room and entry) so it’s fair. BUT after that we get candy and spend the rest of the day chilling. It’s the reward.

    They also put away their own laundry and the oldest have some additional chores like taking out the trash, which happen multiple times a week and are responsible for getting it to the laundry room.

    Otherwise, I pretend I’m blind and do not see messes the rest of the week (aside from the kitchen, because for some reason we eat. every. day. multiple. times.) because I don’t need the stress on top of work and everything else. If it gets too messy, everyone else who lives here knows where the vacuum and broom are and can clean it up themselves.