Ideas for Keeping a House With Toddlers Clean

I'm a young mom of two toddlers. One is 3 yrs old and the other is 17 months. I find I am constantly picking up after them, it's kinda overwhelming. And also at the end of the day I am tired and don't wanna do much cleaning after they go to bed. I am the type of person that needs 8- 9 hrs a night.

One of the ideas I have come up with is to put them in their bedroom with a baby gate and sweep and mop the floor for 30 minutes. And just play with them in the bedroom until the floor dries. What are some of your ideas to keep your house clean with your kids, babies, etc.?

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By Krystal from Kenora, Ontario

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

I would begin training the three year old to learn to pick up after themselves and put their toys away. Children love to flit from one toy to another and then leave it. Let each one have a couple of toys out at a time and then see the oldest child puts the toys up before getting out something else or trade it for another. This is the only way I know you will get some rest and make your day of work lighter. The youngest will learn from the older child by observation and do the same when it's older or catches on to the task expected.

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November 13, 20100 found this helpful

This is a creative, instructive and often successful idea that works with many toddlers and can be more specifically defined as the kids get older. Your three year old should be able to "get it" and with any luck, the 17 month old may decide to follow suit, at least for a few minutes. :)

Have a "Five Minute Pick up Party" at least once a day. Schedule it before a favorite activity (snack-time, play time, reading time, etc.)

*Set up a toy box, card board box, laundry basket (whatever you have) in a central location.

*Put on some hyper kiddie music, to get the kids excited.

*Set a timer for five minutes and make a big deal about saying "On your mark. Get set. GO!."

*Have the kids pick up as many toys, games, books, etc., as they can and put them in the box or laundry basket before the timer goes off.

*Make a big deal about their accomplishments when the timer goes off and move on to the fun activity as quickly as possible.

This is not a perfect solution, but at least it will get a good deal of the clutter into one spot. You could set your own timer, after the kids nap or go to bed, for 10-15 minutes to sort out the things that really don't belong in a toy box. (The timer thing is easier for us adults, too, knowing we can get on to more desired activities . . . sleeping :) :) :) . . . after just a few minutes work.)

Hope this is helpful.

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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

I work with babies/toddlers, and a seventeen month old is old enough to help pick up, too! But a whole day's worth of toys is far too overwhelming for the kids. Start to establish hourly clean up times; and encourage them to learn to put one toy away before taking out another. If they have a lot of toys (like so many of our kids); try separating them out into bins or boxes, and only bring one bin or box out at a time. Engaging them in an activity in another room while you mop is fine; but you should not need to do that for any other cleaning task (unless there are cleaning chemicals involved--but you can minimize those). Even your little one should be able to engage him/herself for ten minutes at a time if you are in view; so you can alternate work and play.

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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

As soon as my kids could walk when it was nap time or bed time, we spent awhile picking their stuff up and putting it away. This way they were learning to pick up after themselves. My kids also didn't have any really small toys (they make more of a mess). When they wanted to color they had to sit at the table and do it, that way the crayons didn't get scattered all over and there was no coloring on the walls, etc. Also if kids have an over abundance of toys there is more of a mess. When my girls got a new doll the old one was gotten rid of. They only really need one at a time. The same could apply to boys and their cars, trucks, etc. Barbie junk makes a mess because it is so little, as does GI Joe stuff. Games were never kept where they could reach them that way pieces didn't get scattered all over and lost. They also sat at the table to play games. Story books were kept out of their reach until they were old enough to respect the books. That way the books didn't get torn, etc. When my girls were really little each one of them had a cardboard box that was about 24x18x18, and all of their toys fit in that box. After they got older and wanted to play dress up, etc. they shared a larger toy box, that besides regular toys had my old formal from high school, my wedding dress, and some of my other dressier clothes in it.

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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

I got tired of the mess and had the boys each pick out a few of their favorite toys. The rest went into storage. This made a huge difference and it was easy for them to tidy up. Each month the box came out and they traded toys. My children loved age specific work books and would spend half an hour or so at the table which enable me to get things done without disturbances.

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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with RedHatter, if the kids are old enough to grab a toy and play with it, they are old enough to learn how to put them away. I have no kids, but sometimes play 'games' with my cousins that the last one to finish their chore is a rotten egg, or that they get dessert once everything is off the floor. Make it fun, and quick! Soon enough your youngest will be helping too. =)

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

Oh Redhaterb, it broke my heart to hear you say you threw away the old dolls. What if they were attached to them? The most beautiful wedding I ever went to was one where the mother of the bride had all her daughter's dolls dressed in wedding gowns that she had made over the years. They were all placed on a table at the reception.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

I have a daycare in my home. I have several large Rubbermaid bins with lids. Each bin has a different type of toy in it; one is full of blocks, one has cars, trucks and race car tracks, one has dolls and furniture, one has puppets, masks and stuffed toys, etc. Each bin has toys that "go together." I pasted pictures of the toys on the outside of the bins. The kids pick one bin to play with, when they get bored, we pick up those toys and put them in the bin, then they pick out another bin. All the toys get put away before we get out another bin. As soon as the kids leave, I put supper on to cook. While it's cooking, I sweep and mop the floors, then I have a clean floor AND some time to relax before bed!

The big bins are easier for the kids to put toys into than most other storage containers. I also have one of those shelving systems with the brightly colored baskets. They LOOK cute, but are pretty useless as most kids have more toys than what fit into the little baskets! And toy boxes aren't very good, because EVERY kid just HAS to dump out ALL the toys! And also, a piece of advice from a mom whose kids have grown up and moved away; relax, enjoy the mess, it only lasts a few years and then you will be wishing for those little kids and their mess to be back again!

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

I suggest having only a limited asst of toys available to them. Rotate batches of toys every few days. That way there will be a limited number of items to be scattered and the toys will always seem new to the kids.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

All of the previous hints are good. I'd like to offer my suggestion. I'm a "granny" of 4 (21, 19, 10, and 4). I spent too much time when my girls were young worrying about picking up toys and cleaning their rooms to the point of almost obsessing. I, too, was a young Mom and know that it can be overwhelming. When you're feeling stressed, take a breath/pause, thank God for your blessings, don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy your kids, especially while they're young. Trust me, they grow up way too fast. (At least they sometimes bless you with grandchildren.) Have fun and God Bless!

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November 19, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks so much for your feedback! I find that these ideas can be very useful to me. :)

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