10 simple tips for keeping your home clean and hygienic with kids

By Emma Norris  |  13 Apr, 2021

Children add so much joy and fulfilment to our lives. They make every day a little brighter and more entertaining, as you get to experience the world through their eyes. It’s safe to say there’s never a dull moment!

But, let’s be honest, they can also be a handful especially when they’re young. When you have kids, you tend to wave goodbye to the idea of having that perfectly-clean, magazine-worthy home of your dreams at least for the next few decades. From toys in every corner of your home to stains on the carpet, messes and spills just come with the territory.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep a tidy home with kids. With a few simple systems, tools and strategies in place, you can keep the chaos under control in your home. Read on for 10 easy tips for keeping your home clean and hygienic with kids.

1. Have a place for everything

You’ve likely heard the age-old expression a place for everything and everything in its place. While it may sound simple, this approach is key for minimising mess in the home. When you don’t have a designated spot for things in your home, that’s when end up tripping over toy trucks in the kitchen or finding dirty clothes sprawled throughout the bathroom! Try incorporating simple storage solutions like clear boxes or baskets with labels, so the kids know exactly what goes where. That way, there’s no excuse for not putting things back where they belong!

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2. Keep emergency kits

Everyone has those higher-traffic areas in the home, like the dining table, sofa, kitchen, bathroom and entrance. These are the spots that tend to accumulate a lot of clutter, dust and dirt! It’s a good idea to have some emergency cleaning kits stashed in these areas. This can include things like spray and wipe, paper towels and sanitiser. That way, when someone spills something or brings in dirt from outside, they can quickly clean up themselves without even leaving the room. This way, little messes are far more likely to be dealt with immediately, before they turn into big disasters!

3. Incorporate systems

The more systems to have in place in the home, the less you’ll have to spend entire days cleaning your humble abode. Systems help to minimise the mess building up in the home, so there’s less to clean.

For example, you could have a system where when as soon as the kids come in the door, they take off their shoes, hang up their jacket and put their school bags in a designated spot. Or, when they get out of bed, they always make their bed, put away any books and bring any empty glasses of water into the kitchen. While enforcing these routines may feel a little unnatural at first, after a while it will begin to become second nature and everyone will do them automatically!

4. Cover up

Nobody wants to make their family sit on uncomfortable plastic, for fear of getting their sofa dirty. But, if you have a white sofa or an expensive one that you’d like to preserve for years to come, it can be worth protecting them. There are now plenty of stylish and comfortable sofa slipovers you can pop on your sofa to keep your couch looking and smelling like brand new. This is particularly handy if you also have pets!

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5. Make it a game

The more kids feel like cleaning and tidying is a chore, the more resistant they’re going to be to do it. So, why not make it fun? There are some great ways you can turn cleaning into a game with the kids.

One way is by having a chart where the kids can earn gold stars if they complete certain cleaning and tidying tasks. At the end of the month, the child with the most stars can earn a little treat!

Another strategy is to incorporate nightly speed cleans, where you set a timer for half an hour and race against the clock getting cleaning tasks done! The more you do this, the less you’ll have to do those bigger weekly cleans. You’d be surprised how well these approaches work in getting the kids involved in cleaning and tidying.

6. Educate the kids

Kids are curious by nature. They tend to want to know exactly why they have to do something. So, rather than just ordering them to do chores around the house, educate them about the reasoning behind it.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the importance of maintaining high personal hygiene. Explain to the kids that engaging in  good hand washing practices is important for keeping them, their friends and their family safe and healthy!

Or, when it comes to getting the kids engaged with recycling, you could explain the impact on the environment and wildlife when items end up in a landfill. If you need a helping hand, there are great explainer videos for kids on YouTube on nearly every topic you could ever imagine, such as this one on handwashing.

7. Make handwashing fun

Speaking of handwashing, giving your hands a good scrub has never been more important. It’s crucial for stopping the spread of germs, both inside and outside the home. But, the added benefit of it, it also helps to keep the home clean and tidy as the kids are less likely to get fingerprints and grime all over everything.

If the kids aren’t already doing this, it’s important to follow the proper process for washing hands to properly eliminate germs.  The recommended amount of time for handwashing is 20 seconds which can feel like an eternity to kids!

So, you can make it a little more fun by incorporating a hand washing song’ you all sing every time you wash your hands. Happy Birthday’ is a great one, as everyone knows it and it goes for about 20 seconds.  But, you can do this with pretty much any of your kids’ favourite songs by just picking out the chorus.

Another great way to make hand washing more fun is by using some nice-smelling, super-foamy soaps. This helps transform it into a sensory experience for the kids!

8. Create a cleaning roster

In the army, hospitals and even restaurants and cafes, they often have cleaning rosters so everyone knows exactly what tasks are their responsibility. You can use the same approach to keep your home running like a well-oiled machine! This is also a great way to teach kids to stick to their responsibilities

You can involve the kids in this by getting out the arts and crafts materials and creating a fun chart with bright colours outlining everyone’s cleaning duties. For example, your son might take the bins out every Thursday, while your daughter puts the washing on.

There are also some great printables on the internet you can use to help create your roster. Stick it up on the fridge or wall (preferably somewhere everyone will see it) and mark it off as you go!

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9. Keep the outdoors, outside

One of the biggest ways mess and dirt enters the home is the outside yards and balcony. As much as you want to encourage the kids to get outdoors, it can be helpful to have a few simple rules in place to stop the kids trailing in dirt. One simple strategy is simply having a floor mat in front of all the entrances! You may also want to consider getting the kids some outdoor shoes that never come inside. This can be a great excuse to get them some fun gumboots, which they’ll love!

10. Have designated play zones

It’s important that kids have the space and freedom to explore the world around them. But, at the same time, you don’t want to be constantly cleaning toys off the kitchen floor or sharing your bed with five of your child’s stuffed toys!

So, it can be useful to have designated play zones in the home where the kids can play to their heart’s content. This might be a nook in your living room or the backyard. This not only helps to curb clutter, but it also makes it easier to keep an eye on them. Plus, it means they have to get creative with the space they have available to them, which is greeting

At the end of the day, home is for living and for creating memories not for keeping perfect. But, a clean and tidy home creates an inspiring space where the whole family can thrive. By following the home cleaning tips on this list, you can keep your humble abode spick and span no matter how big your brood is.

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Words by Emma Norris

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