Today is International Day of Families, a day to acknowledge and raise awareness of issues relating to families. And one of these issues, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is how families function amidst the restrictions.
It's certainly not easy to keep a clean home when everyone is stuck indoors. Having a sparkling home was so easy before you had children, and now on most days it probably seems like no matter how you want to clean the house, you just don’t seem to have enough time or energy for it. But contrary to popular belief, keeping a clean house despite having kids - and despite everyone being at home - is not that impossible to achieve.
And now with the increase of active COVID-19 clusters in Singapore and heightened safety measures with effect from 16 May to 13 June 2021, it's more important than ever to teach kids proper hygiene and cleanliness habits. If your kids are staying home more nowadays, why not take the time to clean up the house together?
Here's how you can do it:
1. Tidy doesn’t mean spotless
Before children, clean meant squeaky clean and completely spotless. However, after children, you may be better off adjusting the meaning of clean to being tidy. Instead of living like your house is on display, accept the fact that a (small) mess means memories are in the making and that the house is alive with children (and organised chaos). Things will automatically look better once you take the ‘I need everything to be perfect’ pressure off yourself.
2. Organise, organise, organise
Have clearly marked locations for everything from toys and books to dirty laundry and school bags, so that children know where things belong and can clean up after themselves better. Having clear zones for everything also avoids clutter from building up and instantly makes the house look much neater when everything goes back to its designated spot at the end of the day.
3. Not everything needs to make an appearance at the same time
Children have very short attention spans, so do yourself a favour and limit the number of toys they can play with at one time. Not only will this make clean up easier later, but it will also keep the kids engaged in playing with different toys on different days. Otherwise they’ll quickly get bored of seeing the same toys over and over again every day.
4. Clean as you go
If you see anything out of place as you’re walking along, make the effort to wipe up a spill or pick up something astray and put it back in its proper place. Small, timely hacks like these help in a big way at the end of the day when you’re tired and just want to go to bed ASAP. It’s always easier to tackle a few small things rather than a big mountain.
5. Delegate the jobs
Depending on the age of your children, make them responsible from an early age and give them something that they are accountable for. For instance, one child can be responsible for making sure that all the building blocks are back in the storage box every night, while the other child has to make sure that all the dolls are back in the doll house, ready to play the next day. By delegating small tasks, you not only get to focus on other bigger things, but you also instil a sense of responsibility and duty in toddlers from early on.
6. Now is a good time for screen time
Despite getting kids to clean up after themselves, sometimes it’s just not worth the time and effort that it takes to clean up when little hands are involved. If you’re running low on time (or patience), engage the ‘help’ of a device or the TV. Give the children a healthy snack and let them watch their favourite show, while you clean the house to your acceptable level. Win-win situation for everyone.
7. Use child-safe cleaning solutions
As a parent, you’ll know that children are happy to lick almost any surface, especially floors. Instead of investing in chemical-based cleaning solutions, stock up on natural, multi-purpose cleaners that are safe for children. Most leading anti-bacterial microfiber cleaning clothes these days just need a little water and they’re ready to wipe the house clean. Seriously – peace of mind is more important than a floor sparkling clean from ammonia and other dangerous chemicals.
8. Kid-friendly paint
Children have a sixth sense about using non-erasable markers or crayons on walls and floors and other surfaces that just can’t be wiped clean. If possible, save yourself the headache and anxiety and invest in getting a coat of stain-resistant paint on your walls. The kids can have a great time using the walls as blank canvases, and you can enjoy their fun knowing that clean walls are just a simple wipe away.
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