The school summer holidays are nearly upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about ways to keep your children occupied for the extended break. As well as planning activities and days out, however, it’s a good idea to plan cleaning. After all, children make a lot of mess — and this mess is multiplied during the holidays.
But this doesn’t have to be a major issue. If you plan in advance, you can keep your home looking reasonably clean and presentable throughout the summer holidays. And if you’re really clever about things, you can keep your children occupied at the same time.
Create a cleaning schedule
Don’t micromanage cleaning and tidying during the summer. Yes, you want to keep your home as clean as possible, but you also want your kids to have fun. Create a list of the big jobs, and add them to a schedule. Everyday tasks such as vacuuming and mopping floors should be assigned to one person every day — making sure that everyone does their bit during the week.
Get the kids involved
The chances are your kids are the biggest source of mess and disruption in your home during the summer holidays. It’s only right that they should be involved in everyday cleaning tasks. Just make sure they aren’t cleaning for more than an hour a day, and that they clean before they get to enjoy fun summer activities.
Try not to exempt your younger children from household chores, as this may cause arguments. Even a toddler can help you sort socks into pairs or carry laundry from room to room. Either give each child their own permanent cleaning responsibilities or mix things up every day.
Let’s be honest: very few kids actually want to clean. In order to keep your children happy and motivated, it’s a good idea to make cleaning as fun as possible. For example, you could make it a competition, or you could provide exciting rewards such as sweet treats and days out. Other ways to make cleaning fun for children include inviting friends over for cleaning parties, playing music and having cleaning races.
Make cleaning as easy as possible
The summer holidays are a time for families to spend together, and for children to play and relax. The less time you’re all cleaning, the better your summer will be. There are several ways to make cleaning easier and faster, and most of them don’t require a lot of planning or expense. For example, you could set up cleaning stations in every room to ensure the cleaning tools you need are never far away — and making cleaning as you go much simpler.
Another way to ease the burden of cleaning is to use the right tools for the right jobs. For example, look for the best vacuum cleaner for carpet if you have a lot of carpeting in your home. If you have a lot of hard floors, however, a powerful steam mop might be the answer. Cleaning little and often is the best way to stay on top of things during the school summer holidays. So consider investing in a detachable, handheld vacuum cleaner with a wide range of accessories — as you’ll be able to move around and reach awkward areas more easily.
Spend lots of time outside
The summer is a time for exploring and outdoor fun. Embrace the great outdoors, and you’ll obviously out of the house a lot more. The less the kids are at home, the less mess they can create — keeping your cleaning and tidying chores to a minimum. Plan a schedule of outdoor activities before the kids break up.
Impose the “one at a time” rule
Younger children love to create mess; they love to play with as many toys and interesting items as they can — and quite often at the same time. But this creates a terrible amount of clutter, creating tripping hazards and making cleaning even more difficult. Make sure your children know that they’re only allowed to play with one item at a time. When they want something else, they must first put away the item they already have.
Eat outside more
Why stay indoors to eat lunch when it’s a beautiful day outside? Meal times usually generate a lot of mess during summer holidays, so take it outside. Fire up the barbecue, or set a little table in the garden for a summer spread of sandwiches, salad and fruit. The more your children dine al fresco, the less cleaning you’ll have to do.