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“Tidy” and “Toddler” might as well be opposites am I right moms?
I’m currently in the middle of the messy toddler phase, where dumping out everything on the floor is the #1 agenda in my daughter’s day. Toys? Everywhere. Folded clothes? Thrown out of drawers. Food? Everywhere, but her mouth.
For everyone going through this right now, it may feel as if keeping your house clean with a toddler is an impossible task (trust me, some days it just is). But, it doesn’t always have to be.
Here are ways to have a tidy house while living with a toddler.
How To Keep Your House Clean With A Toddler
Pre-kids, tidying up your house seemed like a relatively easy thing to do. You’d clean one room and move onto the next. After kids, it’s no longer feasible. Once a room is straightened out, your toddler can (and will) destroy it like a mini tornado.
While it can be physically (and mentally) exhausting, keeping your house tidy isn’t entirely impossible when you have a toddler. It just takes some creativity and a whole lot of compromise.
1. Keep toys to a minimum in main areas of your home
Let’s face it, toddlers love playtime. And that means lots and lots of toys. Toys help them learn and build up their motor skills (so they’re not all bad), but they do make a home look cluttered especially when thrown all over the house.
In order to prevent a chaotic mess in each room of your home, designate certain areas where toys and playtime are acceptable—and others where not.
Your child’s bedroom and playroom should be the main areas where toys are stored, but make sure you give them enough freedom to play in other rooms so they feel comfortable and at home.
In the living room, for example, keep a few storage bins in the corner of the room with a few of their toys. Let them know that that area is okay to play. When they’re finished playing, teach them to put those toys back in the storage bins.
Tip: I make it a game with my daughter. I pretend to time her to see how fast she can put them back in. The mess gets cleaned up, and more importantly, it doesn’t feel like a chore or punishment to her so she actually enjoys doing it.
2. Time your cleaning route
With newborns, cleaning is actually easier because they nap several times during the day. This gives you plenty of opportunity to tackle some housework. However, a toddler is a different story. Not only are naps more rare, they’re mobile and more active, so figuring out how to tidy up your house with a toddler has to be more calculated.
If your toddler is in the middle of playtime in the living room, now is not the time to tackle the living room. Not only will it stress you out trying to clean around them, it will also stress your toddler out. They’ll perceive playtime as something negative solely on your reaction. Toddlers may not be able to say it, but they understand body language and actions.
Instead while they’re preoccupied, put in a load of laundry or wash the dishes.
Save the playroom for the end of the night. Tidying up while they’re awake is futile. Not only will you have to pick up toys constantly, it’s not productive (and stress-inducing).
Planning out a cleaning route that works for you and your toddler’s schedule is the best course of action.
3. Make cleaning up a habit
I’m sure you’ve heard many people say that a tidy house isn’t achievable for at least 18 years after kids, especially during the toddler stage. And while it may feel like that on some days, cleaning shouldn’t be looked at as a chore, rather it should become a habit. This applies to everyone in your household.
If dishes tend to get piled up often, get into the habit of washing them right after using them rather than letting them sit in the sink for days on end. The trash getting full? Take it out instead of letting it become a huge overflowing mess. Are toys are all over the floor? Get your toddler into the habit of putting them away after a play session.
It takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic, so if everyone in your household sticks to these cleaning routines, keeping a tidy house should become a habit rather than a chore.
4. It’s never too early to get your toddler involved
Cleaning up can be fun IF you make it a positive experience for your child. My daughter is 2 and I’ve recently begun to teach her how to clean up around the house.
Loading the dishwasher is one thing my daughter loves to do. She gets so excited and proud when she accomplishes this task. I began teaching her by making it a game. I showed her each step and then let her do it on her own to see if she could remember. She stays engaged, she focuses, and you can see how determined she is to do it right. And when she does, she smiles and claps.
I’ve done the same with picking up dirt and food off the floor and putting it in the trash, as well as putting her toys away.
Making these little chores into fun, engaging games gets them excited about cleaning. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and it turns an otherwise boring task into a nice little bonding experience for you and your toddler.
5. Most importantly—DON’T STRESS!
You may want your house to look picture perfect 24/7, but the reality is you have a toddler. Your house WILL get messy and it’s important to remind yourself that it’s okay.
A messy home is a sign that it’s lived in, a sign that it’s a home. Don’t stress if you forgot to fold the laundry or put away the dishes. Sometimes your day is just too busy or somedays you just need to take a break and enjoy some me time.
Did these tips work for you? How do you keep your home clean with a toddler? Tell me in the comments below!