View Full Version : How to keep the house clean with a 6 year old?

Mar. 17, 2012, 10:15 AM
Any ideas on how to keep the house somewhat clean with a 6 year old?

I have a 6 year old boy. I adore him and it's the greatest thing ever. But, it sure can trash your house. The papers from school, the laundry, he's got a Huge appetite (as he's growing) so I'm always making food & dealing with cups & dishes (use paper a lot). I try to get him to help and he's good but still, he's 6.

Also, I work full time, he has homework and I have some physical problems (fibromyalgia, neck herniated discs, shoulder tears - last two from my physically hard job).

His father does not live with us (just due to a temporary logistic issue). He's here half the time, though, and is helpful & wonderful.

Used to be nice house is now gross and it truly further taxes me.


And at what age does it get better/easier?


Mar. 17, 2012, 10:45 AM
He's at an age when he can start doing some of the clean up himself. You will have to work with him, but he can learn to throw away his dishes, pick up his toys and papers, and put his clothes in the laundry. It will never get easier for you unless he learns to clean up after himself. Also, his future life partner will thank you for this training!

Also, it helps to do things on a schedule. Before he goes to bed at night, maybe the two of you can do 15 minutes of clean up and get ready for school the next day.

You may also find it extremely helpful to have someone come in and clean every other week. Believe me, the price is worth it.

Good luck and enjoy your son!!

Mar. 17, 2012, 10:51 AM
Thanks so much, ONB.

I do work with him on learning to clean up, but for now, that is actually more work. Yes, I know, I must, so I do.

I give him a dollar for doing some vacuuming.

Great idea about the 15 mins. !

Oh, the cleaning person - I sure do, every three weeks though (you know, $$$). I shudder at how things would be without her. Some of these cleaning people are just amazing/talented. I admire what they do.

Mar. 17, 2012, 10:57 AM
Yup! Mine were cleaning up after themselves by the age of 4.

No child labor type stuff...they didn't mop floors or scrub bath tubs, LOL! But they learned early on to pick up after themselves.

If I made them a snack, they knew where it could be eaten and where food does not travel to. And when they finished they knew to throw out the paper plate and paper cups. (I used paper for tots too, smart move!)

They knew when coming into the house to remove shoes, hang jacket, etc.

They knew at the end of the day or before going out for the day to clean up their toys. Make it easy for them though...have tons of bins, cubbies, etc decorating their room (and one big one in the family room area) for them to easily place toys into. By your son's age they can seperate toys by type into corresponding bins.

Dirty clothes go into their room's hamper. It's all very simple and easy stuff...toddlers learn it easy and fast by fun teaching it and polite reminders to follow up. Kids make things habit easily and it's best to teach them young and stick to it 100%. Makes life soooo much easier...not just for you. For your child too. S/he won't grow up to be a slob. Will have much better organizational skills and later in life won't be pissing off room mates or spouses. :cool:

All of my nieces and nephews learned the same way too. And now my great nieces and nephews. Even those of us who had a houseful of kids. ;)

Mar. 17, 2012, 11:32 AM
I'm raising a very active boy myself.

Tips to help you and your son stay on track with a clean home.

1. Have a place to put things away near where they are used. If you have to travel to put it away, it won't get done very often.

2. Before moving to a new activity the old one must be picked up/ tidied.

3. Just like with training horses, reward early and often at the beginning of the process. He will appreciate the positive words and love that you are recognizing his try.

4. Having a time set aside to do chores is helpful as it is easy to put off something that's not fun.

5. And yes, at this age, or really any age when its more your agenda than theirs, it requires more input and time from you. But you need to look at the big picture and see what a big help he will be in the end.

Mar. 17, 2012, 01:05 PM
Yup, good advice here. He is at an age where he can help clean up his own messes and even do some chores for allowance. Trust me, it is easier to teach him now while he wants to help then when he is a cranky teenager that is used to having everything done for him.

I'm a big fan of building the work before play mentality, so encouraging him to get his "chore" done so you can do something fun (read book, play outside, ect) not bribery but just encouraging a good work ethic.

Mar. 17, 2012, 02:16 PM
We had too much stuff, as in toys and clothes, courtesy of relatives and friends getting rid of their baby and kid stuff. Get a goodwill bag out and keep it right next to the dresser and the washer. They'll wash it again anyway so if it doesn't fit toss it straight into the bag instead of stuffing it back in the dresser. If you notice it was too small divert it into the bag at washing time ( of course wash it if it is filthy).

IIRC you have to do whatever you want them to do so I used to get help washing the dishes, and yes it took longer, clothes in hamper etc..
You really have to follow through - now I have a teenager and she does dishes and vacuums and does her own laundry but I can't just tell her and then forget about it, not 100% of the time - her problem is too much homework!

Mar. 17, 2012, 04:38 PM
I'm lucky I don't have a six year old. I can't even keep my house clean when it's just me!!! I'm too busy with working full time/overtime and horsie. I'm trying though!!!

Mar. 17, 2012, 04:47 PM
Try a leafblower Mukluk. :winkgrin: :lol:

Mar. 17, 2012, 04:49 PM
Reflecting back on growing up with brothers, I can't honestly say it gets better. Males are just gross by nature ( sorry, guys, I love you anyway). I'd jetison any pretence to home decor for a couple of years, locate a couple "throw your toys/papers/backpack/filthy sneakers in here" bins/buckets at strategic locations (like next to the doors), add a giant trash can for outside and empty inside one frequently, and batten down the hatches until he's old enough to vanish into his bedroom for 12 hours.

Mar. 17, 2012, 05:54 PM
Thanks all, very much. Great ideas !

Keep them coming.

Mar. 17, 2012, 06:04 PM
LMAO Vacation...you definitely have brothers! :lol:

And do use baskets of bins in every room. Huge help with little kids...but works awesome even in a kid-free house. I use laundry baskets. You can find them everywhere for next to nothing in price. In every color to match each room's decor. And they're the perfect size and easy to carry.

I have one in each room. To declutter my entire house takes all of about 3 minutes. Walk into each room, toss every bit of clutter into that room's basket. Walk out. Teach little one to do the same.

When a basket starts looking full...or when you have a few minutes of time...grab a basket and carry it from room to room in the house and redistribute the clutter to it's proper spot and room. Takes about 5-10 minutes. Put basket back.

In the meantime...everyone in the house gets used to tossing things in the baskets and if they "lost" something they can go rummage through the baskets instead of ransacking the entire house. :D

In my house...if the same things get left out too often...they go into the Bad Basket. That's the basket I hide in the basement. The grown ups learn darn quick to not keep leaving crap all over the place. Or it disappears. Mwuahahahaha!

But yeah...a tidy house and kids can work. My sister's 2 boys are 10 and 12 now...and even when they were toddlers her house stayed very neat and tidy. They come home and remove their shoes and hang their coats and put their backpacks where they belong, make a snack in the kitchen, eat it there and clean it up.

If we can train half ton animals to do all sorts of things, we can make neat children.

Mar. 17, 2012, 06:08 PM
love the basket idea MistyBlue!

Mar. 17, 2012, 06:15 PM
Simple.....Get rid of the 6 yr old....put him on ebay!!! Problem solved.

Mar. 17, 2012, 06:22 PM
More super ideas. Thank you all so much.

I have to get this figured out. I think a horsie living in the house would be neater and eat less then my dear little one.

No, no, Hoof - no e-bay - he likes to ride (and he's extremely cute) !

Mar. 17, 2012, 06:27 PM
Also, it helps to do things on a schedule. Before he goes to bed at night, maybe the two of you can do 15 minutes of clean up and get ready for school the next day.

That's what my sister does. Kids have to clean up their messes before they get their evening "quiet time." The sooner they're done the sooner they can get their book or kids show.

She also does a bi-weekly sweep of the toys and house, to throw out the old art projects and little cheap happy meal toys.

Mar. 17, 2012, 06:39 PM
Yep, I read once that it's called Grandma's Rule - work first and then play. It worked pretty well with my kids.

Tuck this away for future reference: at some point you may want to let him keep his room any way he wants. Not worth fighting over other than no food/vermin attractants allowed. I had two of the messiest guys you can imagine. They weren't allowed to track their mess throughout the house, but they could keep their rooms however they wanted. They did eventually grow out of it, mostly! It helped when they got roommates of their own who were messy too - somehow it's not as fun when it's someone else's pizza boxes filling up your living room!

Mar. 17, 2012, 07:42 PM
I am thinking tile floors with drains in the middle and rattan furniture. Or, duct tape said 6 yr old to chair!!! :D

Mar. 17, 2012, 09:26 PM
I think you have to get rid of the six year old, seriously.

Mar. 17, 2012, 09:51 PM
Having places for things is key. Totes, trays, baskets, etc. MistyBlue had some good ideas.

Mar. 17, 2012, 09:54 PM
My kid LOVED to clean the toilet. I have no idea why.

Mar. 17, 2012, 10:33 PM
That's not something to be questioned, just supported HFB! :winkgrin:

Mar. 17, 2012, 11:28 PM
I have a toddler and in much the same conundrum. Even he likes to "help" though which I encourage. Love the suggestions posted. He has a mini swiffer (one section removed) and alot of mini scrub brushes... we do it together. I love the 15 min idea. Whirlwind neatening. And baskets. Nothing really to add except overwhelming at times being single and working nights and keeping up at the barn. My horses used to be brushed top to bottom daily and now well... some things just get jettisoned until I can catch up. Good Luck!

Mar. 18, 2012, 12:45 AM
I love the clear 3 drawer rubbermaid storage thingies. Very easy to see what is inside each, not going to cut off any tiny fingers and portable. I use one in my car, and when we go on driving vacations, the children each have their clothing packed into them, as opposed to a suitcase.

Utilize nap or school time to go through and throw ut or donate stuff they haven't used in awhile. It ALL has to fit on bookshelves or in storage drawers.