An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Tips And Tricks For Keeping Floors Clean With Infants And Toddlers

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Tips And Tricks For Keeping Floors Clean With Infants And Toddlers

With four kids age five and under in our home, keeping the floors clean enough for tummy and playtime can be a challenge. Here's how we manage.

This conversation is sponsored by Swiffer at Sam’s Club. Opinions are my own.

One of the biggest shocks of having 10 month old twins is how much food ends up on the floor. I know I should be used to this by now, but honestly, Henry wasn't a food thrower. He had a phase at about 15 months where he thought feeding the dogs was more fun than himself, so I would lock the dogs up at meal time until that phase passed. Otto was such a big eater (still is) that he wasted NO food; everything went into his mouth and belly! The twins attack food with gusto, but sometimes it's a little too much gusto... And they miss their mouths. We eat our meals at our eat-in kitchen so the mess is contained to our brick floor, but I do allow the older boys to eat their afternoon snack in the living room and sometimes there's a spill. Keeping all my floors clean with two crawling babies is SO important to me! Not just because they're down there playing and moving, but because they also put everything in their mouths, so should they find a pretzel or some other fallen snack, I don't want choking hazards just lying around. Here are some of the best tricks I've learned for keeping the floors "tummy time ready" when you have young children, toddlers and babies around.

One of the most important things, I think, is creating rules around eating. Like I mentioned, we ONLY eat meals at the table in our eat-in kitchen; for special holidays, we sit in the formal dining room. But frankly, that's mostly where we do our arts and crafts. The kitchen is just a far more convenient place to eat for its proximity to the stove/where food is prepared and the ease of cleaning up. I think it's important to not just create rules about WHERE you eat but also how. My boys know they have to ask for permission to be excused before they get up. Once excused, they know to go to the half bath right off the kitchen to wash their hands. This has been the rule since they started eating "real" food, and will be the rule until they leave my home. I've consistently enforced it, so it's not a struggle. It's just the clear expectation, which results in them knowing how to behave at meal times, every time. There's no getting up and walking around which means food isn't being spread all over my house. There's no food in the playroom. Dirty hand prints on walls and wood trim is minimized (I'd love to tell you it's nonexistent, but... nah, my home has some greasy hand prints on the walls, we're not perfect!)

Create rules for your children around food/eating meals:

  • Consistently serve meals in one location so they know they can't walk around with food
  • Have regular, planned snacks so they don't constantly ask for them/you have a response with a time to eat when they do
  • Have snacks in the same spot so they know where to eat them (and they don't spill everywhere!)
  • Teach children to help you clean up from an early age
Typical mess after 10 month olds eat
The key to well behaved kids at meal time is consistent enforcing of the rules. If someone does get up, they're asked to sit down. If they get up again, they're done with dinner. I remove their plate and ask them to wash their hands, then they have to wait in their bedroom until everyone else is finished with dinner. I haven't had to do that in over a year, and once my kids were 3 years old they knew how meal times functioned so I only had to do it a few times. Believe me, if they go to bed hungry once or twice, a) they'll be just fine and b) it won't take long for them to realize you're serious about eating rules and they need to follow them.

Once rules are established for your kids, it's time to create some rules for yourself. Living in the South, I know that the longer messes hang around, the more likely I am to attract pests into my home! Yuck. That means I clean up after meals IMMEDIATELY after they're eaten. My older sons know how to carry their dishes to the sink or put them in the dishwasher if I have it open (and don't need to rinse off their plates) but my twins are a different story. They're just 10 months old. I usually wash them off at the sink, then have all four kids play together in their playroom (which is baby-gated so they all stay in there!) while I put dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the table and high chairs, wash pots and pans, and clean up the floor under the high chairs. Then I move onto the floor under the table...

How we store some of our cleaning supplies
Swiffer Sweeper is one of the best inventions ever. We store it on a broom rack in our garage and I run out and grab it after meals. Depending on what I served, I can put on a dry cloth to trap dirt and crumbs. It works better than a broom! If I'm serving something sticky, I usually use a wet cloth on my Swiffer and it is much faster and more convenient than using a traditional mop and bucket. It has a scrubber on the end to really get the gooey stuff off, like mushed strawberries or jam or spaghetti sauce. With four kids and cleaning up after three meals a day, I can go through a lot of the wet/dry refills so I stock up at Sam's Club. I do nearly all my shopping at wholesale warehouses now and it saves so much money! Bonus for Sam's Club members, now through September 15, you can save $3 on Swiffer Dry and Swiffer Wet refills at Sam's Club and with FREE Club Pickup. Go stock up!

Creating rules for yourself around food and meals:

Keeping floors clean with four kids age 5 and under is a challenge. If I didn't create rules around food, snacks and mealtimes, my house would be a zoo. But not only do the rules I enforce help me keep my home clean, it also creates an environment of predictability for my children so there's less guessing (aka, fewer tantrums!) on their part. These tips and tricks for keeping floors clean with twin infants and two toddlers have taken me a while to develop and establish, but they really do help you and the whole family.

Go ahead and make that mess Theodore!

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