Seven little dumplings (or more) can make more messes than you ever imagined. Keeping up with the mess in home daycare is not as easy as it seems but with a little routine, you’ll be able to manage it.
Keeping up with the mess in home daycare-productive solutions for daycare providers week 4
Kids can empty a shelf of 500 toys in 30 seconds, but it takes them 30 years to pick it back up. Anyone else notice this? One of the best things you can do to cut down on your work in home daycare is to teach kids to pick up after themselves.
After meals, I look under the table and if there are big pieces of food that can’t be vacuumed up, I have the child sitting over that food climb under there and pick it up to throw it away. There’s no reason kids, even 2-year olds, should be dropping food all over the planet and not being taught how to clean up after themselves. This was a big mistake I made with my own daughter and I tried to learn from it.
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My kids take their own dishes to the kitchen and then go back and pick up any food the dropped along the way. This creates a little more mess for me in the long run, but over time, teaches kids to be more careful and pay attention.
Another rule I have at little sprouts is if I didn’t play with it, I’m not picking it up. I don’t pick up toys at all unless I got them out. The toys are the kid’s job. Even one-year-olds have to pick up their own toys. If kids leave a mess of toys at the end of the day (usually I don’t let them), they are there when they come back the next day.
Consistency with kids teaches them so much. If you keep using the same rules and kids always know what to expect, they will learn to do things on their own. Teaching responsibility is a big part of our job as daycare providers and kids keeping up with the mess they make is a great way to help teach them.
Limit the area to clean
One thing I like to do to manage the mess is to make the kid’s area smaller as the day goes on. In the first part of the day, we have the playroom, living room, hallway, and dining room to play in when we are inside. We go outside and play in all those areas all morning. Before nap, we clean up the playroom and make lay out the sleeping mats. When they finish napping and put those up, we close up the playroom and don’t go back in there or in the hallway for the last two hours of the day.
Next, they eat snack and after snack is over, I start cleaning up the kitchen and dining room. I don’t sweep under the table after all three meals, I wait until after snack or I would be sweeping all day long. Once I have the kitchen and dining room cleaned, we don’t go back in there for the last hour. So, by the time the kids leave, they are only playing in the living room for the final hour. This limits the areas to clean and helps kids see all the mess they’ve made for them to be able to clean it up themselves.
Productive things to do at home
Also, this means that I’ve already cleaned the eating areas up for the day before I get off work. After work, I can run a wet wipe around the problem areas of the bathroom, make sure all the paper towels are in the trash, and run a quick round with my Dyson stick vacuum for any debris in the rest of the house. When my husband comes home, he rounds up all the trash including the diaper pail, so that’s done too. Those are the main areas I clean daily.
Clean often so the job doesn’t get so big
Having a routine for the big cleaning jobs that come with kids helps me stay on top of the mess before it gets too big. Continual cleaning is part of home daycare. Fingerprints and handprints get on just about everything. Wiping them down regularly keeps it from getting overwhelming.
I try to wipe down the windows the kids can reach including the front storm door on Wednesdays. I try to wipe down around the kid’s eating area and where they can reach on the way to the kitchen on Fridays. And I try to wipe down around their bathroom on Tuesdays. This helps keep any of the areas from getting so gross over time.
Getting things done
There are some jobs that need to be done regularly but not daily like sanitizing toys or changing sheets on the mats. You can choose a day of the week to accomplish those tasks as well. We do sheets on Friday because that’s my laundry day, so the sheets come off the mats and all the beds on Fridays.
I sanitize the toys once a month by dumping a sink full into a plastic tote and then spraying them down. Then, I let that tote dry and put them up and get another one. I have many of my regular toys on shelves or in buckets, so I just do a shelf or bucketful at a time. It usually takes all weekend but it’s passive, spray and walk away. So, it’s not too bad.
Taking big jobs and breaking them down into smaller jobs helps a lot and the most important way I get everything done is with routines that rotate. Everything ends up getting done and I never have to spend a whole day or weekend cleaning. My husband does help A LOT with cleaning, and I’m super grateful for that as well.
I hope this article was helpful and can improve your daily life giving you more family time and more time to rest.
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