How to Keep Your House from Becoming a Mess When Kids are Sick Post Preview: Here are 7 tried and true ways to keep your home looking good when your kids are feeling under the weather. My favorite tip is #2 – as a mom, it might just be my best-kept secret.
Only two days into the new school year, my son already was under the weather.
Ugh. I knew this would happen – but after only two days of school?
Last winter, we had a terrible stomach bug hit our household. After scrubbing for hours and tossing so much away, I really learned my lesson about how to maintain the house while my kids were sick.
I’m wishing you and your kids good health as the school year progress, but if the kids do come down with something, here are some ways I’ve learned to keep the entire house from becoming a disaster while they are not feeling their best.
1. One Room is All You Need
My son has toys in every room in the house (the family room, living room, playroom, gosh they’re even toys in our bathrooms!).
When sick, rather than have him playing in his playroom one second and moving to the living room the next, tearing up the house and sneezing on everything, we usually have him play in the family room when he gets sick.
That’s the room with the TV, the cuddly blankets, and the most sunshine, so that room is perfect.
It’s much easier to deep-clean one room after a sickness than every room. This also keeps the playroom relatively germ-free, which a hard room to deep-clean, being that their are about a gazillion toys in that room.
2. Disposable Crafts are Key
Throw-away crafts are my best-kept secret…
We keep a bin of random things from around the house and add to it often – paper towel rolls, cardboard, ribbon, small boxes, chalk, etc.
When my son isn’t feeling well, we get creative and make all kinds of things – things that are hours of fun, but that you can throw away later.
We’ve made a paper towel robot, construction sites from the cardboard, a diaper box puppet theater (he wanted to keep this one haha), or sometimes he just starts cutting and gluing thing to things.
The best part of these crafts is that there is no spraying, cleaning, or sanitizing later because you just throw them away!
Huge Coloring Sheets
If you don’t have a bin of random things, there are AWESOME coloring activity sheets. They are these huge sheets that you spread on the ground with tons of random things to color. Seriously, hours of coloring time 🙂
The other day my son, in the midst of his cold, was giving me a hard time eating his lunch.
So, the teacher in me spread a blanket on the floor, grabbed a couple of nearby stuffed animals and a bunch of paper products from the pantry, and said we were having a picnic.
His face lit up, he happily ate his lunch, and he played picnic for the next TWO days. He was begging for small plates, empty food boxes, and such from the pantry for his animal friends.
He was ecstatic when I gave him muffin wrappers for bowls and plastic spoons. 🙂
I was happy to provide because it was another perfect sick day activity. The food boxes and plates get trashed and the blanket and animals get tossed right in the wash. Much easier than cleaning all the play food he has. Again, I learned this the hard way.
Think about things you have around the house that could be simple fun – but are easy to dispose of later.
3. Fresh Air is Always Best
If possible, it’s always best to the kids out for some fresh air when they aren’t feeling well.
Not only is fresh air healing, but with the kids outside, the house becomes less of mess. There are tons of things you could do outside. My son’s favorites are his dirt box and his rice box.
These are just large under-the-bed plastic containers (with a lid) filled with sand, rice, or dirt and little toys. We have beach toys in the rice box and construction vehicles in the dirt box.
Kids love these, and if it gets completely germed up, just toss the contents and let the rain wash the toys.
4. Use Blankets or Slipcovers on Couches
Couches can be hard to clean, so slipcovers are a dream because you can easily wash them.
If you don’t have a slipcover, you can spread and tuck blankets over the cushions of the couch while the kids are sick. Then, you can just toss the blanket in the wash when everyone is all better.
Easy peasy – and much easier than scrubbing a couch.
5. Always Wipe Down
Even if your kids are outside or spending their time in one room, while there’s germs flying around, you’ll want to make sure you are wiping down all those frequently touched areas. Fridge, microwave, faucet, sink handles, door knobs, light switches, phones, ipads, etc. And, the floors.
Plus, keeping everything clean and shiny will make you feel better during the state of disarray.
6. Steamers Are Your Best Friend
I don’t know why it took me so long to buy a steamer, but I guess I made up for it because now I have two.
I have a floor steamer and I have a handheld/rolling steamer that’s perfect for spraying anything. (If you do buy a steamer, make sure you read the reviews. That way you’ll get one that gets really hot aka eliminates the germs).
The floor steamer is great because it will steam any type of floor – carpet or tile. And, the rolling steamer is wonderful because you can steam anything – couches, toys, stuffed animals, anything at all. I’m a little crazy and I usually wash and steam stuffed animals.
So if you are like me, a steamer will be your best friend.
7. Start Using the One-Touch Rule
Ahh, you have to use the one-touch rule. Admittedly, we aren’t the greatest at it, but it’s an amazing rule.
The one-touch rule is you touch something once. Only once.
So, say you get an Amazon box in the mail and you are unpacking a new stapler that goes in your upstairs office. Rather than leave the stapler on the kitchen table, and then maybe eventually to the bottom of the staircase, and then to the hallway table, you walk it to where it goes.
Hence, you touch it once.
Same with the cardboard box – you take it to your recycling spot. It’s seems so simple, but it’s exactly why my house looks the way it does right now 🙂
When you use the one-touch rule, you’ll be surprised at how much less cluttered your home is. When your home is less cluttered, it’s not as bad cleaning up after a sickness in the house because there is less to clean.
If sickness happens to strike your house this school year, keep these tips in mind to keep your home looking good and your sanity in tact.