School Holiday Tips – Keeping The House Tidy

School Holiday Tips – Keeping The House Tidy

Firstly notice that the heading of this post says “Keeping The House Tidy”. It doesn’t say perfect or spotless! To be honest I don’t think it is possible to do that when you have kids home, nor do I really want it to be that like.

What I do want though, is the house in state that doesn’t drive me crazy. I like it to be tidy, but in a way that the kids can still feel free to create, play and relax and enjoy their holidays.

Here are some things we do to try and achieve this balance:

Adjust my standards

I simply need to accept that with 5 kids home full time, the house will not be as tidy as it is during the school term. It will only be that tidy if I spend almost every waking moment working on it to be that way. That is not how I want to spend the school holidays.

Dust pan and brush

School Holiday Tips - dust pan and brush
By accepting that there will be more mess, there are also some tools I can use to make sure the kids clean up after themselves. Having a child sized dust pan and brush easily accessible, so they can clean up after themselves works really well.

Wipe up cloths

School Holiday Tips - small hand cloths
The mess kids make are not always dry, so having small cloths available as well is important.

Start fresh each day

During school holidays we still stick to most of night time routine. Having a clean slate each day is better for my piece of mind and also reinforces to the kids that this is the way the house should look.

Rotate morning/afternoon tea duties including clean up

During the holidays, we share the responsibility for making and cleaning up after morning and afternoon tea. It is shared amongst myself and all school aged children. This is a great thing to do for a number of reasons – fine motor skills on cutting and preparing food, independence skills and it makes the kids realise the work that goes into preparing food for them to eat.

Eat outside when possible

School Holiday Tips - eat outside
Food make mess – there is no doubt about that. So when possible, we eat outside. Sometimes it is just morning tea or a picnic lunch in the backyard. All of these help reduce the crumb mess inside the house.

Tidy up before quiet time

Our almost three year old still has an afternoon nap. We use this as our technology time. It helps to keep the house quiet the littlest one sleeps and it allows me to have a moment to myself!

While I read a story to the youngest, the other kids know it is time to tidy up, inside and out. Technology time cannot start until all main living rooms and the main area outside are tidy. This requires team work, as not everyone will have made the mess.

Usual bedroom routines

The younger children need to make their beds and tidy their room each morning before school. The older boys have to completely tidy their room on Wednesday and Sunday. These routines stand even in school holidays. I do find though, that without the usual time checks of school routines, it is very easy for this tidy up not to be completed. I need to be more proactive in making sure these tasks are done during the holidays.

Enforce pack up first before next activity

Kids rooms - Toy Cupboard
I do try to always enforce the pack up first before next activity, but it can get away from me. School holidays however can turn to utter mess if I don’t, so I make sure I am more vigilant with keeping an eye on what the kids are pulling out of the cupboards.

Take turns vacuuming

For our kids 8 and up , I think it is appropriate that they have a turn at vacuuming the main living areas of the house during the school holidays. I think this helps them work out that the things they drop on the floor, the crumbs they make, while they may not seem like much to them, when you times that by 5, it can end up making a lot of work!

What tips do you have for keeping the house tidy during school holidays?


  1. says

    I’m one of five children. It seems your running a very organised household there. I think your best tip is to pack the thing you’ve finished playing with away BEFORE you start on the next game/project etc. As for me, I like to send them outdoors as much as possible. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have a post going up on JustB at noon today.

  2. says

    I love the cleaning up before the next activity. That is so important, I will try that on my kids. I find that you engage your kids alot on house chores and I am trying to engage my kids too. However, I feel I need to enforce as a daily routine for it to work. I have not tried tasking them for making bed as I feel my boy, 4 yrs old, may be too young for that, especially folding the blanket. My 6 yr old girl has been doing that well. When is a good age for making bed and tidying room??

    And thanks for commenting on my blog! I have just posted “Learning through Play – the simple and fun way” this morning. I am an advocate for learning academics with lots of fun instead of just boring rote learning. I hope you will drop by to comment and share how you are involved in your kids’ academics. Maybe you can write a post on that? or direct me to one?

  3. Jacquie says

    This is such a good reminder for me. My kids are all very capable & do a lot of household chores too but I’m very inconsistent in getting them to help all the time. So we have weeks where they all help & then suddenly I’m back to doing the majority of the tidying etc again! Thanks for some great tips :-)

  4. Susan says

    I have four children, my school age children are responsible for loading and unloading the dishwasher and sweeping the family areas. This is a big help in the morning and afternoon. My four year old is responsible for wiping up his spills and putting his toys away. I clean the house over two days and we do each room together, our treat is going out for a swim and lunch at our local pool.

  5. says

    Great tips Nicole, we follow most of them already, although unfortunately my three are a little young for vaccuming regularly yet. We also keep a roll of paper towel on hand and a paint cloth near the craft area if messy activities are happening. I lay out an old doona cover or sheet on the floor before they use any messy tactile boxes ie the sort that contain chick peas, split peas, rice etc. Each child has their own child size broom (that I bought at our local Toyworld). We also have one of those dustpans like you see the cleaners at the shopping centres use, with a long handle for both the pan and the brush, makes it quicker and better on your back! The kids love using it!