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Small kids are often the biggest mess-makers in the whole household! If your children have the amazing ability to transform the house from looking perfect to reminding you of a crime scene, you are not the only one.

Isn't it a shame that most young children are so great at creating chaos, but they don't like participating in the clean up? If you are struggling with keeping your house clean and tidy too, we have a few tips for you.

1. Clean when your kids are not around

If you have a baby, wait until she goes to sleep and then tidy and clean quickly and systematically. If you have older kids who are at daycare or in school, you will have slightly more time. Parents who choose this household strategy accept all responsibility for keeping the house clean and tidy, and don t expect the kids to help out. It may seem easier to do all the cleaning yourself at times, but kids who are not expected to help with tidying may make more of a mess.

2. Join FlyLady

FlyLady offers a quick and very organized cleaning system, which most small children won t mind joining in on. I don t get FlyLady s emails any longer, but I used to before and I learned a lot from her approach. In our family, we still set a timer for five or ten minutes and assign everyone a task. Things get done this way, and without moaning from parents or kids. I say it s wonderful!

3. Teach your children to put their toys away

Some parents put a large toy bin in each room where their children play, and expect their children to put any toy they get out back again once they are done playing with it. The earlier in a child s life you start this approach, the more likely it is that your kids will actually put their toys away. Children who are capable of taking toys out of boxes are also able to put them back.

4. Hire a cleaning professional

If you can afford it, having someone else clean your house from time to time can be really liberating. Having a really clean house will motivate the whole family to keep up the smaller tasks, like putting toys away and hoovering. Some people start cleaning just before the cleaning person comes over, because they re embarrassed about the state of their home! Even in that case, a cleaning professional serves a purpose!

5. Divide up chores

Having each child do chores is definitely popular in families with older children. It works for the under-five crowd too, if you do it right. in our house, one child pairs up with one parent to complete one task, while the other child does another chore with the other parent. This system teaches young children how to do things like cleaning windows and decluttering, and prepares them for doing similar things themselves a little later in life. Doing chores will take longer with a child helping , but it beats kids watching TV while parents clean!