Cleaning Children’s Bedroom
Children’s bedrooms are not generally bastions of restrained good taste. As children get older, their bedrooms cease to be a nursery and become the part of the house that is their own, where they can rest, do schoolwork and expand their interests and personalities. Children should be allowed to have a say in how they are decorated.
The priorities of kid’s bedroom furnishing are comfort, a place to do homework and plenty of storage. Hamsters, gerbil and guinea pig cages should be banned from children’s bedrooms, because they are really nothing more than big litter boxes in which the animals defecate and urinate. And cats and dogs should not be allowed to sleep on children’s beds. Also, children need their sleep, so children should be allowed to have a television or computer in their bedroom.
How to clear up and clean out?
Kid’s rooms should routinely be cleaned along with the rest of the house; tidied daily, when the beds are made, and cleaned once a week. Every day, get children to help put their toys away by making it a game. Children love being helpful, so during the weekly clean, give them a duster and let them help ‘dust’ while you get on with the job in hand. Get them to help make the bed and when changing the sheets, let them hide underneath the duvet cover and sheets and play peep-bo. Give them the waste-paper basket to empty too.
When it comes to getting rid of things, it is only right to consult children before throwing out things such as toys they have outgrown. Explain that some things must go and let children be part of the process.
When older children’s bedrooms truly become their private space, they should know how to make the bed, that clothes not put in the laundry basket will not be washed, and that once a week you will do a trawl for dirty mugs and plates and anything else that does not belong in their bedroom, so if they do not want this invasion, they shoud take things downstairs.
How to store toys?
Try to confine toys to children’s bedrooms. Store larger toys in clear plastic storage boxes so it is easy to see what they contain. Stackable boxes are useful, as are those with wheels.
The trouble with toys is that most of them are so small – as anyone who has experienced the exquisite pain of treading on a piece of Lego with bare feet can confirm. Do not throw everything randomly into one large toy box. Sort Lego, Sylvanian Families and all the other tiny inhabitants of Plastic Toy Hell into smaller plastic storage boxes. Also, you can use shoeboxes, labelled if you have the energy.
Clear things out occasionally. Throw away anything that is broken or anything old or unwanted, but allow children to give permission.
It is neither possible nor desirable for children to live in a sterile environment, but toys need to be kept reasonably clean: they lie on the floor, they go in children’s mouths, they are taken into the garden; the dog is allowed to play with them too. Make life easier for yourself by trying to buy toys that are washable.
Cleaning plastic toys. The simplest, most labour-saving way to wash plastic toys is to put them in the dishwasher on a low temperature. Either put them in the cutlery basket, or tie them to the top rack with a freezer tie. Larger items should be washed in a bawl of soapy water, rinsed and dried. Involve smaller children in this – it can become ‘dolly’s bathtime’.
Dummies and other things that have been in children’s mouths shoud be washed every day. You may also want to sanitise them with a solution of sterilising fluid.
Cleaning stuffed toys and dressing-up clothes. Teddies and other cloth toys should be washable – most are these days. Launder them weekly on a 30°C wash. After washing, check that the seams are still securely stitched and that nothing has become detached. Launder dressing-up clothes regularly as you would any other clothes.