Do you dread cleaning? Is it hard to get your kids in on it? You may have given up and just do everything yourself.
But everyone enjoys the benefits of a clean house, so everyone should pitch in! Here are some creative tips to get your kids involved in spring cleaning.
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Give Up Control
First, it’s important that you give up a certain amount of control.
It will only create frustration for you and your kids if you go back and redo something they’ve done “wrong,” and your kids may wonder what the point of helping is if you’re just going to do it your way anyhow.
Once you’ve shown your kids how to do something and made your specifications known, let them get it done their way, and leave it alone.
So they don’t fold the towels so the rolls face outward; so the windows have some streaks.
You can do a quick touch up when they’re in school! 😉
Nagging is not a good idea according to experts (and many nagged family members agree!).
Make spring cleaning something positive. Here are some incentive tips:
- Toddlers and preschoolers might find it more fun to sort through piles of their stuff if there’s a prize at the bottom…just make sure the prize is only theirs if they sort, fold, and/or put away the items in the pile, not just dig through it.
- The whole family might enjoy a treat after a day of spring cleaning – maybe everyone can go out to a favorite restaurant, or you can order take-out or pizza.
- Is there a movie your family has been wanting to see? They can go if they help with spring cleaning!
- If your kids like playing computer games, maybe they’d enjoy a new game or two as a reward for helping. Everyone can settle down and enjoy their entertainment after a busy day.
- Don’t forget yourself – treat yourself to a good book, a special meal, or some other treat to keep your motivation.
With the right approach, there’s no reason why spring cleaning can’t be a family event!
Make it Age Appropriate
One fast way to discourage your kids from participating is to assign tasks that are not appropriate for their ages.
Make sure that tasks are appropriately challenging so that your kids have the satisfaction of a job well done – they feel like they’ve really achieved something.
Here are some quick tips for age-appropriate spring cleaning chores:
- Vacuuming can be done by preschoolers if they just need to push the vacuum through a small, simple space. Grade schoolers can vacuum a larger space or more than one room. Teens can vacuum the whole upstairs.
- Mopping can also be assigned to toddlers with supervision – they can put soap into the bucket and push the mop around. Grade schoolers can mop a whole kitchen if you carry the bucket of hot water and soap to the area. Teens can be given a bucket, mop and soap, and can do the job from start to finish.
- Window cleaning for toddlers might involve spraying the windows while you wipe. Grade school age can spray and wipe easy-to-reach windows. Teens can do inside and outside windows.
At What Age Should my Kids start cleaning
Do you think your toddler is too young to help you with cleaning? Is your teenager too laid-back, or your grade schooler just not interested?
Part of the problem might be the approach – if you break down cleaning into age-appropriate tasks, it can become a tradition in your family and your kids will be encouraged if their tasks are something they can do.
Here are some ideas for getting kids of all ages involved in cleaning the home.
Toddlers & PreSchoolers
Yes, they can help – just make sure you aren’t expecting perfection. When you give your child a task, remember that you relinquish control of that task.
For children this young, here are some ideas:
- Rinsing the car after washing, or helping wash the car. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; any small child can rub a soapy sponge over a car. You will have to supervise, but that’s okay.
- Pushing the vacuum cleaner is another task little ones can perform. Assign them a certain area of the floor or a room, and let them go. Just make sure small stuff is picked up off the floor first!
- Dusting with a feather duster can be fun for little ones – just make sure there’s nothing breakable in their path.
Grade School Age Kids
Kids from first grade on up to third grade can do more than the little ones.
- This age can help go through toys and separate them into bins or piles marked “Keep,” “Give Away” and “Throw Away.” If you use bins, it can help make the “Keep” section smaller – only what fits in the bin can be kept.
- Laundry chores can involve folding simple things like towels and dishcloths.
- Washing windows – as long as it doesn’t involve ladders – is something doable.
More responsibility can be incurred at this age.
- Laundry chores can be more involved, and may include loading, washing, drying, and folding.
- Cleaning out closets and organizing can often be carried out without your close supervision.
- Bathroom cleaning can take the form of washing out sinks and bathtubs.
- Mopping the floors with a sponge mop can work for this age.
Many adult tasks can be done by teens, and their help is much more like “real” help!
- Laundry can be done start to finish.
- Vacuuming, dusting, mopping and window washing are all appropriate for teens.
- Teens can take care of their own rooms – just make your expectations known.
- In general, it’s a good idea to offer incentives and rewards (not bribes) to your kids for helping out.
- Everyone deserves a treat for a job well done, such as candy for young ones, or take-out night for older ones.
- Approach them respectfully, ask for their help and think like a team, and reward everyone – that’s a winning situation!
4 Ways to Make Cleaning Fun for Kids
Are you worn out with trying to get your kids to help you clean?
You’re not alone! Nagging is no fun for anyone, and it doesn’t often get things done. And when kids do give in to nagging, the job may get done but you’ve probably got some resentment going on – both on your part and your kids’.
A peaceful solution may lie in sneaky cleaning – getting your kids to help without them realizing it, or make it so fun it doesn’t seem like work.
Here are some ideas for “tricking” your kids into helping you!
Magic Cleaning Spray
For young kids, tapping into their active imaginations is key to getting their help.
Find a spray bottle (maybe decorate it or let your child decorate it, or buy an inexpensive “special” one at the store) and fill it with cleaner.
Pretend like it’s magic spray that transforms dirty things into clean things, or pretend it makes objects come alive.
You can give the various objects different voices as they “come alive” during your cleaning spree.
Pretending once again, show your young child(ren) how a vacuum creates suction like a tornado.
Pretend it’s sucking up dirt and debris on a landscape, and toys and other items need to get to the “storm shelter” (toy bins) before they get sucked up by the tornado.
You could take the storm fantasy a little further and use it to disassemble block buildings and other things that need to be taken down and put away.
How many times have you told your child to wash the car?
Forget the nagging – make it into a water fight.
Fill a kids’ pool with sudsy water and let them fling suds on each other. Make designs with the suds on the car with the sponge.
Then rinse by letting kids take turns getting in the car with the windows up and the other one squirting at the glass. Let them run the windshield wipers.
You will have a clean car, and the kids will get exercise.
You can also use a variation of this method for getting the lawn watered. Set up sprinklers and let your kids jump through them, or just let them play with the hose on the designated area to be watered.
Just make sure they don’t make mud holes!
Give Items Personality
For some reason, kids will often listen to their toys more readily than they will listen to grown-ups.
Try giving your child’s toys personalities and voices, and have the toys “ask” to be put away. “I’m lonely and uncomfortable here on the floor!
I wish someone would put me in the toy box with my friends. I bet they are having a party in there, and I am all left out.”
Your child may take this idea and run with it, paying attention to other items that need to be put with their “friends.”
He or she may even make up a story about it. And while they’re at it, the toys get put away!
Ready to get your home in better shape?
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