Cleaning with Kids

How to get your kids involved in cleaning

Teach your children some valuable life skills by involving them in cleaning up around the house. You can make it fun and you’ll enjoy having extra pairs of hands to help out once they’re used to pitching in. Here are a few ideas about how you can turn cleaning into something that they’ll enjoy helping you with.

Turn it into a game.

There are lots of ways to gamify cleaning. Have them race against a timer and pick up all their toys before it goes off. If you’ve got two or more kids, have them compete against each other to see who can pick up all the dirty towels or fold the laundry first. Younger kids love to role-play, so encourage them to start their own pretend cleaning company where you call them up to have your house cleaned.

Crank up the tunes.

Make it a special event by putting on a favorite song and blasting it through the house. You can incorporate some dance moves into your dusting (but be sure you’re not just flinging dust all around: gather dust in a Speed Cleaning™ Feather Duster then tap against your foot to release the dust to the ground to be vacuumed up). The point is to turn cleaning into an exciting and fun time, and having the right music can get everyone energized to help.

Hide surprises.

This one requires a bit more work on your part, but you can make cleaning the house into a treasure hunt of sorts. Hide various surprises (candy, comic books, money, whatever!) around the house and let them know how many treasures are available to be discovered as they clean.

Encourage favorite tasks.

If there’s a particular cleaning chore that your child enjoys doing, teach them how to do it well and encourage them to do it as often as they like. You might have to follow along behind them for a few tries to get it done correctly, but show them exactly how you like the dishes cleaned or the rug vacuumed and you soon won’t have to worry about the end result.

Give specific instructions

Give one or two simple instructions at a time. Being told to “clean up your room” can be a bit overwhelming to younger children, whereas the instruction of “put your toys back into the closet, then make your bed” is more clear. Clearly define the goal so your children know exactly what success looks like.

Have a clear reward system.

Set up a system where the least desirable chores have the highest reward. For example, cleaning the bathroom is worth more than taking out the trash. Write down the rewards and let your children choose which chore they’ll take on based on what they’ll receive in exchange. And it doesn’t have to be a monetary payout—they could earn points towards a chore-free day, or staying up late, or selecting which movie the family watches that weekend.

 

Whichever tactic you choose, you’ll be helping your children develop skills that will help them as they grow into adults who have to manage their own homes someday. And you’ll get help keeping your own home clean in the bargain.

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