Have Your Kids Help With Cleaning This Spring

Posted Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

having your kids help with cleaning

Cleaning with your kids is a great opportunity to bond, teach life skills, and have some help with housework (they live here too, you know!). Kids aren’t born knowing how to clean, so it is important to choose age appropriate tasks, use one step commands, and model ideal habits. You want to choose tasks that are not too complex or require fine motor-skills beyond the child’s development. Asking a small child to dust breakable knick-knacks might seem simple, but you are setting yourself up for broken glass and tears. With your little ones in mind, here are a few ways to have your kids help with cleaning around the house.

Keep It Simple

One step commands can help prevent kids from being overwhelmed, confused, and distracted. Young kids don’t really understand what “clean your room” means until you teach them. “Put all of your toys into the toy box,” is a one step command that a child can understand. Once that is done, the child will feel a sense of accomplishment, and you can give them another one step command to do.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

It is also important to clean WITH your child. Sending them to another room to clean feels like a punishment, but if they are helping you clean it will feel like teamwork. This gives you an opportunity to demonstrate how to clean, give encouragement, prevent distraction, and share quality time together.

Your child is learning by watching you, so try to keep a positive attitude, give gratitude for their efforts, and look for opportunities to learn and practice skills. Cleaning can give kids a sense of accomplishment, and make them feel like a valuable and contributing part of the family.

Recleaning behind them undermines having your kids help with cleaning. Imagine working hard to learn a new skill, giving your best effort, and having your mentor completely redo your project. Talk about frustrating!

If your child’s attempt isn’t living up to your standards (totally understandable) you can always demonstrate and give advice on how to improve.

Learning Step by Step

Some things, like making a bed, will slowly get better with time. You can start by teaching your child to put a blanket on the top and place pillows/stuffed animals. Eventually you can build on those tasks as their motor skills develop so that, in time, they can make the full bed. It will probably start out looking sloppy, but, with a little patience, your kid will be making the bed like a pro.

Of course, if you know that you are super particular about streak free windows or crisply folded linens, some tasks are better left to you. Be aware of your expectations and your child’s abilities; that way, everybody’s happy!

Chore ≠ Bore

Since not everyone loves to clean (gasp!), here are some ways to make cleaning a bit more fun and engaging for kids:

  • Pump the Tunes  Listening to upbeat music can help anyone at any age with making cleaning a bit more enjoyable. Dance breaks are encouraged. Singing cleanup songs can actually help children focus on simple tasks. Consider adding a cleanup song to your routine!
  • Turn Cleaning Into A Game – How many pieces can we put away in 5 minutes? Can you vacuum the living room faster than you did last time? Breaking up cleaning into these small time chunks provides more opportunities to feel accomplished. This makes cleaning more enjoyable!
  • Jr’s Cleaning Company, Inc – Get your little one a caddy with their own cleaning supplies. Natural cleansers, socks for cleaning floors, microfiber cloth for dusting, kid sized rubber glove, etc. You could even get a little apron or overalls with your child’s name. They can pretend to own a cleaning company, and you could play the customer.
  • Expiration Date Detective Have your child look for expired foods to clean out fridge and pantry. Let them choose a snack (non-expired, of course!) as a reward!

Using these methods to have your kids help with cleaning is a great way to teach them responsibility and instill good habits for the future, but there’s another benefit that’s much more short-term: Your house? It gets cleaned. And you have to do less and less of the work yourself as your kids get older and more capable. Eventually, you can just sit back, refreshing drink and/or snack in hand, while the kids take care of all of the Spring Cleaning themselves, freshening up the house without you having to lift a finger… That’s the dream anyway. Reality may differ slightly!

If your kid can operate a truck-mounted 50k hot water extraction machine capable of injecting 240-degree cleaning solution at 500 PSI and pulling 450 CFM, you probably don’t need Modernistic to clean your carpet. If they can’t, our expert technicians are more than happy to give you the absolute best Spring Cleaning possible! Call or click today.


Fun Healthy Lunches for Kids

Posted Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

We love to have fun with our kids, and kids love to have fun with their food. Instead of trying to stop kids from playing with their food it’s a great idea to re-harness this energy by bringing them into the kitchen. Getting children engaged with ingredients and dishes they really like and involving them when you prepare meals will benefit everyone in your household, and you will all have fun cooking together! Here are just a few ideas for fun healthy lunches for kids to get you started!

School Lunches

If you make your children’s lunches the night before, have your kids help! Below are some simple recipes for lunches that are fun to make, taste good, and are good for your kids!

Meat and Cheese Roll Ups

  • Favorite sliced lunch meat
  • Favorite sliced cheese*

These roll ups are simple to make, very filling and you are practically playing with food as you roll them up! These are delicious, protein heavy, and gluten free!

-Lay a slice of meat on a clean surface, lay a slice of cheese on top and then cover the cheese with another slice of meat.-Fold one end over and begin to roll up.

-Place 2-3 in a sandwich bag.

*If you don’t have sliced cheese don’t fret! Cut a rectangle of cheese and wrap the meat around it. Just as easy and delicious!

Cookie Cutter Sandwiches

  • Large cookie cutters
  • Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly

Sandwiches are classic and delicious. No reason to change what’s great about them, but you can make them way more fun with fun shapes! Kids love to use cookie cutters and this is a great solution for little ones who don’t like crusts.

-Make your kids favorite sandwich (We are using PB and Jelly for this example but this would work for practically any sandwich!)

-Place finished sandwich on a flat surface.

– Press cookie cutter into sandwich to cut out shape. You can make them all the same shape or get wild and use different cookie cutters. The more shapes the more fun!

– Wrap in plastic wrap or put in a sandwich bag for portable yumminess!

Veggies on a Stick       

  • Favorite veggies
  • Skewers 

A little novelty can go a long way with kids. Pick out some favorite veggies with your child and show them how to push the veggies on a skewer. This is great for a bag lunch or a snack at home. Serve with a sauce that compliments the veggies. Here are some yummy veggie/dip combinations:

-Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots on a skewer with ranch to dip

-Red and green pepper slices, cucumbers and celery on a skewer with hummus to dip

-Mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes on a skewer with pesto to dip (a kid friendly version of caprese salad!)

-Mix and match your kids favorite veggies and dip! Get creative!

Home Lunches

A day at home with the kids is the perfect time to gather up your little ones, get into the kitchen, and experiment with lunch! Have fun, be creative, and don’t fret if it gets messy!

Tortilla Pizzas

  • Tortillas (corn or flour)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded cheese of choice
  • Mini pepperonis or sliced ham
  • Other favorite toppings:
  • Olives
  • Red or green pepper diced
  • Sliced mushrooms  

Most kids love pizza, and kids love having options when it comes to food. Lay out ingredients for them to choose from and assist them in creating their own pizza!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

– Cover cookie or baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay tortillas on baking sheet

– Spoon pizza sauce onto tortilla and spread out to cover most of the surface.

– Show your child how to sprinkle shredded cheese on top and monitor to make sure it’s not too much! The pizza will be hard to handle if there is too much cheese!

– Once there is the right amount of cheese it is time to choose and arrange other toppings! Arrange them on top of the cheese, then sprinkle a little more cheese on top so that when it melts the other toppings are secure. Have fun with this step! You can make faces or designs with the toppings or just let your little one have at it and place the toppings as they choose.

– After they have added everything on that they desire put the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the cheese is fully melted!

– Remove from oven and let cool. Once the pizza is cool enough, use a spatula to transfer to a plate and cut into slices that are easier for little hands to handle.

Quesadillas

  • Your favorite tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned corn
  • Mexican style chicken or beef**
  • Taco seasoning

Nothing quite hits the spot like warm gooey cheese and crispy tortilla! This is a simple black bean quesadilla, delicious and filling. Meat is optional and a great way to use up leftovers from taco night!

-Put shredded cheese in a bowl and keep close by

-Mix half a can of black beans and ¼ of a can of corn together in a small saucepan and heat up.

– Mix in a small amount of taco seasoning into warmed black beans and corn. Not too much if your children are adverse to spicy foods!  Once fully mixed take off heat and set to the side.

-If you are using meat re-heat slightly and set to the side

-Get a larger pan nice and hot and warm both sides of the tortilla.

-Once tortilla is slightly toasted lightly sprinkle cheese on one half. Spread evenly.

-Spoon a small amount of your bean and corn mixture on top of cheese. If you are adding meat to your quesadilla, add some on top of the veggies and cheese.

-Evenly sprinkle cheese on top of the added veggies and meat; without this cheese the quesadilla won’t stick together!

– Flip other half of tortilla over and toast on both sides until cheese is melted! Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Fruit Puree Popsicles

  • 2 cups fruit of choice, fresh or frozen (strawberries, watermelon, peaches, blueberries)
  • Honey

What kid doesn’t love a Popsicle? These are a bit healthier than store bought versions and you can make all sorts of varieties with different fruits. You can pick up Popsicle molds at almost any grocery store.

-Blend 2 cups of fruit and honey in a blender. Start with 2 tablespoons of honey and add more to taste.

-Pour into Popsicle molds and let freeze for several hours.

-Hand out to treat hungry kiddos!


Meals You Can Make With Your Kids

Posted Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Do your kids know how to cook? It can be fun and educational for kids to help make delicious and nutritious food. Doing a little prep beforehand (or while the little ones are washing up) can make things run a lot smoother. Using pre-chopped veggies and baking mixes make it easy to have meals you can make with your kids without getting bogged down with knife skills or too much measuring. What should you make? Here are a few Simple & Quick suggestions!

Simple & Quick Breakfast

You might already make breakfast with your little ones on the weekends. But, wouldn’t it be nice if the kids could actually make breakfast a little bit easier for you? Microwaved mug meals are the answer!

Make your own instant oatmeal mix (or buy them from the store) and it will be easy for kids to add water and mix-ins and microwave themselves. Berries, chocolate chips, and freeze dried fruit are all excellent additions.

You can even make a savory oatmeal using leftover veggies from dinner last night. Using unshelled egg mix and pre-chopped ingredients can make mug omelets easy for kids to put together. You can also make an easy French toast in a mug by tearing up a slice of bread, adding syrup, eggs, and milk, (you may want to mix up the custard beforehand) and microwaving until set.

Kid-Friendly Lunch

For lunch bento boxes can be really fun! Use cookie cutters to make fun shaped cheese and meat, and eat with crackers. Baby carrots and other fresh veggies are fun for kids to dip in ranch, hummus, or salsa. Watermelon is also great for cutting with cookie cutters, add some blueberries or grapes for variety.

You can even find egg molds and flags to make bento boxes extra special. These boxes can seem fussy for an adult to put together every night, but having your kids put it together turns making lunch into a game.

Dinners For Days

Who doesn’t love pizza? You can make easy pizzas by using flour tortillas, pitas, naan, bagels, French bread, or even sandwich bread, bell peppers, or eggplant slices as the crust. Simply top with sauce, cheese, toppings and bake on at a high temperature. You will have customized personal pizzas in no time.

Encourage your kids to use as many colors as possible to ensure they eat a variety of veggies. Use the toppings take faces, rainbows, houses, or whatever your imagination wants to see on a pizza.

Snack Time!

Getting bored with the same old snacks? Mix things up with donut apples! Just core and slice apple into donut rounds. Add peanut butter, cookie butter, nutella, frosting, or yogurt and top with sprinkles, granola, or whatever your kids like. It will feel like a treat, but it will be full of fiber and vitamins.

Desserts are always fun to make with kids! Jazz up your cereal treats by topping them with sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, freeze dried fruit, nuts, or another favorite cereal.

There are many different types of meals you can make with your kids, and it’s fun to get the whole family involved in the process! Better yet, you can make it a weekly event – family cook dinner night. We guarantee your kids will better appreciate the effort that goes into preparing food and they’ll learn to cook while they’re at it!

 


Simple & Quick Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

Posted Friday, February 9th, 2018

Who wants to go out in all this slush and snow? February is the perfect time to warm up indoors with your little ones and get creative. Break out the glue sticks, construction paper, and yarn for some Simple & Quick Valentine’s Day crafts for kids, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

I Love You Berry Much! Strawberry Valentine

Materials needed:

  • Scissors
  • Green, red, white, and black construction paper
  • Glue stick
  • Marker

Steps:

  1. Cut out 1 big red heart, 3 small green hearts, and 5-7 tiny white hearts. This will be the body and stem of your strawberry!
  2. Cut out a thin green strip of paper (the stem!) and a curved black strip of paper (the mouth!)
  3. Cut out 2 quarter sized white circles and 2 slightly smaller white circles.
  4. Glue the black circles onto the white circles – now you have eyes! Glue these onto the red heart.
  5. Glue black curved strip underneath eyes – the face is finished!
  6. On the top of the red heart glue down the three green hearts to make the leaves, glue the green strip to the backside of the red heart for a stem.
  7. Glue the tiny white hearts down all over (these are the tiny seeds on the strawberry!)
  8. Let glue dry. You can write a fun message on the back and turn it into a Valentine or just hang it up as a cute decoration!

Beaded Heart Necklace

Materials needed:

  • Red and pink craft foam
  • Plastic pony beads
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. Cut a square in the craft foam. It can be small or a little larger, depending on how big you want your heart necklace to be!
  2. Fold that square in half and cut out a heart shape.
  3. Punch one or 2 holes into your heart, make sure to leave some space between the hole and the top of the heart!
  4. Cut a piece of yarn about 2-3 feet long and thread it through the hole.
  5. Start stringing beads on to the yarn. You can use all the same color beads or have fun and create a pattern! Once you have added as many beads as you want, tie the ends together.
  6. Ta Da!!! A heart necklace perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Woven Valentines

Materials needed:

  • Colorful cardstock or construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Thumbtack
  • Yarn
  • Large blunt needle

Steps:

  1. Use the cardstock to create your cards.
  2. Trace a heart shape onto the front of the card.
  3. Using the thumb tack, follow the heart outline and pierce a hole every ½ cm.
  4. String the yarn through the blunt needle; tie a knot on the end so it doesn’t pull all the way through!
  5. You can just sew along the heart shape but don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment! You can create stripes or a zig zag pattern!
  6. Write a sweet message on the inside and give it to someone you love!

Heart Garland

Materials needed:

  • Pink and red construction paper*
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

*Be creative with paper choices! You don’t have to use construction paper! Use decorative paper or patterned paper if you have any. For a more personal touch have your kids decorate the paper with crayons, markers, papers, or stamps! Let them know it will be cut into strips – we don’t want any tears.

Steps:

  1. Cut your colorful paper into strips 1 in wide and 9 in long. Construction paper is 9 in wide so if you are using that just cut it into 1 in strips!
  2. Fold 2 paper strips in half.
  3. Take one of the folded strips and staple it on the folded end about ½ cm from the edge of the paper.
  4. Un-fold the paper strip and shape it into a heart, pinch the bottom to hold together – don’t staple yet!
  5. Grab your other folded strip of paper and open it, place the crease against the bottom of the first heart you have created, and fold it over your already made heart. Staple the bottom of the heart about ½ cm from the edge of the paper. You have created your first heart and started the second one!
  6. Repeat step 4 and 5 until you are happy with the length of your heart garland, then staple the ends of your last heart together.
  7. Show your house some love and hang your festive garland above a door, on a bookshelf, or on a cabinet!

Fun Indoor Activities for Kids in the Winter

Posted Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

When the temperatures dip and the snow piles up, we often find our faces glued to screens and not enjoying quality time together as a family. In the warm days of summer, we can lock our electronics inside while we make memories together outside. In the frigid January wind and snow, not so much! If your youngsters are driving you crazy, don’t let the weather get you down; try some of these winter-approved indoor activities for kids!

Do Summer Inside

When the weather isn’t cooperating, make the most of your interior space. There’s no rule that summer fun HAS to be outdoors. Try some of these fun indoor activities for kids (usually reserved for summer!) in the heated comfort of your home:
Put down a tarp and fill a kiddy pool with sand – Instant sand box!
Put on your swimsuits and head to the bathroom for an indoor water park – Cups, bath crayons, and water guns bring bath time to a new (and way more fun) level.
Have a picnic – Who says you need to wait for a sunny day? Pack up your favorite snacks in a basket and lay out a big blanket on your living room floor. Bring along finger sandwiches and a teapot for an extra fancy touch.
Build an old fashioned pillow fort – When the kids are longing for their tree house, a table or desk covered with a blanket and filled with cozy pillows and stuffed toys makes for a quick and easy hideaway.

Don’t Forget the Old Standbys

Now that the kids have a place for their fun, they will want some entertainment. This is the perfect time to pull out all of those board games or a deck of cards from the back of the closet. Another great way to spend an hour is to pull up a video online and learn something new! A new magic trick, a new recipe, a new song ; you can learn anything online. These long cold nights are a perfect opportunity to pop some corn and share a favorite movie from your childhood with your kids. Really put that pillow fort to good use, and cuddle up with a good book, or let the pros read a book aloud with an audio book or story podcast. There are kid and family friendly podcasts available for free download!

Family Bonding

These cold days and nights are a great time to share some meaningful time together as a family. Being trapped indoors may seem confining, but, with a bit of planning and some of these fun indoor activities for kids, your family can enjoy many bonding experiences while waiting out our Michigan winter.

Modernistic has been helping Michigan families cope with the rigors of winter for over 40 years! While we know many ways to keep kids busy when it’s cold outside, we know even more about ways to keep your carpet, upholstery, tile, hardwood, and air ducts clean and ready for family night. YES, even in the winter!