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.