My kids love to help me clean…and by cleaning, not always putting their toys away, but more scrubbing walls and windows. There must be some kind of magical power in holding a spray bottle and rag. A few weekends back it was pouring raining and I needed to get some cleaning done, but wasn’t feeling up to it, so I decided to get the kiddies involved and see if that lightened the load some.
I wrote down oodles of mundane cleaning tasks that they could easily help me with and created a game out of it. I wrote all my cleaning tasks down on a piece of paper and cut them into strips and placed all the strips in a big bowl.
I chose tasks that I knew they could mostly do on their own with little or no help from me.
Some examples were:
wash the walls in varying rooms
cleaning the kitchen table and the chairs (two different tasks)
vacuuming the couch cushions
wiping bathroom and kitchen counters
cleaning cabinet fronts
tidying up beds or toys
I wrote down probably about 40 different jobs and put them all in the bowl, saving the more serious jobs, like cleaning the potty, for me. I set out some different cleaning supplies for them to use like natural wipes, natural cleaning sprays and reusable rags. I also filled up a bucket with just soap and water and gave each pea a sponge for cleaning things like table legs and chairs. They LOVED the bucket and sponges. They actually took turns with the bucket too, and didn’t fight over it. It only split once and thankfully, it was in the kitchen. Make sure you show them how to squeeze ALL the water out BEFORE using it (the 3 year old needed some help with this).
The best way to get your kids to help you?? Make it a game! They each took turns choosing a task and completing it. I made sure they understood that it wasn’t a race and they had to really spend time on each chore or they would have to sit out. The older two did tons of them and Hannah did lots at her own pace. We set out water for everyone to drink and some music to clean to.
Make sure you give them some rags and not all paper towels, unless of course you are ok with going through three rolls for one cleaning session. Homemade cleaners are great for this as well. I love cleaning with just vinegar and water, it really works well and is dirt cheap to make!
Tips for cleaning with kids:
– use kid friendly natural cleaners (plain soap and water works great too!)
– use reusable materials (sponges, rags)
– pick age appropriate tasks (if you have a wide age range, you could even do different bowls for each child so no one gets frustrated)
– set CLEAR expectations for what you want for results
– encourage them to have fun
– make a game out of it, but not a race, or else you’ll be having sloppy cleaning
– allow the little ones to stop when they want to, so they don’t get burnt out
– make a fun environment with music and fun drinks
– share a yummy treat or snack for a job well done
Although sometimes, I know, it is just easier to do it ourselves, if you don’t encourage your kids to help occasionally, they may be less likely to help with they are older. Use lots of positive praise and have fun with it. If you are a bit OCD like me and have trouble letting go, it may be best to sip on a glass of wine while you are working 🙂