Do your kids have chores? My house is never as clean as I would like, and I’m working on getting closer to my ideal by getting my kids more involved with day-to-day cleaning. It’s more work for me in the short run, but will hopefully help in the long run – both by raising kids who know how to clean, and by making my children more aware of how much work running a house really requires. Here are a few things I’m doing with my six, four, and three-year-old – at this point, the one-month-old mostly helps by sleeping!
- Get kid-friendly cleaning supplies. We use non-toxic, green cleaners that are safe (vinegar and water is a favorite) for kids to be around. I took the middle sections out of our Swiffer Sweeper to make it the perfect height for my kids to sweep and even mop the floors!
- Clean with kids. All chores are more fun when there is someone to do them with!
- Turn cleaning into a game:
- See who picks up the most blocks.
- Stack DUPLO bricks into a tower before putting them in the bin.
- Hide an object in the room in such a way that the kids can only find it by putting away their toys (this last one was inspired by All-Of-A-Kind Family, one of my favorite childhood books).
- Preface fun and exciting activities with a mini cleaning session. My kids are much more willing to clean efficiently if they know that there is something exciting to do once they are finished!
- Make sure chores are clearly defined. My four-year-old especially handles “please put the blocks in their bin” much better than “ please clean up the playroom” – or even “please put away your toys”.
- Make clean-up easy. Our toy storage solution is to keep nearly all of our toys in identical bins – so my kids can simply grab the closest bin, fill it with one type of toy, and put it on the shelf.
- Downsize when clutter gets overwhelming. We’re in the middle of that right now!
- Assign ownership. Right now, I’m focusing on kids putting clothes away where they go and making beds, but I hope to extend to responsibility to other areas within the house soon.
- Express gratitude for help and a clean house. It’s always nice to get positive feedback – and what goes around comes around. I recently spent an hour cleaning the living room while Mike and the kids were out, and when they walked in the front door three-year-old Lily said, “Wow, Mama, this room looks so nice!”
- Organize. It’s hard to clean when things don’t have a designated “home”.
How do you get your kids involved with household chores?