Cleaning the house is a necessary endeavor that’s not without its rewards. A clean home means less germs and clutter, which means less time spent under the weather and fewer occurrences of stepping on your children’s toys. Unless you have a particular affinity for tidying up, cleaning the household isn’t the most fun activity — but it can be if you know how to approach it.
Many hands make light work, which means you can spend less time cleaning by dividing and conquering tasks as a family. Having your kids help with the chores teaches them discipline and teaches them the importance of maintaining an organized household. By using these tips and tricks, you can get your kids on board with the idea of pitching in when it comes time to tidying up.
Set the mood
Nothing gets toes tapping and muscles moving like music. Create a soundtrack specifically for housecleaning that will encourage your kids to get involved. Fatherly’s Patrick A. Coleman recommends trying different kinds of music to see what works. Some kids might respond better to contemporary pop hits than they would children’s music, and you can always pop on the music from the movie, television show or video game that they are currently interested in.
Temper your expectations
You hold yourself and your spouse to a certain standard of cleanliness, but if you want to get your children in on the task at hand you will need to learn to expect from them only what they are able to do. Patiently teach them how to perform given chores that most closely match their abilities and skill levels. Younger children shouldn’t be handling cleaning products or sharp objects, but they’re perfectly capable of putting away toys and folding cloths.
You will also want to be very clear in your instructions to avoid having to explain yourself multiple times, which can feel to a child like micromanaging and can discourage them from completing their task. To pull this off, Parents magazine recommends that you specify exactly what you want done. Rather than tell your child to clean their room, tell them what tasks need to be done to get their room sufficiently clean. If necessary, providing a simple checklist can help ensure that your expectations are met.
Practice a tidy philosophy
A great way to get your kids involved in the process of keeping the house clean is by teaching them the importance of cleaning as they go. While this can include learning where to put their dishes after dinner or their trash after an afternoon snack, your best bet is to instill in them the importance of putting away toys before getting out new ones. This enforces the idea of keeping a play area clean even as it’s being used, which prevents the area surrounding a toy chest from resembling a disaster area.
A great way to get your kids involved with cleaning is to provide encouragement for a job well-done. Whether it’s play time, a special dinner or dessert, a trip to the ice cream shop or even a big hug, reinforcing your child’s good behavior will help ensure that it becomes less of a struggle over time to get your children to join in on chores. For older kids, you can implement the same approach by offering time on electronic devices or allowing them to go out with their friends if they finish their chores. While you won’t want to rely on this to the extent that your kids will expect something every time they pitch in, you can use incentives to your advantage to motivate listless little ones.
If you make cleaning a fun and rewarding family activity, your kids will become awesome helpers and your house will shine in no time.