When it comes to cleaning, it can kind of feel like a job that is saved just for mom. And whether you have one kid or 10, the thought of tackling it all on your own can feel very overwhelming! I didn’t want that all on my shoulders! On top of that, I wanted to teach my kids how to clean. I want them to contribute to our household. It is also a skill they can use as they get older and move out. So today I thought it would be fun + helpful to share some of my tips to get your kids involved in cleaning and have it be successful!
: DON’T OVERWHELM THEM
If someone hands you a giant list of things you need to do, your brain instantly goes into panic mode and wants to shut down. The same goes for kids with a huge list of chores. Instant overwhelm. My biggest tip to start this process out successfully is to simplify the lists!
You can keep it as simple as just writing down 5 chores for each child on their own piece of paper. Another fun way that makes them feel more involved is to start with one big list of everything you need done. Once you have that list, let them take turns picking a chore they WANT to do, and put their initials by it. When the list is all claimed, then you go through and make them individual lists. Something about knowing you got to choose, rather than chores were forced on you, makes it more appealing to accomplish, and equals less complaining because you chose it!
: GIVE EVERYONE THEIR OWN SUPPLIES
Just like with school supplies, art supplies, or even things for sports, having their own set of supplies can make all the difference when it comes to cleaning with kids. We used to just have one thing of clorox wipes, one magic eraser, etc. It lead to more arguing and complaining waiting for someone else to use what you needed. I finally had a lightbulb moment and created cleaning kits for each of their individual bathrooms. It eliminated not only the whining, but sped up how long it took too because they weren’t waiting on each other.
: SIMPLIFY THE JOB ITSELF
I don’t expect my kids to be able to clean as well as myself or someone that does it for a living. For me having them pitch in is a lot more about them learning to work and taking on that responsibility, versus the quality of the work. To help keep attitudes good and complaints to a minimum, I try to simplify the tasks and make them kid friendly. Some examples of that are:
Using disposable toilet brushes. It is quick and easy to unwrap, scrub, and flush down the toilet.
Instead of mopping, which takes a lot of work/potential spills, they use clorox wipes. I will have them wipe down the baseboards and around the toilet. Quick and easy!
Magic Erasers! These are our best friends when it comes to countertops, sinks, walls, tubs, everything. It is so easy to hand them one of those and give them an area, vs dealing with chemicals and sprays.
: MAKE YOUR INSTRUCTIONS CLEAR
When you first give them a new job, show them how to do it at least once. Be around for questions the first couple of times. This does not mean do it for them. If they are confident and know you have seen them do it and approved, they are less likely to go into it the next time feeling confused or not up to par.
: SHOW YOUR PRAISE + HIDE YOUR CORRECTIONS
As a clean freak, it can be hard to not correct them or redo it for them. Remember, your goal is to teach the responsibility and habit of a clean lifestyle. If they are doing their best and completing the task, show that you are proud of them. Let them know you approve of what they did! A little bit of praise goes a long way!!
And NEVER redo the cleaning in front of them. It is a huge discouragement and makes them think their is no point in them doing it. I’m not saying you can’t be like me and sometimes wait until they go to bed or to school to do it a little better, but never act like their work isn’t good enough.
: HAVE A REWARD
Last but not least, have a reward and stick to it! Before you even start the chores/cleaning, let them know about the reward and get them excited for it. It can be as simple as making cookies, going for ice cream, or playing a game they love when you are done. When they have something to look forward to it makes the goal easier to want to accomplish.
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I hope these tips are helpful in getting your kids involved in cleaning! I have included our chore chart printable below as well to help simplify a daily list! Just right click and save the image! You can read more about how we pay our kids for chores here.