Chores: 3 Tips to Make Cleaning a Family Affair
Yes, I know kids and cleaning can be a recipe for whining, fights, and eye rolling (mostly from the teens in the crowd) but don’t be too quick to give up. Here are three strategies to get your kids to pitch in around the house.
House Cleaning Strategies
Make it a Game
Turning clean-up time into a game works best with younger kids.
Try these ideas to get your little ones on board and helping around the house:
- Write down kid-friendly tasks on a BINGO card. When your child completes the tasks needed to get a BINGO, they earn a small treat or reward.
- Set a timer and race to see if you can pick up a room before the buzzer beeps.
- Put on some music and have a dance party while cleaning.
- Give kids their own child-sized cleaning tools so they can mop or scrub alongside you.
Remember, toddlers and preschoolers might have difficulty with a vague command to ‘clean up your room.’ Instead, give them specific tasks such as ‘put the books on the shelves’ or ‘place the toys in the toy box.’
Make it a Habit
Cleaning won’t seem so much like a chore if it becomes second-nature.
- Avoid turning your minivan into a storage unit by having everyone in the vehicle carry something inside each time you arrive home.
- Institute a five minute ‘room rescue’ rule before the TV, video games, or other devices are turned on.
- Create morning and night checklists with personal chores such as ‘make the bed’ and ‘put away clothes.’
Make it a Job
Some parents balk at the idea of paying their kids to do chores. After all, you don’t get paid to clean the house.
However, money can be extremely motivating for some kids, particularly tweens and young teens who are ready to shop but have limited earning opportunities. As a compromise, you can split chores up into two categories. For example, your kids may be expected to do some base chores for free, such as making the bed or loading the dishwasher. However, other jobs – perhaps scrubbing the toilet or folding laundry – have a price attached. Once a child has completed their base chores, they can complete additional work and get paid.
Although it may mean more work upfront, teaching your kids good cleaning habits can save you time in the long-run. In addition, it instills a good work ethic that reaps benefits far beyond your sparkling kitchen.
How do you involve your kids in the household chores?
Jess Katsma has owned a house cleaning service for over 10 years. She works with great families who actively involve their children in keeping up a home. She has seen firsthand how rewarding the effort to involve the family is, for both the parents and children. Jess writes about more experiences on her site Less Mess With Jess.