4 ideas on how to include young kids in cleaning
Maintaining the cleanliness of your home is a full time job, and whilst there are modern cleaning utensils (like a Roborock robotic vacuums) to alleviate elements of the manual labor, parents commonly forget they have little helpers they can call upon. Their little kids! The concept of cleaning is mostly associated with negative connotations, often causing sighs and moans when it’s time to clean… but it doesn’t have to be! By creating a game or activity around cleaning, the chore can become a fun weekly activity that the whole family can be involved in.
Not only does getting your children involved support you as the parent, and keep your children occupied for a period of time, but it also teaches them the value of cleaning and builds lifelong skills. One day, when they grow up and move out of home, the cleaning habits they learnt as a child will hugely benefit them in taking care of themselves.
I bet you’re thinking ‘my kids will never want to help me clean’. Whilst an element of this may be true, purely because of the negative connotations the human population places on ‘cleaning’, we’ve got 3 creative ideas that assure us you can include young kids in cleaning.
Idea #1: Make a game out of it
Children are filled with energy, sometimes it seems as though they’re a magnet for energy. Their energetic behaviour creates the perfect opportunity for a cleaning game. The thing is, you don’t have to tell your child they are cleaning. Instead, you could teach them the value of cleaning through a game.
Do you remember Mathletics? This was a fun game played in primary school that was based entirely on math. Whilst all students know it’s math, it doesn’t feel like math because it’s fun to do! This idea follows the same concept. Instead of directing your child on how to clean, make a hand-made and pretty coloured list of rules, points, bonus points, and purpose. Create your own game specific to the area you want to clean. Whether this be the living room, kitchen, spare room, etc. Here’s an example:
Game title: Mission clean floor
Game time: 15 minutes
How to get points:
- 5 points = item picked up and put on the table (or in a basket)
- 10 points = item picked up and put in the proper spot
- 15 points = dirty stain cleaned with water and rag
- 15 points = crumbs picked up with fingers or a duster and put in the bin
- 20 points = rubbish picked up and put in the bin
How to win: The winner is the person with the most points
Do you see how a boring chore could be turned into a fun activity? Consider the mindset of children, they love a challenge, and are excited by games. This is the perfect idea to instill cleaning skills without calling it cleaning.
Idea #2: Buy matching cleaning utensils
Children want to be like their parents, especially when they’re younger. Parents are their role models and kids look up to them to learn and be appreciated. This creates an opportunity for you as the parent to show and not tell. What do we mean? Simple, if you want them to help you clean, show them how to clean. Get them involved in what you’re doing - and to make things more game-like, buy matching cleaning utensils.
Depending on the age of your child, they may have the ability to operate a vacuum, but there are many other cleaning utensils you could buy in matching colours, or perhaps size (although wouldn’t it be cute if you had a big one and your child had a smaller one?).
Once buying them their own, personal, cleaning utensils, your children have two motivations to join you:
1) They want to be like you, so when they see you cleaning they are encouraged to join
2) They have their own fun toys to use!
Due to the above motivations, they’ll be eager to get involved!
Idea #3: Regular schedule
This idea would well accompany the previous ideas. For children especially, it’s important to have a regular routine to build habits and help ground them during a time where there’s so much unknown and constant daily change. Use your cleaning activities as an opportunity to ground them and put consistency in their life. Let’s look at an example.
Say you decided to create a game out of cleaning (idea #1), and every Saturday morning at 10am you played this game. Whilst the time slot stays the same, the ‘mission’ of the game might differ (just to keep things exciting). One week it might be the bedroom, the next it might be the living room.
This instills routine, excitement, and enables you to get your chores done whilst still spending time with the people you love most. Plus, it’s a cheap family activity!
The idea of ‘schedule’ can be replicated for your “show and tell” with matching cleaning utensils.
Idea #4: Build good habits
Building good habits in regards to cleaning has life-long value. It’s so easy for children, who have high energy, to wreak chaos and leave messes everywhere they go. This isn't a ‘bad habit’, it’s simply in the nature of youngsters. A creative way to counteract this is to instill good habits.
Start simple, start with their bedroom. Teach them to make them bed when they wake up, and check daily to see if they have. If they have, congratulate them and give them a hug. If they haven’t, make it with them and show them your made bed. Once the bed making habit is built, move onto putting clothes back in the wardrobe. Then taking glasses to the kitchen. You get the gist! This reduces the amount of mess in the house, and therefore, reduces the amount of time required on cleaning… allowing you to become a tad lazier with your cleaning without seeing a huge difference.
The above four creative ideas are certainly simple, but once executed, will positively impact your relationship with your children and the cleanliness of your home.