Teaching your kids to clean is an important life lesson.
Cleaning has never been my strong suit. Yet, since becoming a mother, I have come to learn how important it is to have good habits because it makes an impact on my kids. Elias and Adeline are in second grade and kindergarten and have become quite the helpers around the house. While some things still don’t come naturally (ie: their shoes rarely make it in their organizers, but often will get close to them – ha!), we have made good progress in the past six months.
Here are five simple ways I have found are helpful for encouraging young kids to clean.
- Make cleaning supplies accessible: We make it easy for our kids to help with the cleaning by having supplies accessible to them. Not harsh chemicals of course, but things like natural cleaners, towels and our Swiffer Wet Jet and Swiffer vac. Adeline was begging me this morning to Swiffer the kitchen tile. Ezra is notorious for tossing food off his high chair and that Swiffer vac gets used every day by Elias to clean it up. The wet jet formulation was also recently improved so it is not only safe for wood floors, but doesn’t streak either. By having supplies accessible, kids are able to take ownership of cleaning tasks.
- Create a simple chart: I created a morning chart and a chore chart on a simple Dollar Tree wipe off sheet and it has been a game charger. The kids LOVE marking things off daily. I learned that it is important this is in a high traffic area of the home. We had a chore chart upstairs and it didn’t translate to big change with the kids because they didn’t see it often. I taped this one to the closet door in our lower level bathroom, so it is very visible.
- Set expectations: Kids respond well when they know what is expected of them. For instance, in our home, we have a rule of no media devices in the morning until all morning prep and chores are done. Likewise, evening clean up must be finished before bed. Communicating these expectations helps kids meet them with ease.
- Don’t overwhelm: I find that my kids will get overwhelmed if I set too many tasks before them, so I try to keep my chore list to less than three things at a time. If we have a lot to get done, I will say, “we have a lot of chores, but we going to start with ______.” This keeps the whining to a minimum!
- Celebrate jobs well done: I am always grateful when I see one of my kids with a Swiffer in hand or wiping off the table, and I am quick to acknowledge their good work. Saying “good job” and “thank you sweetheart for your help” goes a long way.
What tips do you have for getting your kids to help with cleaning? Do you have any favorite products?