It’s easy to see chores like the cleaning and washing as something separate to activities and time with the kids, whether they’re at a young age and need lots of fun activities and attention, or they’re older teenagers now doing their own things.
In actual fact though, you can bring these together, and actually involve your kids and children in say your cleaning. There are lots of mutual benefits; you have help at hand, the kids have a focused activity, you end up having lots of fun, and you develop really important family ties.
The secret is to get the right balance and scenarios for doing this, so it is something that children want to do and actually end up enjoying.
So here are 5 different aspects to consider in order to encourage kids getting involved with cleaning in particular:
1. The Right Context: Make sure the cleaning activity is enjoyable for each individual child - ideally linked to their interest and passions. So for kids who love, for example, football, then maybe focus on clearing the rear garden and yard to play football later. For those into craft, cleaning the dining room or bedroom where they prepare crafts. Also, remember other non-home contexts like the car, or community groups and charities or schools you’re involved with, and even your work place.
2. The Right Challenge: Kids love a challenge; a clear to-do, with some kind of reward afterwards like a piece of chocolate. The clearer the better, so tasks like “to clean their bedroom back to what it was before”, or help you for 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen. Time limits are also good, so maybe 5 minute challenges, and making a big thing of starting and stopping the stop watch. Involving a group is also really good, maybe as a relay or team effort or competition!
3. The Right Circumstances: You really need a good back-drop to encourage the kids into the tasks at hand and to carry on to the bitter end and actually enjoy, not giving up halfway when they get bored. Music is great at this, something upbeat and they can sing along to. General encouragement and interaction with them is also good, having a laugh when things aren’t maybe done correctly, and saying what a great job they do when it is done well.
4. The Right Clear-Up: Remember the aftermath to clear up, including placing cleaning items back correctly. The cleaning itself can also be based on clearing up after people, such as a de-clutter at the weekend, or after an activity. Also this can include preparing for things, so for example with craft items and maybe a shopping trip, and even getting kids to plan and list what is needed and develop organisational skills.
5. The Right Checks. Finally remember to make sure you keep things correctly checked, including from a safety perspective. Carefully select cleaning items and equipment that are safe for them, even a simple long-handled brush or mop can easily be tripped over and suddenly become a fighting implement between rival siblings if not monitored. It’s often good to keep things simple, so a basic dry-cloth or duster to wipe around, and helping an adult with the vacuum cleaner rather than leaving them to their own devices or asking them to re-stock shelves and cupboards.
Once you get the five angles clarified, you’re then well on your way to involving the kids, and actually having lots of fun in the process!
For other cleaning tips and tricks, Easy Cleaners have a regular blog covering all kinds of cleaning in the home and work place.
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