Cleaning with kids can seem like a hassle and even more in recent times. It’s even more of headache when your children are fighting tooth and nail not to clean; sometimes it’s easier to give in and just do it yourself.
But here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be that way.
Cleaning with kids doesn’t have to be stressful all the time. In fact, it can be fun and productive. The key to making it this way is to turn everything into a game. As we become adults, we are told to be serious and stop playing games. But this is your chance to become a kid again, and make up games for your children. Everyone has fun and the house gets clean, that’s a win win!
Here are some different strategies that you can use to make cleaning with your kids fun and productive:
1. Clean up with Music
Music can be a strong motivator, especially for children. And singing songs can be a great way for you to have fun while cleaning up at the same time.
“Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share”
Simple songs like these can be a great way to get children interested in cleaning up their toys.
If you have multiple children, you can have them race each other and complete a small task before the song ends.
Alternatively, you can put some music on YouTube and encourage your child to “ beat the music”. If they have their room tidied by the time the song is over, they will receive some type of reward.
2. Encourage some Friendly Competition
Have more than one child? We all know how competitive our children can be with one another, so why not use that to your advantage? Assign each of your children a portion of the room to tidy. Whoever tidies the quickest wins and receives some type of reward.
3. Make a Relay Out of it
Susie’s job is to tidy the bed, who then tags Tommy to sweep the floor, who then tags little Johnny to hang up the clothes. Keep track of how quickly they finish the relay, and then encourage them to beat their time during the next tidy up job.
Watching your children act out this race, will surely be entertaining for you 🙂
4. Play a Game of Eye Spy
“I spy with my little eye something that is red”. Then, have your child put away everything that is red until they find the object you were talking about. ( Of course, the correct object will always be the last one that they put away!)
5. Play Dress up
Why not turn clean up time into imaginative play? Dress up like maids, butlers, or princes/princesses who love to clean. Your child will be so engaged in their new roles that they won’t even realize they are “cleaning”.
Tips to Keep Things Productive:
When turning clean up time into fun time, it’s easy to get off track. Here are some additional tips for keeping your cleanup time productive:
- Figure out what your child likes. If your six year old enjoys helping you with dishes, encourage them to do it. The more they feel valued and rewarded, the more likely they will be to help out with other chores too.
- Set clear standards. If you only tell your child that they have to make their bed once a week, they will resist a lot more when you ask them to do it. Insist that they make their bed every morning before they can watch tv, and encourage them to tidy their toys or messes as they are finished with them.
- Start early. The earlier you set standards for your children, the easier it will be for you to enforce them. If you wait until your child is a teenager to have them start helping with chores, you will receive a lot more resistance. Children can start tidying up and helping out with chores as young as two years old – so start them when they are little.
- Set clear rewards. If your child helps out with cleaning regularly but receives no reward, it will likely get old fast. Set clear rewards when your child accomplishes what you would like them to. You can give them a small reward each time they clean, or you can keep a cleaning chart. If they perform all their chores throughout the week, they get a reward at the end.
And remember, keep things short and sweet. No child is going to willingly engage in a 5 hour cleaning session. Engage in short cleaning sessions regularly throughout the week and use games to help keep those sessions fun and entertaining.