Ahhh, cleaning with kids. Super fun, right?
We know. The litany of whines that come after hearing the chores list is enough to make you want to throw up your hands and do it yourself. A word to the wise: don’t. Use these five tips to help set the tone for a clean house (and a much happier mama).
Give them a good starting place.
Having a clean home to start with makes everything easier. You know this because you had a clean home once, perhaps long before you had kids. (Just kidding. But seriously.) When a space is overwhelming, it can be difficult for a child to know where or how to know where to start, so set your child up for success with a clean slate and make it clear where things belong.
If children do not know your expectations, they can’t meet them. If they don’t know boundaries, they won’t respect them. And if they aren’t given rules, they will never follow them. Set the tone firmly and fairly with rules that make sense to your kids and your family. Here are some examples.
- One toy out, one toy in. Before you can start a new activity, you have to put the previous activity away.
- One toy in, one toy out. For every new toy you receive, you can donate a toy to someone in need or place the toy in storage to be played or donated another time.
- End of day round-up. Ten minutes before the end of the day, have your kids clean up their rooms or pick up the same number of items as their age before bed.
- Put it back where you found it. It’s also a good idea to have rules that ensure kids aren’t making cleaning harder down the road.
It’s also a good idea to define what toys or work surfaces are okay to leave alone, especially if they are working on a building project or a puzzle.
Make it routine.
This goes for everyone in the house. It’s much easier to keep a house clean than it is to get a house clean. Trust us on this one. It’s why we charge a little more for the initial clean, and then less for subsequent, but regular, visits. Getting down to the bottom layer is the hard part, but keeping it shining from there is just a matter of consistency.
Whether it’s finding your kitchen countertops or revealing the floor in the toy room, more hands make light work—especially if those hands are attached to people who want to make it fun. Be careful, though. You are there to help, but not do all the work; it teaches your child nothing if you don’t encourage, empower, and expect their participation. Part of being a good human is learning how to clean up our own messes. You are doing that literally at this moment, but the lesson extends to other life situations as well. Look at you, multitasking.
Break down the task.
If your child is overwhelmed, break down the task into three steps. Cleaning an entire toy room or bedroom can be overwhelming, so help them get started by saying something like, “Start by putting clothes in the hamper,” or “Let’s do all the blocks first” or “You put the dolls away, and I’ll put their clothes away.” By breaking it down into steps, even if you do one of them yourself, you are showing your child how to make a larger problem easier to solve.
Before you know it, your kids will understand that cleaning is a part of life, and not necessarily an unenjoyable part. After all, life is more fun when you can find what you need and when your mom is in good mood.
Need help getting started? That’s why we’re here. Call us to schedule a free estimate.