As a cleaning service, we know that getting a house to sparkle is one thing, but keeping it clean after we leave is another. And if that house contains any number of children, the length of time between shiny and disaster shrinks considerably.
The good news is that the more people you have in your house to make messes, the more people you have in your house to help clean. There are many ways kids of all ages can help around the house. Here are a few ideas to get the young ones started.
- Older Toddlers: Two- and three-year-olds are fantastic helpers since enthusiastically find pleasure in small things. Put that revelry to good use by making games of toy clean up, showing them where to “hide” the dirty laundry in the hamper and how to use a dustpan and broom to sweep up the inevitable cereal spill. Who knows, maybe the “fun” aspect of cleaning will wear off on you!
- Preschoolers: This independent lot will benefit from fun tools, a little direction, and lots of routine. Setting the table for supper, folding washcloths and matching socks in the laundry, washing windows with vinegar and water, and keeping the dog’s water bowl full of fresh water are great age-appropriate chores for four- and five-year-olds. This is often the age where parents start using a family chore chart to remind everyone what they are responsible for.
- Elementary-Age Kids: Once a child is able to handle the routines of a school day, they are also able to contribute more to the household. Younger kids can empty smaller trash cans, sort laundry, help empty the dishwasher, and make their beds. Older kids can wash dishes, learn how to use the washer and dryer, put the family laundry away, and keep their bedrooms clean—the list is nearly endless. Chore charts can be helpful here, and so is involving your child in a reward/privilege system that keeps them motivated.
Chores are great teaching tools (think responsibility, word-recognition, independence), and a great way to show how smoothly a home can run when everybody contributes. The trick is to be patient, be prepared for mistakes (and maybe a bit more mess) in the beginning, and to adjust as children grow and mature.
For even more ideas, take a look at this. What kind of chore responsibility method works for your family?