Hello lovelies, welcome back to my page, Let’s face it. When it comes to fun activities to do with your kids, “cleaning the house” doesn’t usually top the list. However, involving children in household responsibilities not only builds independence and boosts self-esteem, but it also makes the dirty work go faster—which means everyone has more time for the real fun stuff. But if your children are anything like my daughters you’re ideas of cleaning and chores will be met with mumps and moans resulting in them usually doing a runner out the door or away to their bedroom. Well here I’ve got together some tips and tricks to help get your children involved and actually enjoy helping you out.
Cleaning products of their own!
Instead of a boring old dust rag, a colorful plastic bucket (one for each kid) filled with some basic supplies will make little ones feel like they’re part of the team. I actually have three cleaning caddy’s in my house each of us has our own and they live in the cupboard of their own bedrooms. Although I don’t give them bleach or harsh chemicals instead I give them natural cleaning products or a plastic spray bottle filled with plain water and a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil it is a safe, natural disinfectant they can use pretty much anywhere. Add a few colorful cloths/rags for dusting, some toothbrushes for scrubbing. They have their bedrooms upstairs in our house so I have a vacuum in the airing cupboard upstairs just for them to use which is great for spills or glitter or crafts needing cleaned up they can use their own vacuum cleaner.
Find the lost item!
Choose a room and play “Clutter Finders.” Set a timer (five minutes usually works well) and have your children round up as many stray items as they can like magazines, lone socks, forgotten cups and LEGOs that somehow have migrated from who knows where. Pile everything up in the center of the room—sometimes, cleaning means making more mess first! When the timer goes off, have each family member huddle around the pile and plan a rescue strategy for the strays like putting them in their boxes or toy tubs or recycling, reset the timer and see who can return missing items to their rightful homes the fastest they absolutely love this even get a note pad and tally who wins each game.
Sorting laundry out!
Put a new twist on sorting and folding laundry with Sock Wars. Dump a pile of (clean) socks on the floor and set your timer again. However many correctly-paired sock balls each child has when the buzzer sounds is the amount of tally’s they get on the list. While they’re sorting the socks out, you might even get a chance to fold the rest of the laundry!
To get reluctant bodies moving (with rags and mops in hand), try making every room in the house into a separate themed dance party. Each family member gets to choose a song. The music stops when the room is done and it’s time to move on to the next song.Remember to have a good old fashioned dance party while you’re at it!!
When my girls were younger a tub full of sudsy water and bath toys counted as an afternoon’s activity. Even as they’ve grown, the joys of playing with water is still fun, Who says adding dirty dishes to the mix has to take away the fun? Start with a sinkful of warm water and those silly-looking rubber gloves (ours have leopard print haha) they’re practically guaranteed to bring some smiles. Add a healthy dose of dishwashing liquid, a few plastic drinking straws for blowing giant bubbles and some sponges, letting them tackle the grease, one dish at a time. If there’s more than one have one on towel duty set a timer and see if they can finish before it goes off.
If you’re house is anything like mine you hold on to a lot more “stuff” than you actually need. Make sorting and clearing out a seasonal family activity, and cleaning will be easier all year long. Have each child take two tubs/boxes of their own then send them off to their bedrooms to clear their closets and drawers, and tackle communal rooms together. Sort them to toss, sell or donate to a charity shop or shelter. Try explaining that there are children out there that don’t have any toys or clothes and are in desperate need for the items if they’re anything like my girls the boxes will soon be full of donations and they feel great dropping them off.
Kitchen cupboards cleaned out? Donate canned goods still within their expiration date to your local food bank or our schools as their own food bank they take donations to woman’s shelters and children’s homes and then celebrate with ice cream cones or a pizza party afterwards. Setting up goals and rewards ahead of time will have everyone in the family thinking “clear out” days are the coolest days ever.
Get messy to get clean.
Sometimes it’s about keeping kids occupied so you can tackle the adult-only stuff (ahem, I was referring to cleaning). Grab huge sponges and fill up a bucket with water and a ridiculous amount suds and send them outside to wash their bikes. Or your car. Or the patio furniture. The point isn’t to actually clean, but to teach them that cleaning, and taking care of the things you have, is a part of life.
While most of these tips are geared toward children they work pretty well with grown-ups, too.
Which one will you try first?