I read an article about getting kids involved in the cleaning of the house and it said it would not only teach the kids responsibility, but it would also mean less work for me. It seemed appealing, but let’s face it, kids will be kids and if it is not fun, they are going to lose interest in it. I had to get more creative if I was going to keep the children interested in getting the house spotless.
Here are some of the steps I took to make cleaning fun for the kids.
Let them wear costumes and give them secret missions
This worked well with my 5-year-old son; he is a big fan of The Flash so we had to buy him a flash costume. Whenever we had to do the cleaning, I would “summon The Flash” and tell him we are in deep need of his help, he has to quickly pick up all the toys lying around the house and put them in the right place. He would always be very excited and even after finishing that task, he would be ready for the next one, sometimes he would even take the initiative to clean up other places. For the girls, a Cinderella costume may do the trick.
Play music they can dance to as they clean
If your kids love to dance, then let them listen to danceable music as they clean, and encourage them to dance a bit without forgetting to actually clean. My daughter likes to sing along to the songs and pretend she is on the stage, sometimes though she gets carried away and does more miming and dancing than cleaning and I have to remind her, “okay Christina Aguilera, let’s get some work done now” but all the same she has fun dusting the shelves.
Ask them which task they want to do
I realized I cannot just impose tasks on them; well at least not all the time. So I let them choose which tasks they want to perform. I recently got a lovely vacuum for tile floors and it seems to be the focus of attention so now we take turns vacuuming the floor. Obviously, I have had to redo some spots after my 5-year-old is done vacuuming, but the load is less and he enjoys using the vacuum, also my daughter is quick to get the vacuum after breakfast when she notices crumbs on the floor.
Kids enjoy competitive games so turn cleaning into some kind of healthy competition. I usually challenge my kids to see how fast they can complete their tasks and I later act as the inspector who gives marks for a job well-done. The kids get excited whenever we play that game and the work gets done a lot faster. I even bought a small trophy which I hand over to the overall winner (I ensure the same person does not win it all the time) and I also give everyone a treat for participating.
Lead by example
You need to have fun too in order for the kids to have fun, if they see you frowning and acting disturbed whenever you are cleaning, they are going to believe that cleaning is an annoying task and they may never have fun doing it. You should also involve yourself in the fun you are trying to create, for example, if you give them “a secret mission” maybe you can provide a soundtrack if it is a competition, be the commentator or give them a countdown and cheer them on.
It all boils down to being creative and getting to know your kids well so that you can come up with an idea that they may consider being fun.
Carol Bell has a passion for all things neat, clean and organized. When she is not maintaining her home, she manages Vacuum Koo, a resource website on vacuuming.