Cleaning with kids can feel like an impossible venture but with the right approach and age-appropriate tasks, kids can learn how to help out around the house. Household chores teach responsibility, life skills, and allow children to contribute to the family. Even little ones can learn how to help with simple tasks that help to instill a sense of responsibility and pride. Older children benefit from routine and expectations to help the home run smoothly as well. To help offset the inevitable, I like to have my children help clean whenever and wherever possible.
What’s the best way to get them involved? Don’t expect perfection and clean alongside them to show them your method. For instance, saying, “Go clean your room” is open-ended and might not make sense to a preschooler. Instead, help them clean their room and give them ideas for cleaning it up themselves. If you ask your child to make their bed, don’t correct it when they’ve finished. These subtle little tricks will help your child feel successful and more apt to want to clean along with you.
Here are some room-by-room ideas to get you started – tailor them to meet the needs of your home and kids.
- Make bed.
- Help put away clean clothes as they are able.
- Put dirty clothes in laundry basket.
- Put toys away. Use the rule that before a new toy or activity is taken out, the unused one needs to be put away.
- Wipe counter. A damp and wrung out microfiber cloth with water works perfectly for cleaning up little spatters and spills.
- Clean mirror. A barely damp microfiber cloth is great for this task.
- Refills empty toilet paper and tissue boxes.
- Collect garbage.
- Wipe down baseboards and around the perimeter of the bathroom with a damp cloth.
- Wipe baseboards with a damp cloth.
- Wipe light switches and door knobs with a disinfecting wipe.
- Pick up toys. Check under couch and furniture for errant toys and odds and ends.
- Help unload the dishwasher. Younger children can help sort silverware and older children can put away dishes and glasses.
- Set the table.
- Clear plates at the table, bringing dishes to the counter and sink.
- Little ones can be taught how to use a small dustpan and broom to gather up crumbs as well as emptying it in to the garbage.
- A handheld vacuum cleaner also works well for children to help with vacuuming up crumbs, small scraps, and kitchen floor debris.
- Wipe the table down.
- Help empty trash and sort recyclables.
- Help sort by whites and colors.
- Sort and pair up socks.
- Help make matches with pajamas and outfits.
- Put clothes on hangers.
- Collect garbage in the laundry room. I have a small trash basket in the laundry room for lint, tags, etc. that the kids take care of emptying when asked.
MY FAVORITE WAYS TO GET HELP IN A HURRY
- Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and work to clean an entire area or trouble spot.
- Chore charts work well in our house to assure that kids have a visual reminder to check off daily.
- Use completed tasks as ‘rewards’: once your clean room is cleaned up you can go play with your friends, take something else out, have screen time, etc.
- Let kids help build a chore chart or responsibility chart. Taking ownership in the creation of the tasks will ensure a better success rate!
These simple tasks have been helpful and realistic in our home – I hope they will inspire you to use them as a springboard for your family.