Cleaning can be pretty stressful when you’re handling the entire burden yourself. So when your kids are finally old enough to help around the house, it comes as a relief to many parents who have dozens of other responsibilities to take care of. Kids, however, aren’t particularly fond of cleaning and may need to be nagged at times to do their chores. Therefore, it’s important you develop good habits like picking up after themselves and helping out with household chores they are capable of, at the earliest age. We’ve found some really effective ways to get the ball rolling, with some very important do’s and don’ts kept in mind when cleaning with kids. Take a look!
1. Start Them Off Young
The truth is, toddlers enjoy helping their parents out because it makes them feel important and accomplished (yes, at this age they do experience such feelings). But the best part is that you’re instilling a very good value in your kids that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Do – have realistic expectations when trying to teach toddlers to pick up after themselves. Encourage them to put toys away by demonstrating for them. Give them extra hugs and kisses to show that you’re happy with them when they do their part.
Don’t – raise your voice or punish them for not picking up their toys. After all, they are just toddlers and not all reach this level of understanding at such a young age. Don’t avoid hugging them and showing them love and affection either; instead, show them how that picking up toys is good behaviour.
2. Encourage Kids to Help
There are many household responsibilities, though simple, little kids may not be able to do on their own. For example, making the bed every morning can be very challenging for a young child.
Do – ask them to help you when making their beds. Even if it’s simply to pull the comforter to the top on one side, enlist their help so that they develop the habit of making the bed on their own every morning.
Don’t – criticise them if they haven’t done it neatly; what matters is that they are willing to help out. Avoid redoing their work as well (at least not in front of them); this discourages them when they see that you aren’t happy with what they did.
3. Being Specific Goes a Long Way!
At the age of 5 or 6, kids should be more responsible for their actions and belongings. However, being specific when you assign a duty to them is important if you want them to follow through with it.
Do – give them one instruction at a time. For example, if you want them to tidy their room, tell them to put away the toys first; then straighten out the beds, etc.
Don’t – instruct them to “clean your room”. That is far too overwhelming for a child to understand. Similarly, don’t give them a list of things to do at one time; instead, let them know that there are a couple of duties to be done but tell them one at a time.
4. Supervised Cleaning Duties
The kitchen needs daily cleaning because cooking and preparing meals is always a messy affair. However, it is also a place with sharp objects and appliances that kids should not play with.
Do – supervise your kids (9-10 years old) when they are washing dishes and cleaning kitchen counters when the stove is on. Similarly, when vacuuming or doing windows (aged 10 and above), it pays to keep an eye on them as kids do not understand the dangers of motorised appliances or chemically based cleaning products.
Don’t – let kids wash sharp objects like knives and graters. Even glassware can wait till they’re about 10+ years of age. Do not give them cleaning duties in which the area to clean is very soiled. At this age, they won’t be able to scrub very hard and shouldn’t have to.
5. Make a Weekly Cleaning Chart
To keep cleaning duties running smoothly, a schedule is very helpful. Moreover, it helps kids to develop the habit of regular house cleaning and makes them more responsible individuals.
Do – make the chart realistic and fair. Keep Sunday off and keep less strenuous cleaning activities for Saturday because kids wait for the weekend to have a good time!
Don’t – keep too many cleaning duties on one day or assign hard jobs to one child on consecutive days. They will always complain about the chart if they feel like it’s made out unfairly.
For more tips on cleaning and chores for kids, check out more articles on our blog! Simply Maid is your one-stop, go-to place for cleaning guides, organisation tips and all types of home cleaning services.