How to Involve Your Children in Cleaning
As a parent, you probably know that cleaning and sanitizing your home is one of the most important tasks.
Having a healthy and fresh environment can be essential for children, especially when they are still young. There are a whole lot of nasty allergies and conditions that come with dusty rooms and unclean air.
We all know the theory, but putting words to action is usually not as easy. Children have a unique way of creating a mess of their rooms, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, everywhere. It is in their nature. Cleaning after them is something a parent should not sigh about and instead accept. But to undertake on the quest of brilliant domestic cleaning alone is a too big of a task for a parent. There are also work-related duties, shopping for groceries, cooking … all kind of other stuff you will be busy with. What is the solution, you may ask. It is simple – ask for help.
Rather than making your kids part of the problem, make them a solution. Now, while this may sound absurd to many, who view home cleaning as a very tough chore (and it can be), it is also true that kids can be of huge help and do a decent job in certain cleaning tasks. They have an innate desire to help in everything and make their environment better. They are very enthusiastic and full of energy, which can be used for the purpose.
Apart from the obvious bonus of taking some weight off your shoulders, creating cleaning habits in your children can be beneficial for them as well.
Organizational skills – cleaning routines include not just scrubbing, washing and vacuuming, but also putting your house items back in their appropriate places. This means toys, books, clothes, school inventory … everything a child may find difficult to arrange. When children are included in the process of creating order out of chaos, they will have a sense for detail and be better in organizing their belongings.
Problem solving – whether it is in their strive to do the job faster or work in clever ways to make their task easier, cleaning can teach them how to think outside the box and develop analytical skills.
Responsibility – establishing cleaning habits in your child will teach them a big deal of responsibility and create a healthy habit that will shape them better in life later on.
Time management – if you set up a time frame, children will learn how to manage their time correctly and do a job before a certain deadline.
Let’s be clear on one thing – there is a limit to what a child can achieve in terms of helping you with house cleaning.
Be realistic – you cannot expect your little kids to do your whole work and do it right. There are tasks that they simply lack the required coordination and skills to properly do, but can instead help with few smaller ones.
Personal supervision – always make sure you supervise the cleaning activity. This is especially the case when you have decided to include your young children in this activity. Be mindful about any potential risks and take measures to secure the environment and tools you and your children will be working with.
Equipment – consider the proper equipment. Gloves and aprons are part of any cleaning service, and you can actually include these elements in the ‘fun’ part of the job. You can give your children the option to choose their own colors, assist them in creating their own outfit and encourage them to suit up for the task. They will love it.
Natural cleaning solutions only – this is very important!!!
Do not, under any circumstance, use anything that has ‘poison’, ‘toxic’, ‘danger’ or any other nasty word on its label with your children. Commercial cleaning detergents can be harmful for kids, and for this reason, it is best to use your own cleaning solutions. There are countless recipes for natural cleaners made with vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential oils. They are both harmless and efficient, making them ideal candidates for work with children.
Make it a game
Do not make false assumptions – cleaning with children should not be an imperative command a parent gives. Rather, it should be viewed as something that borders a game activity. In fact, this is perhaps the only (right) way it will work. Children, especially young ones (age 4-7) view everything as a game. They will ignore you and do the opposite when you tell them to clean their room, but will gladly get involved in activities with you, as long as they think it is fun, enjoyable and easy enough for them.
To get the hype going, you must first capture the attention of your children. And anything they view as fun and entertaining activity will be just the thing for them. Depending on their age, you can turn domestic cleaning into a game.
For example, you can pretend you are all in a fashion show, and picking the right apron and gloves is important to impress the critics, or you can pretend you are all a bunch of mad scientists as you mix your own natural cleaning solutions. Let them play their favorite music, while they perform cleaning service. This will turn the whole experience into an energizing and pleasant activity, for both you and your children. Dance with the mops and duster, shake it with the cleaners and you will see how children will not only do their job, but they will also like it. You can even turn it into a race, which can also be very motivating and fun.
As you can see, including children in cleaning activities can provide you with a nice set of helping hands, but will also be beneficial for them as they grow up, as it teaches them a great deal of responsibility and develops their skills. You should definitely consider this next time you concede to your child’s protests about cleaning, or you think it is too much for them to take on. If you take the right approach and develop the attitude, you cannot go wrong.