It’s finally starting to feel like spring (even here in Maine), so open your windows, dust your shelves and purge your closets. With birthday parties, sports in full swing and school winding down, it’s a busy time of year for families. So the more efficient the better when it comes to spring cleaning.
As my boys get older, more capable and more impressionable, I’ve been trying to take an “all hands on deck” approach to these major cleanings, both for the extra help and to teach them life skills and work ethic. Of course nothing is ever as perfect as it sounds. My boys get distracted and take plenty of snack breaks, but here’s some ways that have worked for us in terms of getting the kids involved and engaged.
Write it down
Whether we’re grocery hopping, doing errands or cleaning, my kids love being able to check things off a list. Make a big colorful checklist of all your chores, hang it on the wall and let them make the kids make a big X when the job is done.
Start with a job they like
My kids like washing the windows. Truthfully, they love the spray bottle, but I know they have fun doing that job. They collaborate well when they’re doing it, too, so I usually put that at the top of the list to get them started.
Get kid-sized tools
When kids are equipped with their own tools, I find they’re more likely to jump in and be a part of the process. My 16-month-old can’t get enough of his little broom and dust pan. I love the Kids Indoor and Outdoor Cleanup Play Bundle, because they can really help, using tools that fit their hands and their bodies.
If your kids are anything like mine, creating a little competition pushes them along. Use a timer and see how fast they can do a job, or make a game of it. Let them know the first one to put away their laundry gets a treat.
Turn up the tunes
A little music and a dance party makes everything more fun. If your kids love the Moana or Trolls soundtrack, put it on and have a little fun on the job. You’ll soon be singing along to the tunes, even if you swore you’d never listen to Kidz Bop.
In our house, we don’t pay for regular chores. Our kids know they’re just part of being a member of the household, but some spring cleaning jobs go above and beyond the scope of regular chores. I feel comfortable offering a little incentive for their hard work. I create a flyer style sheet where they can choose a job and tear off the tab for payment once complete. It seems to be a win-win for everyone, helping them learn the value of working and managing their money.
Plan a yard sale
I’ll be the first one to admit that getting kids to part with their things isn’t always easy. My boys tend to come up with creative reasons why they need to keep items they haven’t played with in years. With that said, most kids love yard sales, mine included. Once they wrap their heads around the idea of having one, they usually jump in full throttle. My boys think methodically and do a great job organizing items. They also use a yard sale as an opportunity to hold a lemonade stand.
Donate to a cause
Spring cleaning offers a variety of ways for families to give back to their communities. Consider donating items in the house to a shelter or giving your yard sale proceeds to a local non-profit. Take the opportunity to show and teach your kiddos generosity. Motivating them to help others encourages and maximizes the cleaning out process.
What are your best tips for getting the kids involved with cleaning?
Rebecca Spear contributed this post as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.