Well school holidays are upon most of us and whilst children will be looking forward to weeks of fun and very little work, it can be a bit of a nightmare for parents.
Here at Mopp Towers, my children were introduced to cleaning and tidying at an early age, they learnt we do not have a Bedroom or Washing Up Fairy that cleans and tidies everything up while they sleep.
You have to be realistic of course, if you are a bit of a cleaning control freak you may find it hard to let your standards slip. But on the other hand any help is worth something – right? So here’s some advice I learnt along the way.
Seven Top Tips for Cleaning with the Kids
- Start them Young
Young children love to please and help out so get them to watch and talk them through what you are doing at the beginning. Even a toddler can hold a (child friendly/chemical free) wipe and will imitate you – great for those low down jobs like skirting boars or chair legs! Very young children can put their toys away at the end of the day or help lay the table.
- The Right Chores for the Right Age
Little people don’t always have the dexterity or concentration for complex tasks so you need to think about what chores are right for your child. You will set yourself and your child up to fail if you assign tasks beyond their capability. Better to have your children do something simple but well as you train them up to take on more complex tasks.
- Lots of Praise and Encouragement
Children do take pride in what they do, so do thank them and praise them – and don’t expect perfection, especially at the beginning. Try not to associate cleaning with punishment as they will get discouraged and you will never get a willing participant.
- Simple Instructions with a Time Limit
To many children ‘Clean up your Room’ can be overwhelming – where to start? Simple instructions like ‘Put all your toys away before teatime’, or ‘Put your dirty clothes in the Washing Basket’, will help younger children. Teenagers may be a different matter –but once again one task a day to clear a messy room will get there in the end.
- Make it fun!
Well I love cleaning but for children you can introduce music and dancing or singing. You can even go so far as dressing up as characters from a favourite book or movie. Ring the changes a bit so, once in a while get the kids to shampoo the dog, declutter the toy box so they can choose a new toy. On nice days outdoor chores can be good fun such as sweeping the leaves or washing the car.
Verbal praise is essential but some families have a sticker chart, (one of Super Nannies great tips) this works well if you have more than one child who has completed their chores first and gets the most stickers! It is also good to have a schedule, making the time for cleaning and balancing out the week.
Other families find that they have to make activities more challenging. Trust your child to do some tasks a little quicker or unsupervised (after a bit of practice of course).
Just like clearing up for the cleaner (last week’s blog – link) you will get more from your children if they have a clear area to clean. Clutter is confusing – they can of course help you with putting things away in the playroom or kitchen before the task of cleaning can begin.
If you give your children confidence they will feel more motivated to complete the weekly chores and be more independent, they will probably start suggesting new tasks they can take responsibility for like feeding a pet. And don’t forget you are building life-skills, before you know it you are packing them off to university able to cook, clean and look after themselves!
Happy Cleaning… Mrs Mopp x