‘Tis the season for spring cleaning. Rather than handling all the chores yourself, here are 7 awesome ways to get the kids involved – and even excited about it.
Motivate with Music
Listen to upbeat music to get the kids – and the adults – motivated, no matter which cleaning tasks you plan on tackling. Use one of your workout playlists to inspire everyone into active mode, or just pick some fun songs from a Youtube or Spotify playlist. Allow the kids to pick some of their favorite songs too – this will make the cleaning session more enjoyable for everyone. Dance breaks encouraged.
Clear the Kiddie Clutter
Cleaning is so much easier when clutter is cleared. And when it comes to kids, there’s a good chance that toys, costumes and stuffed animals contribute to some of said clutter. Declutter these items by starting in one room and setting up several boxes. Make one for toys/belongings that belong in another room, one for items that are broken and another for goods that the kids no longer play with. Place the kids in charge of their own items and insist that everything either must be put back where it belongs, or into one of the three boxes. Donate the box of no-longer-used items to a local family shelter or non-profit resale shop.
You can use the same type of system for cleaning out drawers and closets in the kids’ bedrooms. Ask the kids to try on their summer wearables now before the season hits to see what still fits. Donate items that don’t fit, or pass them down to younger children. While you’re at it, show the kids how to fold clothing so they can put their own items away on laundry day.
Keep Things Age-Appropriate
If your littlest munchkin is old enough to run around and leave toys around the house, he’s old enough to help with some of the spring-cleaning duties. Don’t go overboard – keep the tasks minimal and age-appropriate. Toddlers can help with simple tasks such as wiping the baseboards. They could also use disinfectant wipes to clean sink fixtures and door handles around the house. Slightly older children can handle vacuuming the sofa or chairs after removing the cushions. Older kids can handle washing floors, mirrors or the insides of windows.
Extra fun: Set a bowl on the coffee table while cleaning and ask everyone to place all the change they find into the bowl. Use the change towards special treats at the end of the cleaning session.
Act as a Team
Work in teams to keep the tasks fun and reduce the chances of kids stopping early from boredom or disinterest. Different teams could tackle the floors, walls, and countertops. Another team could be in charge of vacuuming. Washing the car or patio furniture can be part of the spring cleaning team effort, too. Set up one team (or person) as the pre-rinse and drying team, another as the washing team. Allow young children to work in their rain boots or bathing suits to make the outdoor tasks even more fun.
Make a Chore Chart
It’s easier for everyone – adults included – to stick with tackling all the tasks when there’s a chore chart or checklist. Print out a list of everything that needs to be done and hang it where all can see to check items off as they go. If you’re not sure where to begin, this printable spring-cleaning checklist breaks things down into age-appropriate tasks. For added fun, purchase some old-school gold star stickers to note jobs that are completed. Write the child’s name next to the completed task for added praise. See who can complete the most tasks on the chart during the cleaning session.
The Match Game
Most of us have at least a few stray socks that are missing their mates. Play the match game and have each family member clean out their sock drawers, matching socks with their mates. Show young children how to fold the open end of one sock over another to keep the socks together. Set up a timer to see how many matched pairs each participant can make within a given amount of time. Have the kids talk to one another to see if they have any unmatched socks that belong to another person. You could even set up a sock “lost and found” for those socks that seemed to have wandered into another person’s room. The sock bin comes in handy for any time mystery socks show up in strange places, such as in with the folded towels.
Fun With Fridge Cleaning
Games make everything more fun, including cleaning out the refrigerator, pantry, and kitchen cupboards. Enlist reading-age kids to play detective and check the expiration dates on all the products in the fridge, pantry, or cupboard. Discard anything past its end date; the kids can show anything of questionable origin to you first. (And no sibling games of “Hey, this smells funny. Here, taste it.” )
Older kids can help clean the fridge, too. Make your own all-natural, safe cleaner by mixing three parts hot water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Put one or two kids in charge of the fridge and ask them to remove items from the shelves and drawers, one area at a time. One child can spray and wipe down the entire inside of the fridge with a damp sponge or soft cloth. Another can place all the items back in the fridge afterwards. Use the same vinegar spray to wipe down just about any surface in the kitchen, except for stone or grout. Vinegar kills germs, cuts grease and deodorizes so it’s quite useful around the house.
Rewards for a Good Day’s Work
Reward the kids for a job well done with a special treat, such as a pizza party. Keep things simple and fun by using pre-made pizza dough, packaged pizza crust or pita bread. Make mini personal pizzas by tearing pizza dough into individual portions. Allow the kids to roll them flat and add their own sauce and favorite toppings.