Usually, your children are the ones making the mess rather than the ones cleaning it up, but why not turn those little hands to good use?
Getting your children to help with cleaning teaches them to be responsible from an early age, and your cleaning load will also get a little bit lighter with some help from your children – it’s a win-win scenario.
In fact, teaching your children to clean their rooms or the house might mean that they make less mess in the first place. It’s easy to go around trashing the place if someone else is doing the hard work cleaning up.
Once they realise what a chore it is to clean mud off the floor, they might consider taking their boots off before they come inside, for example.
It sounds ideal – raise your children right and get some free help with the chores. There’s only one little problem. Cleaning is not usually top of many children’s to-do lists. So, how do you get your little tikes enthusiastic about cleaning and ready to help?
Cleaning games – the first step to a clean house and clean kids
As with any other boring chore, children will usually resist the idea that they spend their hard earned playtime helping you clean the house, or tidying up their rooms. But, just as you might make aeroplane noises when feeding your baby, you can make cleaning a little more palatable with a bit of fun.
What do they love more than cleaning? Well, pretty much anything, but especially playing games. The best way to get children to do anything is to turn it into a fun game. But how do you do that with cleaning?
You know your child best, so if you’re the imaginative type, you’re probably best placed to invent a game that you know will entertain your kid. However, if you’re too exhausted cleaning up after them to think of anything, here are a few ideas.
The robot game – this one requires quite a bit of direction, literally, but if you’re in the early stages of teaching your child to clean, then you’ll need room cleaning games that are hands on.
The cleaning game simply involves pretending that your kid is a robot and that they need input commands, like, ‘turn right, step backwards, pick up toys’. Introducing an imaginative element to cleaning up will mean that your kid isn’t too reluctant to tidy their room.
Simon says, cleaning version – this is a classic. The simplest way to get any child to do anything is to make a Simon says game out of it. Introducing the simple element of being able to be right or wrong will help your kid engage with the tasks at hand.
Just make sure that the ‘Simon says’ commands are the chores that you actually want to be done.
Create a cleaning zone – house cleaning games like this are good when there are lots of sweeping to be done. Simply create a ‘bullseye’ or ‘cleaning zone’ with some tape on the floor. The aim of the game is to sweep as much dirt, lego, etc., into the cleaning zone as possible. If you want to speed things up, you can always introduce a timed element to the game.
Competition – if you have more than one child to hand, the best way to get them involved in cleaning is to make a competition out of it. You could time the task from one week to the next, seeing who can set the record for fastest window cleaning, for example. Otherwise, you could see who finishes all of their tasks first, rewarding the ones that do so.
The other great way to make cleaning fun is by making the tools of the trade sparkly, or otherwise appealing.
You can buy ready-made Barbie cleaning games, for example, just make sure you’re not only buying cleaning sets for your daughters or nieces but your sons and nephews as well. You can get less pink and sparkly cleaning sets designed for less Barbie orientated children too.
If your child forms an attachment to their cleaning set, as they do with other toys, then they’ll be much more likely to use it.
You can even purchase a toddler cleaning set for your really young ones. There are also other cleaning toys available online, so just take your pick.
Teaching children to clean
If your children are a little bit older, then you might expect some quality help with your chores. Of course, if they are still toddling, or are too young to do many tasks themselves, then the help you’ll actually receive will be limited.
But this doesn’t mean that playing cleaning games with your young children is a waste of time. One of the most beneficial things to come of getting your children to help with cleaning is actually teaching them how to clean.
Make sure to start small. Teaching your children to clean isn’t about getting the job done, it’s about introducing them to the activity. So start with little tasks like cleaning a single window pane, or washing up a couple of dishes.
Even if they end up more a hindrance than a help, the extra effort on your part will pay off in the long run when they’re a proactive rather than entitled teenager.
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