tips for cleaning with small children

My kids are finally getting to an age where they can help me with cleaning. It's sometimes difficult to get them to help in ways that actually make a difference. Sometimes they are more "moving dirt around" than actually cleaning, but I want to get them in the habit now so that it's easier later. Here are some of the ways we enlist the kids in our cleaning routines now.


Use a chore chart. I like using reward systems for kids. We have a reward chart where the kids have an opportunity to earn stars based on their behavior each day.  I have found it to be the best motivator for good behavior, but recently we added a column for chores each day.  My children are still young, so most of them are working on making their beds, putting shoes away and picking up toys. Parents can add responsibilities to chore charts as children mature, so it's a flexible option for kids of any age.

Reserve screen time privileges as a reward for cleaning.  We have a "clean before screen" rule in our house that is firmly in place. If the kids want to watch a show, they have to clean up first. It's a great motivator and man, do they move if the dangling carrot of a tv show is promised.


kembe mopping

Set a timer. Sometimes cleaning time turns into "hide and play in rooms" time so to keep them on task, I set a timer and issue a threat: all toys not put away by the time the buzzer rings will be donated. It only took once of following through on that one. Now, they know the timer means business.

Play some of their favorite tunes. Cleaning is always more fun when it's a dance party. Even if it means I have to listen to a little One Direction in the process.



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