With spring lurking just around the corner, you may be starting to feel that spring cleaning bug starting to bite. I know I certainly am. We’ve been working hard trying to get things cleaned up around the house for a few weeks now. I think it has something to do with the fact that, here in Florida, it’s been spring since the start of winter, so we haven’t had a chance to really hit that winter slump this year.
Now, I’m not one to keep the cleaning and chores reserved strictly for the older kids and adults. I like to try and incorporate the entire family when we are trying to clean things up. No reason we should be the ones having all of the fun, right?
Getting kids to help with cleaning can be a difficult task, when done right though, involving the kids will help the process of cleaning the house and yard up go by much more quickly and can lead to a family spring time tradition.
What should your kids be doing?
When kids are little, they want nothing more than to help you with whatever you’re doing. As they get older though, asking them to do chores is about like asking a slug to run… it’s just not going to happen.
So, to help you figure out what your kids could be doing around the house to help with daily chores or spring cleaning, I’ve got a list of what I have my kids do to help us. Now, my kids have a daily list of chores that they have to do, which helps to keep some of the crazy mess down ( with 5 kids in one house messes tend to get out of hand fast) but when spring cleaning time comes around…. we’ve got to do some of the more deep cleaning that may have been neglected throughout the rest of the year.
This is a tricky age for chores. They actually want to help you around this age and like to do things with you but they can easily be distracted or take FOREVER to complete a task. This little arms and legs make it harder for them to reach things too. So, I like to have them help with whatever I’m doing at this age. Giving short exact commands as to what to do and keeping tasks simple will ensure that they are able to do them and follow the directions while they are working. I like to reward them with a high five at the end too.
- pick up toys
- help to sort laundry
- help collect clutter from around the house
- help pick up trash
6-8 year old’s are able to a lot more around the house than they want you to know. They can do everything that the little ones can do plus a few extra, “more advanced” chores. Make sure to keep things simple for them and don’t send them into a really messy room a lone though… they are still likely to get distracted and start playing with toys or become easily overwhelmed.
- everything above
- clean windows
- dust furniture and baseboards
- wipe down walls
- clean out their closet
- donate old toys
- take out trash
- feed pets
- sweep floors
- strip bedding from beds to wash
- clean bedroom
- wipe down tables and counter tops
- wipe down doorknobs
Once kids hit this 9-12 year old age bracket they can really start doing a lot more around the house. They are able to follow more complex directions, plus they are taller so they can reach higher up for cleaning.
- everything above
- Clean the floors
- Do the dishes
- Put new sheets on beds
- Help put laundry away
- switching laundry over from washer to dryer
- Clean pet cages
- Shake out rugs
- pull weeds from the garden
- organize toys
ages 12 and up
Once a kid hits 12, there’s really nothing they can’t do. They may not WANT to do it (thank you lovely teen hormones) but they CAN do it.
- everything above
- Clean the bathroom
- Wash the car
- Lawn care
- All of the laundry
- Wash pets
- Wash toy in soapy water
Tips for incorporating spring cleaning into your daily routine with kids
#1- Clean for short periods of time each day. Kids, especially younger kids, have very short attention spans so breaking up cleaning into small manageable time frames will help to keep them on task and from getting burned out. I like to focus on 1 room at a time and let the kids complete each one of the tasks in that room together.
#2- Make it a competition or a game. Kids love games and if they can compete against each other or you makes the game even more fun for them. See who can finish their chore in the room first or who can collect the most shoes. Find some way to make the cleaning process more fun because they will be more willing to actually do it.
#3-Add some music. Kind of like with making the process a game, adding music can be a fun way to energize the kids (and yourself) while you’re cleaning as well as a fun way to keep time.
#4- Reward the. Kids, just like adults, like to know that they have done a good job and a reward is a great way for you to show your appreciation for them helping you around the house. Set a reward for once all of the spring cleaning is done. It’s a goal for them to work towards and will help to motivate them. As kids get older, they may be more motivated by things like money or video games but younger kids normally are happy with stickers, small toys, and candy or ice cream. Use whatever motivates your kiddos the most.
#5- Let them have a bit of choice. Have a plan set out for each room and give them a choice of when and how they want to complete each one of their tasks for each room and let them pick the cleaning tools they prefer. Just like with everything else kids do, the wrong instrument of choice (i.e. the wrong color brush or wrong texture rag) can make or break a kids entire day. Letting them feel like they have some say in what is being done and the things they can use will make things go a little easier for everyone.
#6- Keep them on track. Giving your kids an easy to read checklist can help your kids to stay on task. Using a picture list for younger kids can be helpful and a more comprehensible list for older kids that they can mark off what’s been completed and they can see what still needs to be done.
I’ve included a free copy of my Spring Cleaning Checklist For Children’s Bedrooms that you can download for free. Make sure to hit that subscribe button for more parenting advice and stories from a busy stay at home mom.