Welcome to my first "Mommy" blog post on this teacher/mommy blog. If you don't have kids, don't tune out just yet. You may find some tips that will help make cleaning more fun for you! The moto I hold at home and school is, “If it’s not fun for me, it won’t be fun for them.” Cleaning is most definitely no exception. Maybe you have kids that love to clean and organize and maybe you don’t. Either way, these tips will help create a fun environment to teach your little ones how to get started in the cleaning process. In Kindergarten and preschool, we make learning so fun they want to come back for more. As each year progresses, there is more sitting, note taking and serious learning going on. I like this approach to cleaning too. If they see how fun it can be, then they will grow up to be adults that see the value in a clean environment to live in and continue the process once they leave your nest. Without further ado, let’s get cleaning!
Get Excited!PARTY TIME! Get excited and your kids will wonder what the big deal is. Have a cleaning parade. Make a grand announcement. Tell them this is one of the most exciting things they will ever do and one the most important. Whisper a super-secret that they can’t let anyone know. You know what makes their hearts beat faster in anticipation of something new. Do it and you’ll have them in the palm of your hands.
Pick out SuppliesIf you’re like me and have had a hard time keeping the home clean, you may have bought several “FUN” cleaning utensils in the past. Dig them out and make a pile on the floor. Spray bottles, buckets (even the kind you use at the beach will work), sponges, brooms, vacuum, old toothbrushes, scrub brush and a duster are just an example of some of the things you may have collected over the years. Let the kids pick their weapon and line up for inspection! I stick with dish soap for some of my cleaning that they do. It’s safe and disinfects. There are also natural cleaners you can make with vinegar that they can use.
Whistle While You Work
Snow White knew what she was doing when she enlisted all her little woodland friends to sing along with her as they worked. Time always flies by when I have a tune to sing. Believe it or not there is a station on my favorite internet radio called “Cleaning House Radio”. Put on a cd, the radio or hum your own tune. Before they know it they will be asking for the next job to do.
Age AppropriateThis is probably the most important piece to successfully cleaning long term with your children. If you give them a job that is too challenging or too long, the will get discouraged and quit. Little ones can help load and unload the silverware from the dishwasher or take a dust cloth around. A little bit older can sweep and vacuum; even possibly help load the dishes into the dishwasher. My kids love to put on their bathing suit and scrub the bathtub and shower. If you are not sure where to start below you will find cards all ready for you to print and grab when you are cleaning or your kids are looking for something to do. Put them in a jar and the kids will have a blast while they clean (sometimes with a pair of underwear on their head!)
We all love to hear from others what an amazing job we have done. Chores are a part of being a family and working together. There are many families that expect these of their children for no pay but just because they are a member of the family. This is a great time to build up more excitement in them to just give them a pat on the back and tell them how much they have helped you. Maybe stop everyone and make an announcement: “Bob has finished sweeping the kitchen, let’s give him a Hip, Hip, Hooray!” and then go back to work. It can be as big or small as you desire. Even off to the side works. The oldest employee does a better job at work when they get a little appreciation for it.
There is always cleaning to be done, but if you push our limit, it will be harder to get them to help you next time around. Go and play a game together, run outside, take a walk, do something fun together. Then be done for the day. They will see that cleaning does not have to take hours and hours and it might not be so bad. Slowly increase the time each day that you clean.
If you stick to these 6 simple steps to cleaning with your children, you will see how much help they can be. BE PATIENT! I have to remind myself: they are not born with the ability to clean a house, it is my parental roll to teach them slowly as they grow. If you work outside the home or your job is to raise your children, I hope you see soon that cleaning can be a joy as your children are by your side.
Have a blessed day! I’d love to see pictures of how your cleaning goes!