The warmer weather is a sure sign that it’s time to pack up winter and unbox those shorts and T-shirts you’ve closeted away. Spring is the perfect time to organize the home and you could use some extra sets of hands. Why not involve your kids this year by putting on some fun music, letting them choose their favourite cleaning tool and offering a reward once the job’s done? Award-winning author and parenting expert Kathy Buckworth offers her six best tips to make cleaning fun for even the youngest member of your family.
1. Make Cleaning a Habit at a Young Age
It’s natural to think your little ones might not be capable of helping out around the house but Buckworth says introducing household chores to children at a young age gives them a sense of responsibility.
“It’s important that they’re in on the chores to understand that the house isn’t magically cleaned, that there’s actually effort that goes into it,” says Buckworth. Treat them as though they are Mommy or Daddy’s little helper so cleaning time can double as bonding time.
By starting young, your child will grow up understanding the importance of having a clean space when they move out on their own. Buckworth says it’s an education process that’s not taught in school. “You don’t want them leaving the house without knowing how to scrub a toilet or that you have to clean out bad food from the fridge.”
Teach your kids these lessons at home so they understand cleanliness is a hygiene issue, a societal norm and a personal responsibility.
2. Spring Cleaning’s More Fun with Music
Cleaning may not be the most fun activity to do, but music can help make things a little less painful. Buckworth suggests letting your kids make a play list the family can all dance to as you work. This can make time go by faster and burn calories if there’s dancing involved, which we’re sure there will be.
3. Offer Incentives for Hard Work
Getting your kids to lend a helping hand can be a trade off. Buckworth says a reward system works well when encouraging your children to pitch in. “Saying Mommy has to get this done, you can come and help me dust and then we can do some arts and crafts.”
Incentives can be anything from an extra hour of screen time on the TV or computer, to a planned family outing after the chores are completed. Buckworth says her household has been experimenting with the idea of a clean-free Sunday. “I’ll say if we get everything done on the Saturday we can go to the movie as a family, or to the park, because everything’s been done the day before.”
This reward system can also carry forward as they get older. Mopping the kitchen floor can mean a ride to the mall, says Buckworth. This can show them that you are willing to do them a favour if they’re willing to help you.
4. Let Kids Collect “Cleaning Cash”
Cash has always been a popular way to offer incentives for hard work. The idea of “cleaning cash” can be a great early lesson on earning money for kids who are too young to work, says Buckworth. She suggests setting up a checklist where the kids can track what needs to be done and when.
You’ll find your kids will want to help out more to earn some extra cash. Buckworth says her children receive an allowance but also have other chores that fall outside the norm. Mowing the lawn or helping in the garden to earn money to buy a video game teaches financial literacy.
5. Let Kids Make Choices
Letting kids choose which chore they’d like to complete can help makes things fun. Buckworth says there’s no sense in forcing your kids to do something they don’t enjoy. Whether it’s mopping the kitchen floor or dusting the windowsills let the kids find a job that fits their personality. Once they have a chore they like, it becomes their task they’ll always want to complete.
6. Use Fun and Chemical-Free Products
Incorporating the right products into your cleaning schedule is important to ensure your little ones are safe. Although most cleaning solutions use chemicals, there are products that are easy and fun to use for all ages.
Buckworth recommends the Swiffer line of products as they are chemical-free and can extend to reach high and low surfaces. The Swiffer Sweeper Vac is a great tool for even the youngest child as it’s odour-free and cordless.
It’s also important to be aware of products that use fragrances your child might be sensitive to. A big part of spring-cleaning means digging out household items that have been stored away all winter, such as lightweight linens and clothing. Buckworth says kids can help with this, as they love to spray things. She let’s her kids use Febreze products that are unscented and allergen reducing. Prefer a homemade alternative? We love this super-easy recipe for fabric refresher spray via Organic Authority.