Get Your Kids Involved with Cleaning
Please keep in mind that these are suggestions. Cleaning may look different in your house based on your circumstances. These are simply ideas to help get you started. Feel free to tweak any of these ideas to better suit your situation.
Preschoolers and Toddlers
Many parents will not assign much to preschoolers and toddlers. In fact, many will simply do things for their young ones because it is easier. While it can be tempting to just do things for a younger child there are some things they can easily do. It may take a bit more time to teach them. You may even have to work behind them a bit but it definitely can help get them more involved with cleaning as they get older.
4 Ways Preschoolers and Toddlers Can Help with Cleaning:
- Laundry - While preschoolers can’t do a full load of laundry, they can help carry it to the place where it will be folded. Some preschoolers and toddlers are also great at matching socks.
- Pick up - Teaching small children to help pickup their toys or other items they use can be so important. Try doing a 1 minute clean up with a timer as a start. This can be a fun way to get little ones to pick up.
- Set the table - With preschoolers and toddlers the goal is to get them excited about work. Doing a task such as setting the table can help them feel included and have small responsibilities they can achieve.
- Wiping down cabinets or smaller areas - There is just something about a spray bottle with a younger child. Give your little one a spray bottle and a rag to clean a certain area. It may not be perfect but it will teach them to help.
Elementary Aged Children
Once children get a bit older, their ability to clean can change considerably. There are quite a few chores that elementary aged children can contribute to. In fact, this is a great time to lay foundation for their future in regards to cleaning. While they may not do everything perfect the first time, with time they may surprise you. Letting your elementary child help with cleaning helps prepare them for the future while taking things off of your plate.
4 Ways Elementary Aged Children Can Help with Cleaning:
- Dishes - Elementary aged children are able to help with either hand washing the dishes or loading/unloading the dishwasher. This can be a chore they are assigned on a nightly basis or rotated between siblings.
- Laundry - This age is perfect for starting to learn to do their own laundry. Start by teaching an elementary aged child how to run a full load of laundry from start to finish. You may have to help at first but this is one way they can help out.
- Sweeping/vacuuming - Sweeping and vacuuming are chores that an elementary aged child can do. Start with the understanding that they will miss things at first but will improve over time.
- Counters/tubs - At this age, children are fully capable of washing down counters and tubs with a safe cleaner. This is a great way to get kids involved with cleaning while taking something off of your plate.
Preteens and Teens
When it comes to preteens and teens the expectations should definitely be a bit more involved. As they are getting older and preparing for adulthood, it is ok to add more involved chores to their list. These aren’t just to lighten your load. These chores are meant to equip them to succeed when they live on their own. Here are few chores preteens and teens can be doing.
4 Ways Preteens and Teens Can Help with Cleaning:
- Laundry - When a child reaches their teen years it is the perfect time to have them completely take over their laundry. This means they can run a load of their own laundry from start to finish.
- Room based projects - When children get older, assigning them to clean a kitchen, bathroom, or living room can be more possible. This might mean taking care of all counters, floors, and general mess for that room.
- Deep cleaning tasks - While younger children may not do well with deep cleaning tasks such as scrubbing toilets or cleaning tubs, older children are more than capable of doing these tasks well. Having deep cleaning tasks as part of their routine can help prepare them for living outside of the home.
- Decluttering and organizing - One of the tasks that will most help present a clean home is to declutter and organize the home. Older children can be a big help with the decluttering and organizing process. They may be able to help with organizing things in a way parents may not have considered.
Important to Remember with Kids and Cleaning
When you are working to get kids involved with cleaning it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Make sure to set small manageable goals at the beginning and work your way up to larger cleaning jobs. It is also incredibly important to use child safe cleaning products and educate children about safe ways to use cleaning products. Plus you want to be sure if they are climbing to clean higher areas, they are doing it in a careful manner. In the beginning you may spend more time cleaning after their cleaning but getting them started can help you have kids who help clean as they get older.
4 Safety Tips for Getting Kids Involved with Cleaning:
- Never mix cleaning supplies - Children may be tempted to mix cleaning supplies. Make sure they know these are not meant to be mixed with other supplies when cleaning.
- Never consume cleaning supplies - Some children might consider consuming cleaning supplies to be acceptable. Educate them on the importance of not consuming cleaning supplies.
- Always match the task to the developmental age of the child - When getting kids involved with cleaning make sure to match the task they are assigned to where they are developmentally. Take into account maturity and overall ability to complete certain tasks safely.
- Discuss safe uses of stepping stools and climbing to reach high places - Kids love to climb and it can add some extra fun to cleaning, but be sure to discuss ways to go about doing this and how to safely get down once finished.