"Do I have to?

“Can I do it later?”

I don’t want to!

Sobs. Tears. Pouting. 

Like most parents, you probably struggle with getting your children to do chores around the house and to do them with a good attitude. Many adults dislike doing chores as well, but it’s just something we all have to do to keep our lives going and to keep a comfortable and sanitary home. We all want our kids to be successful in life and learning to do cleaning tasks correctly and thoroughly is an essential part of success. Beginning to teach them early in fun and creative ways can establish in them some good habits that will last a lifetime.

Although it’s so much easier and faster to accomplish a task on our own, it’s important to take the time to patiently guide our kids to new abilities. If we want them to think of cleaning as just a natural, necessary daily part of life, it’s vital to start engaging them as soon as possible rather than waiting to have them help until they are old enough to do the job on their own. Here are some ideas on how to get them started and to make it fun and remember: be patient, be consistent and be encouraging.

For little ones:

  • Teach them early! You can wear an older baby or toddler in a carrier or have them in a baby chair next to you (as long as you aren’t using toxic chemicals) while you explain what you are doing, why you are doing it and what tools you use to accomplish your goal in a fun age-appropriate manner.
  • Try to conjure up some genuine enthusiasm for cleaning so they will catch your positive feelings rather than it always seeming to be a drag.
  • Buy cleaning supply toys for your young children to play with and pretend to clean with them. 
  •  Create a pretend game that lasts through that day’s cleaning session.
  • Give toddlers a spray bottle they are allowed to cover in stickers. Fill it with water or a water and vinegar solution and have them spray the places you are wanting to scrub.
  • Make a special cleaning apron your little one gets to wear every time you clean.
  • Laundry: After the load has cooled let a young child pull out the clothes in the dryer and put into a basket. Teach them to fold the easy stuff like towels. Let them find sock matches.

For children younger and older alike:

  • Have them do a house inspection telling you what needs to be cleaned and then ask them what do you think you should do first and the best way to do it. This creates ownership and makes them feel like they get to help make decisions, which will make them want to be more a part of the cleaning schedule.
  • Make a special routine every time you clean that will help your children look forward to chore time such as having a special snack, listening to specific cleaning music, or playing a game such as “I spy” or “20 questions”.
  • Set a timer for ten minutes, turn on background music and give a simple reward to everyone if they can clear the floor in a particular room in that amount of time.
  • Make it a cleaning dance party. 

The most important thing is to be with them in it. Chores are easier and more enjoyable if they know they’re not alone. Thank them sincerely every time they help or complete a delegated task. Tell them what you saw they did well and then mention what could be improved and then praise them again. (Be willing to show them how to do the task a few times if necessary). Remind them that your family is a team of which they are an important part and that each chore they do contributes to the well being of everyone. Rewards such as an allowance are fine but using cleaning as a connection point as well as imparting the ability to enjoy work will go a lot farther than money.

If you and your kids are overwhelmed by homework, sports, dance recitals and play dates and just can’t get the job done, call Out of Sight Cleaning, and they will do what you don’t have time for, giving your family some much-needed downtime.