This article is for families where there are children from the age of 8 months to 18 years. Children who, in many instances, are the reason a lot of cleaning chores need to be done in the first place, are often left out of the work it takes to keep a home clean and neat. While it is true, it is sometimes easier to “do it yourself,” if children are encouraged and shown how helping is an important part of being a family, they will grow up participating in home cleanliness. They will then be able to transfer these skills when it is time to care for their own homes. Of course, getting children to help with cleaning chores can be easier said than done, but a few tips may help:
Be sure the jobs you are asking a child to do are age-appropriate. For example, a two-year-old can use a soft cloth to polish the front of appliances, while a 17-year-old can wash windows.
Make a list of the chores you would like done. (Things like cleaning toilets are best done by adults, for example.) Talk with children about what chores they think they wouldn’t mind doing. Again, keep in mind the age and abilities of a child so as not to have him or her take on too big or too long a task.
For older children, try not to have cleaning jobs interfere with such things as sports practice or homework.
For younger children, you can often make a game out of cleaning as they don’t view cleaning yet as a “job.”
Be sure to have all the cleaning supplies needed ready and in good working order. Try to use environmentally safe cleaning solutions whenever possible. Always be sure to have lids on tight and containers put up high with cleaning products when small children, those under the age of 8, are in the home.
Encourage older children to wear protective gloves to keep hands from getting rough and sore and breaking fingernails.
Sometimes having a certain day and timeframe is a good idea as you can plan breaks with special snacks. You can also have a picnic or go to a fast-food restaurant when the “work is done.”
All ages of folks like a reward for a job well done. Depending on the age of the child participating, a monetary award is a good idea. Children need to learn the value of earning money for a desired item as well.
And don’t forget praise. Praise is an important part of gaining confidence and building self-esteem. This does not mean, however, to praise just for the sake of giving praise. A cleaning job needs to be done satisfactorily to receive praise. If a child is having problems completing their task correctly, you can offer help and encouragement until it is done right. Then give them praise.
A final tip that can help bring smiles when having children cooperate with cleaning is the “white glove check.” Put on a pair of white gloves and “go over” the work that has been done. Pretend to be very serious and then become very happy when the white gloves stay white.
Children are a part of a home and need to take responsibility for the home’s upkeep. By considering a child’s age and preferences, cleaning chores can become a natural part of life, just like getting dressed and eating breakfast.