Spring is the time to think about getting your house organized and cleaned. Don’t be that procrastinator. Start by enlisting the help of your children. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see what an asset they can be in assisting you in completing your goals. Just make sure that you have these important ingredients when you begin… large doses of silliness, age-appropriate tasks and set time limits so you don’t lose them to boredom. Miss Kelli discussed this on The Rhode Show. Watch her segment here!
Fun… certainly needs to be the first word that springs to mind when your thinking about getting your children involved in spring cleaning projects. If you don’t have this component, then you won’t be able to get the kids engaged. A clean house can be a reachable dream for today’s modern family. But this year, take some time to think out of the box when it comes to your goals.
Here are some great starting points to get you off on the right foot. (Don’t forget to incorporate “silliness” in all these options)
- Start with a plan – Everything runs smoother if you have a plan. Discuss as a family some of the tasks that you would like to accomplish. Then make a short list of a few that are very important to the entire family. Maybe clean out the garage to make room for a ping pong table or children’s play area for those rainy days during the spring.
- Break the projects up into small parts – Parents need to break up big projects into smaller bite size pieces. You may have “clean the playroom” as one of your goals. Instead of taking on the overwhelming tasks of cleaning the entire room, start with a small piece such as the bookshelves. Being able to complete several small tasks will definitely give you and your child that wonderful sense of accomplishment and encouragement they need to complete the next one.
- Reward System – It’s important to praise your children for their hard work and dedication to setting goals and completing tasks. But you also may want to implement some type of age-appropriate reward system for a job well done. This could include a trip to the library, maybe a visit to the local movie theater or possibly an outing to their favorite restaurant. Keep in mind that these rewards need to reflect the amount of work it took to complete their tasks. The bigger the accomplishment, then the bigger the reward. You can work as a family to create a reward system that everyone can agree on.
- Of course…make it fun – Spring cleaning can certainly be an overwhelming thought for most adults, never mind small children. I don’t think many children will share a parent’s enthusiasm for cleaning, so it needs to be fun.
Creative ideas for making spring cleaning fun…
- Blast you favorite Music – Nothing will put the kids in a better mood than their parents blasting the music at cleaning time. This tactic is a great way to get the kids up and moving. Let them dance and sing their way to a clean room. Remember to allow them to share some of their favorite tunes and you share some of your favorites. What a great way to bond with the kids and get your spring cleaning done at the same time.
- Paint your child’s room – I don’t think that painting your child’s room is the first idea that pops into a parent’s mind when they think of involving children in spring cleaning projects. However, it can be a very productive way to get the ball rolling. Prepping to paint the room is a great opportunity for a family project to purge all of the old toys and books that you may want to donate to charity. Try and make a game of it.
- “Go sledding” to clean your floors – This is a really fun way to get your hardwood floors buffed and cleaned. Start by turning on the music. Then have the kids pick out their best “sledding socks” and give them a mop or broom, whatever works best for you and let the cleaning begin. You may want to give a small demonstration on how to “sled” around the floor and clean at the same time. Take some pictures, so in the future you can show them how much they love to clean!
- Go fishing – How do you get rid of all those pesky cobwebs and dust bunnies around the house? All you need to do is have the kids to do some creative fishing. Tell them that you are going on a grand fishing trip, but instead of catching fish they are going to catch as many dust bunnies and cobwebs as they can. All you need for supplies are some dustpans, brooms, dusters, lots of silliness and a bucket to store your treasures.
- Cleaning Clue – This cleaning game is modeled after the game of clue. Most kids and adults enjoy being little detectives, so why not include this idea in our next spring cleaning project. I think many adults would agree that tackling cleaning out your cupboards or cleaning the refrigerator are some of those dreaded cleaning projects that you tend to put off for another day. Well not anymore. Now let the kids get involved and be little expiration detectives. Let them take all the products out of the cupboard or refrigerator and check for unwanted old items to throw away. When they are done they can wipe down the areas and help return the good items back to their proper spots. What a fun way to get those difficult projects completed.
- Matching game – Let the kids play a matching game with that big laundry bucket full of mismatch socks. This project is a fun way to get the entire family involved in doing a frequently daunting task. Take it one step further and you can make it race to see who can match the most socks in a ten minute time frame.
The key to effectively getting your children involved in Spring Cleaning Projects is to once again let loose and have a little fun. It may not be perfectly done but it will show the children the value of setting goals and completing them with teamwork, in a timely manner and lots of silliness. Go for it…you will enjoy it!
This article was written by Kelli DiDomenico, Vice President of Family Engagement at The Children’s Workshop.