Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cleaning with Your Children

Two Little Girls Help their Mother with the Laundry on Washday

If you are a mother of many, chances are you sometimes (all the time?) feel overwhelmed by all the housework there is to do.  There are many ways to clean house, but here is a little tip for those of you with children.

Get them involved!

This can be easier said than done.  But here is a little secret.

Little ones are usually thrilled to help you out with something around the house!

Today I had three of my little ones clean the baseboards for me, all over the house.  First, I called them all together.  I had a very cheerful, upbeat tone as I said, "Look at these baseboards.  They are dirty!  You are very small and low to the ground, so it is easy for you to clean them.  I need you to take these rags and wipe all that dirt off and make them shiny and clean.  First, start in the kitchen and wipe all of those, and then go to the next room.  They will look so much better!"

I had my six year old also helping, and put her in charge of making sure the littler ones finished one room before going to the next, and to also check their work (I checked it myself later too).  She was happy to do this--they all were and felt like they were such a big help.  They enjoyed cleaning the baseboards so much that when they were done they decided to wipe off some of the light switches and doors too.  I was cleaning other things at this time, also, which encouraged them to work harder.

Here are some tips for getting your little ones (and bigger ones!) to help you with chores:
  • Think of tasks they can do that are not too hard, or even ones that might challenge them a little
  • Have a cheerful attitude and voice when you tell them about what they are going to do
  • Tell them that you really need their help, and be excited about how much better the house will look after they've done their chore
  •  Give them clear instructions of what to do, and give any cautions as needed (I had to tell mine not to scrub the paint off the baseboards)
  • Praise them for the good job they are doing, and how they are making your home look better
  • Check their work afterward, and if they need to do anything over again, tell them in a cheerful voice, such as, "Uh oh!  You missed some over here!  Come and wipe this dirt away!"
  • It also helps to clean alongside your children, either on the same task or something else nearby.  They will be encouraged to see that Mommy is working hard to clean the house too.
Another secret:  Older ones get inspired when they see how cheerfully the little ones clean and might just clean cheerfully too.  My eldest was excited to do the task I gave her--which was to wipe down all the kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Do you need help with what chores to do when?  I use planners such as The Confident Mom or the Motivated Moms Planner [affiliate links].  I don't have to think about what to do this way--I just go down the ready-made list and check things off when done!  I assign chores to my children that they can help me with.

Remember a good attitude about cleaning is catchy.  You are blessing your home and your family when you clean it, and helping your children learn this when they help you.

Two Little Girls...

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  1. Thats really great! I'm glad you found something that works for you. My husband helped me manage the kids into being in charge of their different areas daily. But also we try to implement FlyLady routines. Everything they can do they should do. :)

    Have a nice weekend

    1. Mine all have their daily responsibilities too. I use Flylady sometimes also, but I like the planners because then I don't feel as stuck to the computer :)

  2. Hello, I think this is wonderful, I can just see the wee ones so excited to help their Momma. I wish I could make little aprons for them. I know I did train my children to help and keep the home. Now, we have three grandsons that we help teach them to keep their rooms and home clean and tidy. I tell them you want to help your Momma, because she has this whole big house to keep clean for all of you.
    And they just step right up like little soldiers.
    Blessings, Roxy


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