1) Turn On the Tunes!
Sing and dance your way into a cleaner home. Fun and happy music will lift spirits, energizing both you and your kids. For extra fun, turn the music on and off sporadically and play the ‘Musical Freeze Game.’ Ask your little ones to freeze at each delay — testing their balance, attention and coordination. The ‘Musical Freeze Game’ is sure to inspire silliness, helping the chores fly by.
2) Offer Kid Sized Cleaning Tools
Provide your little helper with the right tools for the job. With their own supplies, they are more likely to take ownership over helping out around the house. Kid-sized cleaning tools will encourage them to play house while actually cleaning house. And this personalized kit just may become a new favorite among aspiring homemakers. Some ideas for kid sized cleaning tools are:
• Create a custom cleaning caddy – Equip with non-toxic cleaning spray (like vinegar and water), sponges, small sized reusable rubber gloves, paper towels and even a feather duster.
• Swiffer – Remove the middle sections from a Swiffer so it is just their height
• Dust Buster Vacuum – can be used by kids as young as 3. These mini vacuums are the perfect size and they just may inspire a lifelong love of vacuuming.
• Hand Brush and Dust Pan – Encouraging them to clean up after inescapable dry spills, these pint sized sweeping tools can be used by children as young as 2.
3) Start Them Young
You can introduce household chores to Kids as young as 2 years old. Toddlers are fantastic helpers since they truly take satisfaction from the little things. Sorting tasks such as putting the dirty laundry in the hamper and sweeping up spills will both entertain and thrill 2-3 year olds.
Preschool aged children benefit from routine and direction. Tasks such as washing windows, setting the table, loading the dishwasher, folding washcloths and feeding the family pet are perfect tasks for 4 and 5 year olds. This is also the perfect age to introduce a chore chart. Chore charts are a great way to familiarize your little ones with the concept of responsibility.
Once elementary aged children have adjusted to their new school day routines, they are able to contribute greatly to household chores, Emptying (appropriately sized) trash bins, sorting laundry and making beds are all perfectly appropriate tacks for younger elementary school children.
Older children can help out around the house in almost every way. The trick is to keep them motivated, this is where establishing a reward/privilege system may help out. The trick is to get them started young, making housework a habit rather than a punishment.
4) Make it a Game
The Color Game
For this game all you need is to pick a color and grab a timer. Younger children will love the challenge of picking up as many red (or blue, or green….) things as they can before the time goes off.
Expiration Date Detective
Elementary ages children can help clean the refrigerator by playing expiration date detective. Simply have them super sleuth for expired food. Pulling out the expired products for disposal. Once, taught, older children can even do the recycling and disposing themselves.
Donate, Keep, Give
Using three boxes labeled: Donate, Keep & Give. Have your children sort their toys.
• The Donate box is for items you want to give to Goodwill or other charities
• The Give box is for items you can give to someone in need
• The Keep box is for items you want to keep, but, still need to be organized
Kids will be engaged by the sorting aspect of this game and pleased when they think of others who might benefit by their gifted items.
Make it a race.
Almost any chore can be turned into a race. Simply put, the first one done wins.
5) Create a Reward System
Elementary aged kids, especially if they did not start helping out around the house in their toddler years may need incentives to motivate them. Try creating a punch or sticker card, giving a sticker or a punch per chore completed. Once full they could pick from a prize box or earn a special treat. Offer something that is a unique motivator for them, and they will have your house spotless in no time.