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As we make our way into summer, I get a lot of questions about HOW to include kids in cleaning and decluttering. I love to include my kids in cleaning – not only does it teach responsibility but teaches them great life skills. I know from my own kids that it can be difficult to know just the right way to teach these skills without feeling like I’m nagging all the time and for the kids to feel like they’re contributing to the family. The goal for us is to instill a good work ethic, teach HOW to clean, and feel the satisfaction of a job well done. Pictured is the brand new Responsible Kid Kit.
- Build habits, not clean rooms. Think about little habits that your kids can work on over time and build on. These little habits will lead to clean rooms – eventually. If you concentrate on the clean room, you’re missing out on the little habits. After a couple messy rooms, we did a big clean after school ended.You can see from my youngest’s room that there were some piles and messes. Here are the steps we followed: grab a garbage bag and toss everything toss-able, wash sheets, gather dirty laundry and throw in the washer/dryer, tidy up the room, make bed, put away laundry, and vacuum. It took an hour and a half for us to work on this together but the room has stayed clean since. You can see that the Lego table is still full of projects and if you saw the other side of the room there’s a bookcase with collections and picture frames – these are things that he loves and wants to keep in the room. I love the little collections 🙂
- Give them their own supplies. Putting kid-safe cleaning supplies in a caddy or a bucket gives them the tools they need to help you. This works for kids of all ages – having supplies at the ready makes it easier to grab and clean. A duster, simple cleaning solution (even just water for the youngest helpers works!), scrub, soap, a scrub brush are all simple and easy tools for cleaning.
- Show don’t tell. This is something I’ve found to be super helpful when it comes to any task I’m trying to teach. If I take the time to show how to do something the end result I’m looking for comes much more quickly than if I just ’tell’ them how to do something. The showing, taking the time, and helping through the process is when the idea really sinks in. Depending on the age, it’s helpful to walk them through a task multiple times and I’ve found that checklists is helpful. Then it’s not me doing the telling, it’s the list that’s keeping them on task.
A visual checklist or step by step is helpful for younger kids whereas a checklist or chore chart might be helpful for older children that can read. You’ll find that in the new Responsible Kid Kit I have a fillable checklist where you can type into the fields and print out your own list. This is great as tasks change with age and season.
What have you found that works? Are your kids ready for more responsibility? I know mine are and we’re making this the summer of responsibility and follow through (for me) on getting things done!
✨End the overwhelm and take the guesswork for kids (and parents) out of taking on simple responsibilities at home. If you need a little help getting your kids involved in cleaning or are looking for a fresh approach, check out the brand new Responsible Kid Kit.