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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. The best place to start? Teach your kids HOW to clean their rooms. 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.
This week is all about Cleaning with Kids – I’ll be sharing tips and tricks on the blog and on Instagram for making the most of the next couple months. I hope you’ll join me!
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.
- Put the bedding in the wash.
- Gather dirty laundry and throw in the washer/dryer or set it outside the laundry room for after the bedding is in the dryer.
- Tidy up the room.
- Make the bed.
- Put away laundry
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 🙂
Pictured is a checklist in the new Responsible Kid Kit – on sale this week!
For comparison, here is a before and after of our daughter’s room (shared with permission) she is 16 and can run through the entire process by herself, right down to laundry, cleaning her bathroom, and changing sheets.
I hope it’s helpful to see that working with kids pays off in the long run. Do all three kids have spotless rooms every day? No, do we do our Daily Tasks and Weekly Tasks daily? We try to!
A couple more things that are helpful for teaching kids to clean their rooms:
- 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.
- 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.
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 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!
See all the posts in this mini-series:
✨The Responsible Kids Kit is on sale this week if you’d like to use it as a resource for your kids – it’s complete with checklists, responsibility ideas, how to clean your room, how to follow the Clean Mama Routine, and so much more!