The warmer weather is definitely a sign that it’s time to pack up winter and get the shorts and T-shirts you’ve put away for the cooler months. Spring is the perfect time to organize your home and everyone could use some extra sets of hands. Why not involve the kids this year by putting on some fun music, letting them choose their favourite cleaning tool and even possibly offering a reward once the job’s done? That way, everyone has a chance to enjoy tasks that most of us would roll our eyes at. Here are some of the best tips we have to make cleaning fun for even the youngest member of your family.
While it’s natural to think your little ones might not be capable of helping out around the house, introducing age-appropriate household chores to children gives them a sense of responsibility.
It’s important that children are involved with the chores, so that they can understand that the house isn’t magically cleaned, that there’s actually effort that goes into it. Treat them as though they are Mommy or Daddy’s little helper so cleaning time can double as bonding time.
By starting young, your child will grow up understanding the importance of having a clean space when they move out on their own. It really is an invaluable education process that’s not taught in school these days You don’t want them leaving the house without knowing how to scrub a toilet or that you have to clean out bad food from the fridge. Teach your kids these lessons at home so they understand cleanliness is a hygiene issue, a societal norm and a personal responsibility.
Everyone loves music - even your children! Some upbeat music will make the time pass quickly and will put everyone in a great mood. Your kids will dance and sing their way to a tidier place. With younger kids, you can incorporate games like “wax museum,” where kids will have to freeze in place like a statue every time the music stops. This game is great to test balance, coordination and reflexes and can easily can turn any task, whether it's picking up toys after playing or tidying up the dinner table, into a giggle-filled game.
Unplug the toaster and lay paper grocery bags or an old cloth over the kitchen counter (this is also a great task to take outside onto the patio if you have one available). Then let your child turn that toaster upside down and do a shake and shimmy dance to get all the crumbs out. Wooden chopsticks are great for loosening stuck pieces and crumbs but be sure your child doesn’t use any metal utensils. It’s a safe practice to follow even when the toaster is not plugged in.
Getting your kids to pitch in can be a bit of a trade off. Sometimes though, a reward system works well to encourage your children to lend a hand.
Incentives could be anything from an extra hour of TV later on, or a planned family outing once all the chores are done. You can even experiment with a "clean free" day. "If we get everything done on the Saturday we can go to the movie as a family, or to the park, because everything’s been done the day before.”
This reward system can also carry forward as they get older. Mopping the kitchen floor can could translate into a ride to the mall, This can show them that you are willing to do them a favour if they’re willing to help you.
Money has always been a popular way to offer incentives for hard work. The idea of “cleaning cash” can be a great early lesson on earning money for kids who are too young to work. Try setting up a checklist where the kids can track what needs to be done and when.
You’ll find your kids will want to help out more to earn some extra cash. These incentives can also be done in addition to an allowance if they already receive one, but the tasks should be for things outside their normal duties. This is an excellent way for your children to learn financial literacy.
We've all got coins that have made their way between couch cushions. Why not send your child on a hunt to collect the loose change lying around the house? Have them search everywhere: on dressers, in pockets, between the sofa cushions, even underneath the seats in your car. Then, ask them to practice counting all of the different denominations of money and adding up the total. Then you have a few options: Let your child buy a small treat with their new-found funds, or simply put the money in a jar and save it for a future family outing.
If there is a substantial amount, you could consider opening a savings account for your child if he or she doesn’t already have one.
If your kids are dragging their feet about helping out, consider letting them choose which chore they’d like to complete instead. There’s no sense in forcing your kids to do something they don’t enjoy. Whether it’s mopping the kitchen floor or dusting the windowsills, it's best to let the kids find a job that fits them. Once they have a chore they enjoy, it becomes something they’ll always want to complete.
Put an end to all the single socks missing their mates once and for all. Toss all of the clean socks in the house onto your bed in a big pile and then have the kids race to see you can match the most pairs the fastest. Once you have all of the pairs together, you can show your child how to roll them up into neat little balls. Then you'll have pairs of socks that won’t get separated in your child’s drawers. There most likely will be some singles left over, so any socks left over without mates you can keep in a bin to use for arts and crafts projects or even as rag to do for some Spring cleaning!
Want to incorporate some learning into your spring cleaning? Have your younger children organize your spice drawer or rack. They will receive a little reading and sorting practice while your spices get organized, making it quicker and easier to find what you need when you need it. Encourage your child to familiarize themselves with the spices by reading labels, smelling the spices and perhaps even tasting them. This is a great opportunity to explain how you commonly use them for cooking or baking.
Cleaning out the fridge of older products is a pretty typical Spring Cleaning task. This year, have your kids help! Have an older child sleuth out outdated, unwanted items in your refrigerator and cupboard by showing them how to read expiration dates. Ask them to then make a pile of all the discarded items, and show how to properly dispose of these items. All products should fit into either recycling, composting or trash.
Hardwood, laminate, or other type of smooth flooring type in your house? Let your kids have a blast while slip-sliding their way to cleaner floors. Have your children wear old pairs of socks (maybe some off the single socks you could't find matching pairs for earlier?) and “skate” around the house collecting up all the dust and pet hair that gathers on the floor with their feet. Challenge them to see who can accumulate the largest dust bunny.Just make sure there are no sharp edges or breakable items close by, as someone is bound to take a corner too quickly and may take a tumble - don't want anyone getting hurt! Afterwards, collect all of your dust bunnies in a trash bag as you go along so they don't hop back onto the floor! Your kids will love this silly and fun game that gets their hearts pumping and promotes agility and muscle fitness.
As a parent, your first priority is making sure that our little ones are safe. Although most cleaning solutions use chemicals, there are products that are easy and fun to use for all ages.
Chemical free product ranges, like the Swiffer line of products, can tackle lots of different jobs, but can also extend to reach high and low surfaces. These are great for even the youngest children, as they are odour-free as well.
It’s also important to be aware of products that use fragrances your child might be sensitive to. A large part of spring-cleaning means digging out lighter weight items that have been stored away all winter, such as linens and clothing. Not all of these things smell very fresh when pulled out of storage, so you may want to use a fabrice refresher product. Kids can help with this, as they love to spray things. Febreze makes a number of products that are unscented and allergen reducing, and are also safe to use around both kids and pets. Prefer a homemade alternative? We also really love this super-easy recipe for fabric refresher spray via Organic Authority.