Have you ever been in a dire need for a Mother’s Day gift or a birthday present for your better half? Well, perhaps it didn’t cross your mind that getting things done around the house is considered one of the nicest surprises ever. Women really appreciate that kind of a job being done before they have to say something. The surprise will be even better if you and the kiddos organize it together. No matter how old they are, kids like taking part in the activities around the house. They need a bit of a guidance and structure, that’s true, but that’s why you’re there to help. Good organization, mutual agreement and tolerance, mixed with elements of fun, are considered to be the best foundation for a functional family. There has to be a time for playing and a time for doing some house chores. But, who says that those chores can’t be fun, too? There are so many ways dads and kids can organize the cleaning when mum is not around. If you just stop and think about it, it’s a win-win situation. Mums will be positively surprised, while dads and the kids will have an amazing time together!
“Cleaning with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos” is probably one of the most popular statements made on this topic. However, although trying to keep things neat and clean sometimes it just seems pointless when the kids are young. But, there’s a secret to it. Let’s check it out.
Age Appropriate Chores
First of all, take into account your kids age and the appropriateness of the duties you’re planning to give them. Finding tasks that are within children’s capability is the key solution. Take into consideration the following:
- Toddlers (2-3 years old) are able to understand specific tasks, such as: putting away their toys and clothes back in the wardrobe or a container; dusting with feather duster; collecting place mats after a meal; filling in pet’s food dish; wiping up spills.
- Kids 4-5 can do any of the above chores, plus: make their own bed (Note: don’t insist on perfection); set the table; clear the table; water the flowers; wash some plastic dishes; empty small wastebaskets.
- Kids 6-7 years old can do any of the above chores, plus: sweep floors, set and clear the table; help make and pack some easy lunch; dust; keep their bedroom tidy.
- Kids 8-9 can do any of the above chores, plus: vacuum; help make lunch or dinner; make their own breakfast and snacks; put away clothes/groceries, etc. take pet for a walk; mop the floor.
- Kids who are 10+ can do any of the above chores, plus: fold laundry, clean the bathroom, wash a car, cook simple meals with supervision; clean the kitchen, change the bed sheets.
Showing your appreciation and praising their work is of utmost importance. Also, don’t redo their work once they are done. That’s the same like telling them that their work wasn’t good enough.
Have Some Real fun
If your kids are 4+, you can organize various cleaning competitions, setting time for every activity they are about to do. Of course, you should have your duty, as well. Make a colorful chart together where you can mark the points for each activity done. If you have, for instance, one hour to complete what you have planned in advance, divide activities into 10-minute sections.
Here’s an example:
- Task: Picking up everything from the floor and putting it away
- Time limit: 10 minutes
- Age appropriateness: 5-10+
- You’ll need: toy containers/boxes
- Game: Play the kids’ favorite music and challenge them to accomplish the task by the end of the song.
- Task: Cleaning the kitchen after a meal
- Time limit: 15 minutes
- Age appropriateness: 4-10+
- You’ll need: aprons, children rubber gloves, mops, cleansers, etc.
- Game: Visiting a land of make-believe. This is a role-playing game the kids just love! Pick the costumes (use aprons, hats, small gloves) and think of the story. You can, for instance, be a cleaning company that provides the best service ever.
Set up the rules at the beginning. Once everybody agrees on the rules, the cleaning game can start. Each game should end up with the points being given and then counted. Also, everybody should get a prize according to his/her abilities. Be fair! At the end, you can share a treat together. The best moment is when mum arrives back home and sees the result. You’ll have another round of treats for everybody, that’s for sure.
Before you organize the cleaning with your kids, make sure you put away all the dangerous chemicals. Tasks that older kids (8-10+) can accomplish include wiping tables and other surfaces around the house (counters, doorknobs window sills). They can do this with your guidance, while using a non-toxic universal cleanser, such as Koenig Polish. Younger kids (5-7) can help with dusting. Make sure they wear a mask to prevent any possible allergic reactions to dust. Younger kids can sort the dishes and put them away, while the older can be assigned to wash them.
Kids who have taken part in household chores gain important skills for the future. To start with, they develop their work ethics and learn how to value responsibility. Doing things around the house together with their parents will help them develop a sense of belonging. Also, they get used to being useful around the house. A great list of benefits, so, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and start a game of mopping.