Little hands are more often the ones making the messes than cleaning them up, but making age-appropriate chores part of kids’ routine can help them form good habits for later on life. We’ve asked some of the clever mums and dads we know, and mined the endless knowledge centre of the web, to find some great ways to get kids involved in keeping the house neat and tidy. Welcome to the cleaning party, little helping hands!
Okay, so this is really a pre-cleaning tip, but Michelle from QLD says she keeps the house tidier by always keeping half of the kids’ toys in the storage cupboard. Then when the kids get bored of the current ones they do the old switcheroo and what’s old is new again!
Keep it age appropriate
Toddlers don’t have the dexterity or coordination to handle more complex cleaning tasks, but they can still get in the habit of doing simple things. Ask them to pull the blanket up on their bed until they are capable of making it properly, they can put the cushions back on the couch, pick up dirty clothes, or dust reachable surfaces with their hand in an old sock.
Put hankies on your heads and play Cinderella, give your kids a “mission impossible” with a few different tidying challenges to complete, pretend to be busy bees buzzing around the room as you put away toys, or play “butlers and maids” like Katey from Having Fun at Home.
Learn as you clean
For kids who are just learning a new skill, kill two birds with one stone by incorporating that into tidying time. If they are learning to count, challenge them to put away a certain number of items. If colours are their current obsession ask them to put away all the blue toys, then the red toys, and so on.
Make it a dance party
Peter in Surry Hills says his family get the tidying done faster when they put on some feel-good tunes and dance while they work. Make a cleaning playlist with contributions from everyone and promise a reward at the end if everyone has their chores finished by the end of the playlist – and follow through, of course!
If your kids respond well to a bit of competition create a list with tasks that take about the same amount of time and assign an even amount to each child. Whoever completes all their jobs first gets to pick a movie to watch.
What are your tips, tricks, or sneaky bribes to get the kids helping out around the house?