Who doesn’t love a clean house? I know I do. Kids make it tough, but when people come over to our house and say things like, “wow, your house is so clean!” it makes my heart do a little happy dance inside.
I don’t do it all without help, though. My five-year-old helps out a lot! It wasn’t easy getting from hindering-more-than-helping to actual helping, though. There’s a lot of teaching involved in the beginning to show your kids how things are done.
But pretty soon, they’ll become more and more independent with these tasks, and you can leave them be (depending on their age) while you tackle another project. So here are simple ways to have your kids help clean the house!
Wiping surfaces with cleaning wipes
This is probably the easiest task ever. And there are plenty of areas kids can clean — dining room table, kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, etc.
Picking up clutter
I tell my son “find everything downstairs that is yours and put it where it belongs.” This includes toys, art supplies, jackets, shoes, etc. The harder part of this is your job — making sure everything has a place. In order for everything to be in its place, it has to have a place first. Once everything has a place and your kids know where that is, they are able to put away their things independently.
The thing that makes this an easy task is your supplies. A Swiffer duster is pretty much the easiest thing I’ve found to use for dusting. All the dust clings to it, and it can extend to reach those hard-to-reach places. I tell Zach “dust all the flat surfaces,” which I have explained to mean the tops of dressers, desks, blinds, night stands, etc.
This is a harder one, depending on age. You can start with just matching socks, then folding underwear, then folding pants and shirts. I wash and dry all the laundry, but then give Zach all his clothes to fold on his own (I would like to say he also puts them away, but I’m too much of a perfectionist to let clothes be shoved in a dresser just any way….)
Cleaning the bathroom
So this one still requires some setup on my part for Zach to do this — I put cleaning solution in the toilet and let it sit, and I also spray the whole shower with cleaner. I hand him the toilet brush, a washcloth, and a few wipes and leave him to it. I still have to spot-clean after he finishes sometimes, but that’s WAY better than having to clean the bathroom by myself!
Putting away groceries
Even if you don’t trust your kids to put things away in the right spots, they can still un-bag all the groceries, group them (frozen, refrigerated, shelf-stable, etc.), and then dispose of all the bags.
Making their bed
This is also an easy one. And no, I don’t expect Zach’s bed to look like a hotel housekeeper make it. Simply pulling the blankets up and straightening things out makes a world of difference. I make Zach’s bed every time I wash his sheets, but every other time, it’s up to him.
Starting your kids off with these cleaning tasks will set them up for independence later in life. (Your kids will be the ones at college who CAN actually do their own laundry!!) When they get a bit older, they can do more complex tasks, as well, such as cooking, vacuuming, sweeping, or ironing. While helping to lighten your own load, you’re enabling your kids to become self-sufficient! Now, that’s a win-win if I’ve ever heard one!