The days are getting longer and the air is getting warmer. That can only mean one thing – SPRING CLEANING!!! But how do you get the kids on board with the spring cleaning fun? Given that they create the majority of the mess..
Here are some tips on how to get the kids helping – and wanting to help – with the spring cleaning.
INFORM, EDUCATE, TRUST
Kids might not like chores, but they do like feeling trusted by adults and having responsibilities.
Before you start any cleaning, ensure that your kids fully understand the reasons why spring cleaning must be done, and how their role will greatly aid in this endeavour.
It is useful to have visual checklists so they are fully aware of their responsibilities, can keep an eye on their progress and tick off items as they go. Check out Stuck On You’s range of personalised calendars and planners.
It is also important to give them spring cleaning tasks that are easily achievable according to their age and abilities. Teach them how to do the tasks properly and resist the urge to re-do it yourself (at least in their presence) as it may discourage them from wanting to help you again.
BITE SIZE FUN
Asking them to simply clean up their room will sound overwhelming to a young child. Therefore, it is better to segment the tasks into bite-size pieces, e.g. put all the Lego back in the box, pair up your shoes and put them on the shoe rack, etc.
THERE’S NO “I” IN “TEAM”
Most kids prefer not to be sitting in a room alone, cleaning. So it’s better if the whole family focuses on one room at a time before moving on to the next room.
SCARING IS CARING
I’m not proud of this (well maybe a tiny bit), but scare tactics can work. I stumbled across this strategy one day by accidentally almost getting rid of a SUPER IMPORTANT game cheat code that was scrawled on a random piece of paper. Nothing else could’ve made my daughter scurry faster to sort out stuff herself.
These days, all I need to do is hold up the iPad while drawling in a dopey Southern accent, “Can ah throw this oouuut, hyuk hyuk?” and she’s onto it like lightning.
Other scare tactics include turning on the vacuum and saying it will suck up whatever’s in its path, and informing them – truthfully – that rodents are attracted to mess and do they really want mouse poo all over their toys?
As much as we’d prefer that kids do their tasks without the need for reward, sometimes it’s the most effective strategy. Besides, let’s put ourselves in their shoes. We all have that item in our closet that we bought ten years ago and have never worn, but kept around in the hope that we’d lose weight/gain boobs/be invited to a purple taffeta costume party.
Similarly for them, as much as we don’t see the value of that robot that’s missing its head, it might mean something to them and it feels hard for them to let it go.
There are many ways to motivate kids to declutter and clean. Rewards can include:
- Going to the zoo, movies or ice skating
- Planning a party or finally having that sleepover you’re owing other parents but haven’t yet had due to embarrassing mess.
- Filming a short movie starring the kids. You can’t be a proper movie star unless you have space to jump around. Besides, do they really want the world to see their messy bedroom?
- Holding a garage sale and letting them keep the proceeds.
Tip: Keep track of their progress towards rewards using Stuck On You’s reward charts.
For your sanity, it’s best if the reward is intangible (as above) or at the very least, involves less clutter. If you reward them finally getting rid of their old messy toys by buying them even more messy toys, you’ll be back to square one in no time.
MAKE IT FUN!
Making spring cleaning fun is a must, not only for kids but also for us! Here are some game ideas.
Nothing like a bit of clean (haha) competition to get the kids moving. Bingo is a perpetual favourite.
When formulating the Bingo cards, let self-interest guide you. Getting sick of those squeaky toys they no longer play with? Tired of all those art-and-craft offshoots that are scattered around the place? Include on your bingo cards “Squeaky toy” or “Random pieces of paper, grouped in 10s” on a square (or two, or five).
If you like, you can also have separate Bingo cards for different outcomes, e.g. To Throw Away, To Give To Charity.
Beat the buzzer
Each player takes a piece of paper out of a hat, e.g. Collect the lego, pair up socks. Set a timer to two minutes and run around madly trying to complete the task you’ve chosen.
Then choose another piece of paper each, set the timer and go again.
For a fun twist, do this to music instead, i.e. finish the tasks by the end of a song.
Upcycling refers to the creative re-use of old or unwanted stuff. Places like Pinterest can provide wonderful inspiration for how to convert that discarded robot’s head (so that’s where it went!) into a masterpiece.
Better yet, this will keep the kids amused, engage their creativity, AND provide you lots of opportunities for boast posts #handsonkids #rusticfun #awesomeparent
#mykidstotesmadethistoday #hahanonotreally (Image via Pinterest)