Having a clean home all of the time would be an absolute dream, wouldn’t it? When things are orderly, clean and clear, I actually feel more in control. When I’m surrounded by the clutter that usually builds up, my mental health suffers. Truly, seeing stuff everywhere makes me anxious, but I am not a predisposed cleaner, so a lot of the time it’s actually not clean around here.
Let’s be honest, it’s not truly clean unless people are coming over.
Also, I haven’t taught the kids to be my little helpers because cleaning is one of my least favorite things to do. I know, I know, that seems counter intuitive. But it’s true. On occasion I’ll kick things into gear, like I did for the Princess Party a few weeks ago, but on the whole we have no regular list of jobs or responsibilities. I know why they call them “chores” because it really is a chore to me.
But recently I’ve noticed something. Ellie loves to dust.
She gets all excited about pulling out the duster and going to town. She is a prime Mommy’s Little Helper candidate. The other day she actually said to me, “I want to make the house clean and shiny “ as she cleared a few surfaces, wiped and dusted. It’s not typical behavior for my kids and I’ve never worked with them to develop that desire.
But I want to. Oh, I so want to! Encouraging that desire to clean will one, help me, and two, will help them. Maybe they’ll actually end up like John who doesn’t mind cleaning at all. (Can you imagine?!) So I’ve really put some thought into this, and I have the solution. We’ve been trying it out and so far it’s really working.
How to Get the Kids Excited about Cleaning in 4 Steps:
Step 1. Shop for cleaning supplies together.
The other day I took Ellie to Fred Meyer with me to buy Windex®, Pledge® Multisurface and a few other cleaning supplies we needed. I got the smaller size cart and let her do the pushing, which she really loved. She felt like such a big girl, and at almost 5 years old, that’s very important. Getting the kids involvement and “buy in” is a must.
Cleaning Products Tip! Kroger-affiliate stores around the country are hosting a Buy 4 Save $4 Mega Event for Windex® is 11/3-11/15 and for Pledge® is 11/10-12/27. Time to stock up! (Kroger Affiliates Include Baker’s Supermarkets, City Market, Dillons Food Stores, Fry’s Food And Drug, Gerbes Super Markets, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, Owen’s, Pay Less Super Markets, QFC, Ralphs, Scott’s, Smith’s, Fred Meyer, and Food 4 Less)
Step 2. Create a “Jobs” chart together as an art project.
The minute I mentioned art project, their ears perked up. A jobs chart as an art project. Brilliant. I purchased a random framed poster from a thrift store to use to create an erasable job chart. I wanted to be able to easily update it like a dry erase board, so that we can change the system as we see what works and what doesn’t.
To create it, I flipped the poster over inside the frame to have the white side facing forward and then we decorated the frame as a team. I simply enhanced the frame with colorful tape.
Then we glued our names and some beads, buttons, felt and pom poms to the sides of the frame however they wanted to make it pretty.
I think it turned out awesome and the kids were immediately excited to use it. They even started doing jobs before we had finalized the system!
Step 3. Develop the “Jobs” award system together.
To develop the system of jobs, we first sat down as a family and discussed what types of jobs would be good for us to track. The kids threw out their suggestions. Ellie of course suggested dusting, but she also said “putting the shoes where they go,” which is actually a really good one that I hadn’t thought of. We discussed ways we can track, with check marks for the daily tasks and gems that cling to the glass to be awarded at the end of each week for completing their tasks.
I told them this system would be trial and error at first, which then turned into a discussion of what trial and error means. I think it’s very important for them to realize that things don’t always work out on the first try, so it’s OK to regroup and change things to make them better if needed. Exactly how the real world works, eh?
So our jobs list will be a work in progress, and they are more than allowed to make their own suggestions to make it better. And when we make adjustments, a little Windex® #InstaClean and our erasable job chart has a clean slate.
Step 4. Use Team Work. Clean Together.
When it’s time to clean, it’s teamwork time. John and I even have our own space on the Jobs Chart so the kids see that we’re all in this together.
You may notice that every step includes the word “together.” In my personal opinion, that’s the key to getting the kids excited about cleaning. It’s making cleaning time quality family time, which of course they love. And honestly, it even makes it more fun for me. I think I’m gonna like this new job chart too.
I’d love to hear what you do to get your kids excited about cleaning. Do you use a chore chart? Or have regular jobs for your kids?