The sheer amount of work that spring cleaning entails means that you’ll need all the help you can get. After all, many hands make light work, and with spring break in full swing at most schools, you probably have a few extra hands idling around the house available for chores. And you know what they say about idle hands!
The problem, you might think, is to actually get the kids to do something, but don’t give up just yet, since there are lots of great ways to make spring cleaning fun and practical for every member of the family. We’ve put together a few tips that will help you find the help you need from your kids and get done faster than ever. After all, they’re probably the ones who create most of the mess!
Make it all about teamwork
Most children hate having to do chores on their own, so tasking them with any sort of cleaning and expecting them to carry it through might be a little too naive. Instead, make them stick together with you from room to room, and break down all the tasks in the area so that you can supervise them while you do your own thing. Good communication is key, since talking to them and complimenting their effort will assure that they do a better, faster job.
Scare if you care
Now, we’re not saying that you should adopt harsh, mean-spirited tactics, absolutely not! But kids will sometimes respond better (see: faster) when they feel like they’ll lose something important in their carefully planned messes. For example, turning on the vacuum and informing them that it will suck up anything on the floor, or that you’ll be throwing out everything that’s out of place; all that will surely get them on their feet. Also, remember to educate them on how mice, roaches and other pests just love making their homes in dirty, messy places, such as piles of forgotten toys; eventually they’ll learn how to keep the house clean and organized. Works like a charm!
Truly trust them
Even if kids don’t like chores (and who does, really?), they do like feeling trusted by adults and given responsibilities they know they can handle. It’s important that you let them know why spring cleaning is done and how they will actually help you and that you’re not giving them something to do just because you want to annoy them. On the contrary! Help them understand that, if the whole family works together, then everyone can start lounging around sooner and enjoy the warmer days that spring brings with it.
Make it a fun race
To get the simpler tasks out of the way, make everyone draw pieces of paper out of a hat with easy chores written on them. Instead of using a buzzer or the timer on your phone, set the “race” to music, and tell them to try and beat the song (make a playlist with tracks lasting about two minutes apiece). Write down a list of chores that can be done this way and cross them out as you finish them, this way you’ll have a clear goal and the game won’t go longer than needed. You can even think of some rewards like the winner gets to pick that day’s supper.
Bigger kids, bigger jobs
All of the above options will work better with younger kids, but once adolescence hits, the idea of working on a team with mom or dad all day might not fly so well with them. How to work around this? Simply delegate bigger–yet still safe–chores to them. Try not to give them a chore that you have to explain at length or that takes some practice to do well since you’ll probably lose some daylight doing it. Still, make it something that will leave them with a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that you trust them to do more around the house. They might complain, but if you’re honest and trust them, they won’t let you down.
Spring cleaning with kids of all ages can be fun for everyone if you plan a little. The secret is that, even if you reward their hard work, you should let them know why cleaning is important (and not only once a year) and how working on chores as a family is better for everyone. If the idea of spring cleaning seems too daunting even with the help of your kids, or you don’t know how to clean the house with a baby, then get some professional hands involved; they won’t let you down!