How to Get Kids Involved in CleaningTuesday, June 14, 2016
I think a better solution is to get your kids involved in cleaning and organizing. My kids are active participants when it comes to cleaning time. It's all in the strategy…
For Beat the Timer, simply set the timer and give them a set goal, like "see if you can pick up all your toys in 5 minutes." Part of the fun is the countdown so make that funny or really elaborate. For older kids you can say "We're doing XX in 5 minutes if the clothes are picked up off the floor." Give them a deadline to shoot towards.
Hidden Treasure simply means you've hidden some sort of item or coupon somewhere in the mess - the first kid to find it during clean up get to redeem it. Coupons can be for things like "being the one to choose the movie on Friday night" or a free download on the iPhone for older kids. Kids are happy to hunt for treasure - trust me on this.
Older kids can be assigned the task of being in charge of a certain "difficult" job. When I taught 4th grade I had a student who wasn't terribly motivated, but after I announced to the class he was our official 'classroom fixer" he just beamed. I made him in charge of using the screwdriver - every time that stapler jammed he needed no motivation. He was so proud to be the only one to use the tool to fix it.
DON'T SAY: "Clean the playroom."
DO SAY: "All the stuffed animals need to be put in the baskets, books should be placed on the shelves."
DON'T SAY: "Straighten up the bathroom."
DO SAY: "Please wipe the toothpaste tube and put in the drawer, toothbrushes should be in the holders and towels should be hung."
This seems like a lot to say each time, I know. But after a while, they understand what you want and you don't have to say it over and over. I'm a big fan of chore chart sheets, which we'll get into next week - they help tremendously.
It's a simple thing, but asking your kids to do something nicely sure gets your further than snapping at them. Kids lavish praise - saying thank you is just a simple way of showing them that you appreciate their effort. And who doesn't like to feel appreciated?
I try to use 'please' and 'thank you' with my kids constantly for two reasons: I want to model good manners AND I want them to see how their hard work.
Later this week, I'll be sharing with you one of my chore charts so you can see how easy it is to keep kids focused on their chores.
What strategies work for you to get your kids involved in keeping the house clean?