Ugh! Spring Cleaning. It’s a time consuming activity that no busy mom wants to conquer on her own. My mom used to say (half joking) that she had kids so that they could do the housework. I had chores when I was little and I do remember protesting. I told my mom I didn’t see the point in learning how to clean because my maid was going to do everything for me. (Yep, I was a tad dramatic and delusional.)
As I grew up, I actually learned to love cleaning. It’s a great feeling knowing you have accomplished something- taking a messy closet and then seeing it organized or seeing a clean floor after I’ve just swept up a big pile of dirt and sand. I want my children to experience that feeling, too! I want them to appreciate hard work and a clean home.
Getting my three kids to help with Spring Cleaning is no easy feat! Thankfully, they are not as dramatic as I was, but they still need quite a bit of motivation. I’ve figured out what works for my children and I am going to share 7 tips with you!
- Give age appropriate chores and teach your children how to do them. My kids are 9,6, and 3. My 9 year old has more responsibilities, like unloading the dishwasher and hanging up laundry, while my three year old is only responsible for picking up his toys or cleaning his spills. I never give my children more than they can handle and it’s important not to overwhelm them!
- Make visual lists or chore charts. I write my children’s chores on a dry erase board and let them check off the chores when they are done. The kids enjoy checking the chores off one by one.
- Set timers. Once the kids know their chores, I set a timer asking them to finish by the time the buzzer dings. It’s fun because they know they have to move fast.
- Do your chores at the same time! My kids want to see me working, too. I don’t want them to feel like Cinderella while I sit and boss them around. I want my children to see that we are a team and we are all working together to accomplish our Spring Cleaning goals.
- Make Spring Cleaning FUN. Play music and have a dance party while you clean up. Play games and have friendly competitions. You can have laundry free throws. Try putting a piece of tape on the baseboards and having the kids start on opposite ends and race towards the tape, cleaning the baseboards as they go. You can see who can match the most socks or sweep up the biggest dirt piles. One of our favorite things to do is put the kids in swimsuits and let them scrub the shower and bath tubs. They get to play and you a clean tub without the back pain! Games make it feel like its not work at all and it goes a lot quicker.
- Give rewards and consequences. My children don’t get rewards or allowances for doing their chores but I do give rewards for things like doing chore in a timely manner, no complaining (or bickering), doing a great job, or doing more than was asked. Rewards might be a trip to Twistee Treat or all the loose change in the bottom of my purse. In a perfect world, my kids would get their chores done without whining every time. But, they don’t and I have consequences for those times. When the timer goes off and they are not done cleaning, that serves as a warning. I reset the timer with less time and let them go back to work. If they still haven’t finished after the next buzzer, I take away the tablets and electronics for 24 hours. If there is any complaining, whining, or bickering, I add some small chores, and only give their tablets and electronics back once they have finished ALL of their chores. My kids love their electronics so this consequence works like a charm in our house.
- Lower your expectations. Kids are great helpers but they aren’t always going to get it right. They will miss spots, fold crooked, put toys in the wrong bin and books on the wrong shelf; they will make their bed with 20 unnecessary stuffed animals on their pillow, and sometimes they will create a bigger mess! Praise their good jobs. Don’t give them the chores that you are more particular about! Help your children when you see them struggling. Stifle your need to correct every little thing (and maybe refold that towel when they aren’t looking)! Let your kids help! They will love that feeling of accomplishing something, especially when they see how happy they’ve made mom!
Spring Cleaning is a tough chore that no mom wants to do on her own! Luckily, I’ve cracked the code learned how to motivate my children to help out… Sorry, I have no advice on how to convince your husband to help clean! Good luck with that!
How do you get your family motivated to do the Spring Cleaning? Let me know how these tips work for your family!