Five Tips For Spring Cleaning With Kids

kids and chores

Spring cleaning is on the horizon, and you could use some help. It's time to try a team approach to seasonal cleaning.

Many hands make light work ... so how do you get the kids to pitch in when it's time to spring-clean the house?

Try these five tips to involve children with housecleaning chores.

Think teamwork

It's downright lonely to be sentenced to clean a bathroom on your own, but paired with a parent, even a 5-year-old can work safely and happily. While Dad wields the bowl cleaner and the tile brush, his helper can scrub the sink, polish the fixtures, empty the trash and trundle towels and rugs to the laundry room.

Working as a team involves kids in the cleaning process, helps them learn cleaning skills, and most important, models both the attitude and the job standard you're trying to teach.

Take your voice out of the process

Children have an innate ability to "tune out" parents, when the subject is chores. What parent wants to spend a Saturday nagging, threatening and hollering, "You get back here and finish the vacuuming!"?

Instead, post a list of the day's jobs, or write them out on index cards. Divvy the jobs up between the teams, or let each team choose one until the work is done. Putting the work on paper removes the tussle of wills.

Make time fly with media motivators

Playing upbeat music or an exciting audiobook keeps spirits high--and dust cloths moving. For maximum motivation, let each helper choose his or her tunes throughout the day.

Delegate "big jobs" to teens

Once adolescence hits, working on a parent's "team" loses it's appeal. Solution? Delegate big--but safe--jobs to teen children.

Whether they clean and organize the garage, shampoo the living room carpet, or restore order to a jumbled linen closet, they'll take pride in their work IF you truly let them own the job ... and make it a big one!

The more challenging the task, the more your teen will learn.

Ignore all bleating and moaning, and praise their solutions to the skies.

In spite of their complaints, they won't let you down.

Reward hard work

Spring cleaning is nobody's idea of a good time, so plan for a reward for your workers. When the chores are done, schedule a family treat.

Whether it's pizza for lunch or a trip to the video store for an evening film-fest, you'll get better results--and sweeten attitudes--if there's a payoff at the end of the day.