School holidays are often a bittersweet time for parents. They provide a wonderful opportunity for families to spend quality time together, but they can also become very hard work. Keeping children occupied and happy while trying to work and run a busy home can be a huge task.
But by getting your kids involved in household cleaning, there’s an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. The little ones can have fun indoors, and you can get some very important household jobs done.
1. Disco cleaning
If you can make cleaning fun, you’re halfway to success. One way to get things going is by turning the room you’re cleaning into a mini disco party. Choose some upbeat songs, and don’t be afraid to take some dancing breaks in between chores. To increase the fun level, set a timer, and see how quickly the kids can clean in time to the music. Give your children a feather duster, and let them work up a sweat.
2. Adapt cleaning tasks to children
Children may find certain jobs impossible, either because the tasks are too dangerous or they’re beyond the reach and strength of little ones. However, you can make some cleaning jobs a little easier by making certain alterations. For instance, you can cut a broom in two to make it easier to use. A great job to give children is cleaning a kitchen floor; just give them a bucket of warm water, and let them have fun. They can then dry the floor with a pair of old socks — sweeping their feet across the floors in time to music.
3. Provide incentives
While the easiest way to incentivise cleaning jobs is by offering pocket money, there are other ways that won’t cost you a small fortune over the course of the summer holidays. For instance, an extra hour before bedtime often works wonders, and most kids will work a little harder at the thought of sweet treats. Other ways to reward a job well done include inviting their friends over for playtime and the promise of days out. But remember: kids love charts. Create charts that track the jobs being done in the home, and that alone could be the source of both fun and motivation.
4. Give everything a home
It will be much easier for your kids to focus on cleaning and tidying if everything in your home has an allotted area. Items such as books, school bags, toys, games and shoes should all have a permanent place to live, and your kids should know exactly what goes where. Wherever possible, make these areas easily accessible for your kids, otherwise tidying up could become an unnecessarily complicated process.
5. Make cleaning a culture in your home
From as young an age as possible, your kids should be taught that cleaning and tidying is part and parcel of everyday life. Rather than approach cleaning as a series of one-off chores, it should be something that is just part of life. Talk to your children about the bigger picture, and why having a clean home is a good thing. When children are brought up with a culture of cleaning, they don’t think twice about helping out around the home.
6. Create routines
Routines are important, as they ensure that there is always enough time to do the important things in life. Schedule cleaning jobs early in the morning during the holidays, and just after school during term time.
There’s no reason why your children shouldn’t help keep your home clean and tidy — but you’ll need make it fun and simple if you want to keep the peace!