Keeping your household together together can be tricky when you’re tackling things solo – and it can become even more complicated when it’s time to get the whole family onboard and working as one!
If you have kids, you know how difficult it can be to get the little ones involved in the cleaning routine. And we’re not even talking about deep cleaning sessions here, but the day-to-day stuff. Sometimes, it can be a real tightrope walk to get the kids to put away their plates after dinner, or keep their toys organized.
Maybe you can relate. Plenty of us have some not-so-great memories of being tasked to do chores around the house when we were younger. Maybe you dreaded mopping the kitchen, or picking up your toys, or wiping down the sinks in the bathroom. Perhaps you had an older sibling who always relayed the marching orders. Think back, and be honest. Were you diligent about cleaning your room and making your bed — or did you have to be reminded again and again before the message sank in?
If you can recall what it was like for you as a kid, then you may understand your own children’s distaste for helping to clean and organize the house now. After all, as a kid, your main desire is usually to go outside to play and take on new adventures — not sweep and vacuum and scrub.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of ways that you can turn cleaning from a dreaded task, into a fun and fulfilling activity for the whole family. Put yourself in your young ones’ shoes, and you may just find yourself inspired, full of new ideas for encouraging everyone to come together and work to keep the place clean – without it even feeling like work.
Looking for a few convenient ways to make regular cleaning and housekeeping easier and more enjoyable for adults and kids alike? Here are a few ideas to get you started — what would you add to the list?
Break Down Your Family’s Cleaning “Wants” & “Needs”
Before you begin any serious cleaning spree, make sure you take some time to talk it over with your family. It’s important to include your kids, spouse, grandparents, and anyone else who may be living in the home. Things will go a lot more smoothly if you make sure your loved ones feel like they’re a part of the process and really contributing, and not just taking orders.
One idea may be to sit down to have a conversation with everyone about the regular cleaning needs of the house and what strategies you can use to reach your goals. This could be a weekly conversation, or a monthly one. You could even slip it in during dinner or family TV time!
At the same time, take note of which of your family seems to be drawn to which tasks. Some members of the family may enjoy doing certain tasks more than others. Rather than relying on the classic “chore wheel,” you may face less resistance if you delegate tasks as a group effort, encouraging different family members to tackle parts of the house that best suit everyone’s unique needs and likes.
Is your son a budding young chef, for example? Maybe he’d be interested in helping organize and clean the kitchen, rather than the arts and crafts room he never touches. Does your daughter spend all day kicking the soccer ball around outside? Maybe she’d be best suited to sweeping the back patio, since she’s already looking to spend more time in the sun.
Make Decluttering a Family Project
One task that everyone can jump into together? Decluttering. There’s nothing like going through piles of junk as a family unit to bring people together — and to get everyone committed to the next stages of the tidying process.
Decluttering is helpful for your family for many reasons. First, getting rid of all the excess stuff taking up space and helping grow dust can help promote a sense of harmony and balance.
Second, keeping things out of the way and ensuring that living spaces are clear and clutter-free can even make it easier and safer for your kids, and for any elderly family in the household. After all, the less junk there is everywhere, the easier it is to get into nooks and crannies when you clean. Fewer spare surfaces means fewer areas for dust and grime to accumulate. And if you have young kids or older relatives, fewer knick knacks everywhere means fewer obstacles — and less of a chance of spills, slips, or painful accidents.
Just as important? Coming together for a decluttering project can also help your children become better acquainted with their relationship to their things. Starting this process early is a great way to teach the next generation how to sort out what truly matters to them most, and pick up healthy habits. This project is also a great opportunity to teach children about recycling, and to introduce them to the idea of donating the things they don’t need to others. That’s a win-win-win-win!
Create Fun Visual Checklists
Many kids are visual learners, and respond well when there are pictures, illustrations, and visuals to react to. It’s one thing to tell your son or daughter to “clean your room” or “clean the bathroom,” but it’s often helpful for kids to have visual examples and a clear breakdown of chores, in order to truly grasp what is needed from them.
Moreover, having pictures and/or checklists from which they can cross off completed tasks is not only fun, but satisfying! It’s a way to turn a project from an abstract idea into a concrete – and accessible – reality.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few helpful and creative examples of how to use visuals to make the cleaning experience fun for the whole family:
Keep Things Short and Simple
You know how kids are. Most young kids aren’t particularly patient. And for young adults, it’s always “go, go, go,” from one thing to the next. For this reason, it helps to keep things simple and clear.
As much as possible, try and make tasks short and sweet. Break down chores into different, bite size chunks, so that the goal doesn’t seem too big or overwhelming (which is a sure way to turn off many youngsters). You could even divvy up different tasks for your little ones to do throughout the week or month, so that you can all chip away at a big project, without piling on everything all at once.
Use clear directions and simple instructions. Make sure that you lay out the task in such a way that your young one knows when they’re “done.” For instance, “make sure all of the toys in your bedroom are back in their toy chest and none are on the floor” is easier to grasp than “get rid of your toys.” And think about how you can arrange your kids’ to-do lists to optimize their time. Many children will be more willing to take on a job that lasts a few minutes, compared to one that feels like it could stretch one past the limits of their attention spans.
Set Fun Rewards… And Have Fun Along the Way
Kids love being rewarded for their good behavior and hard work. Granting them small rewards (or big ones, depending on the size of the task) can not only make them feel good about the work they’ve put in, but also incentivize them to keep up with their tasks.
It’s up to you what you find most important to reward, but many parents offer more media or video game time, or a special outing. Another idea is to ask your kids themselves what they would want the most to be rewarded with and give them something to look forward to! You may be surprised by what they ask for. A trip to a museum? Time in the park? A favorite dinner?
And remember, there are all sorts of creative ways you can up the fun factor while you’re cleaning, so that doing the job is its own fun reward! You might ask your kids what music they want to play, and blast it loud while you all pick up clutter together. Or you could set fun challenges, like toy clearing races. Get creative, and lots of ideas are sure to come to you!
Sweeping Dimensions is Here to Help the Whole Family!
With Sweeping Dimensions on your side, it’s easier to make the most of your precious time. We can help create more space and time for you and your family to enjoy what matters most.
We’re here to sweat the small stuff and keep your cleaning routine going, so that you can focus on the most important things in life – family, friends, and fun!
After all, we know that being a parent or guardian is one of the toughest and most important jobs there is. Bringing on a professional cleaning service help can make that job easier. We’ll give you back peace of mind so that you can take better care of yourself and your family, all while making sure that your cleaning and organizing to-do lists get done in a hurry.
With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products. We also offer flexible time windows, perfect for busy working parents and families on the go.
Looking to trade tips and tricks with other parents and families? Join our community and keep the conversation going on Facebook! Ready to call in the pros, and cross “cleaning” off of your family’s next to-do list? Get in touch today for your free estimate!