|This is a guest post written by Ali and Lesley from Nurture Her Nature.|
It’s spring! Finally, gone are the days of spending all weekend inside with the kids trying to figure out ways to keep boredom at bay. We can now open up the back door and let them run free. Well, run free with supervision depending on age of course.
There is always something about this time of year that bring about the urge to purge everything in the house. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve had four months to stare at it, decide we didn’t need it, but not be able to move the car out of the drive way to get rid of it. Just like the kids, we want this old clutter to run free. Well, in an appropriate drop-off location of course.
The spring cleaning urge doesn’t end there though. We want to get down on our knees and scrub baseboards, dust areas that haven’t seen the light of day in years, and disinfect just about everything that could possibly be infected.
But how do you get all this good, soul-cleansing cleaning done with those kiddos running around? Bring them into the fun, of course! Spring cleaning is fun. Yes, fun. That motivation that gets you off the couch to get started is a suppressed happiness to be surrounded by a clean fun. We adults just suck the fun out of it by calling it a chore. Start thinking about it like a game and getting the kids involved will no longer be a mystery.
Here are some ideas:
1. Clean out an old spray bottle and let the kids “wash” the windows. My daughter loves this game. It usually doesn’t stop at the windows. She next moves on to her toys and wipes down each one of them. It can get a little wet, but she’s learning valuable cleaning skills and I’ve gotten a ton done.
2. Let them vacuum. Vacuums these days are pretty light. My four-year-old can handle mine just fine. Sure, she misses a few, okay, a lot of, spots, but she loves the idea of being helpful and a “big girl” and, again, I get a ton done.
3. Turn the sorting of clothes into a numbers game. Getting rid of old clothes that don’t fit anymore doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for kids. If your kids are learning about numbers in school, then chances are they are pretty excited about it and want to show you their skills. Let them tell you which are the 3T, or whatever size doesn’t fit anymore, and have them put those all in a pile to bring to kids that need them. It seems simple, but it made this process very easy for me.
4. Cleaning up toys can be a great game of basketball. As long as the toy isn’t breakable (or anything in the surrounding area), let them practice their free throws. They’ll want to win, and winning means all the toys are cleaned up.
5. Create a task wheel and spinner or label tasks to pull out of a hat. Be sure the tasks are age appropriate and throw in a couple of freebies—a half hour free while Mom continues to clean or a dance party break are a couple of examples. Each time an item is chosen, replace it with another.
6. Let your child choose. All kids love to be given choice; they feel they are more independent and in control of their lives. For younger children, I suggest keeping the number of choices at two for each round: Would you like to dust or sort socks? Not all the choices have to be focused on cleaning. If you see the interest is waning, offer a choice of music to listen to or snacks to serve during break time.
Getting kids involved in spring cleaning is going to mean some extra time. You’ll need to go back and fix some of the vacuuming or refold some clothes. But, in the end you’ve spent some quality time with them while getting things done and taught valuable life skills. Not too bad for a house cleaning chore.
If you follow me on any of my social sites her have seen post by Nurture Her Nature. It is one of my favorite blogs. I have also been featured on their blog and they have a great series featuring single mothers.