Creating Cleaning Routines with Your Kids
Looking to have a cleaning routine that your kids help with? It can be hard to find the best ways to have your kids help around the house without getting in the way. Know that the work we do to equip and teach our kids now will help them become better adults (and take away some of our stress!)
Still to this day, I can remember the sounds of Motown Classics playing on the radio on Saturday mornings. Waking up to this sound was the dreaded signal that our mornings would be filled with dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning. My brother and I had our routines and we knew them well.
Growing up, I thought the routines and processes my mother had in place were crazy. Today, I absolutely love them and even have modified them to create my own system. It’s helped me create a 3 part cleaning system that not only gets your kids helping you around the house, but teaches them skills that will last a lifetime.
Having a house with 8 children can get a little bit messy! The amount of dishes, dirty socks, and sticky tables is enough to make anyone want to pull their hair out. My anxiety levels rise to the highest heights when my house is a wreck. It doesn’t mean that our house is spotless. That would be a gross exaggeration. Our house is definitely lived in! I just admitted that the task of keeping the house clean could not be left to me. We believe in getting everyone involved because we all live there. My general rule of thumb is, If the child is old enough to make the mess, they are old enough to be a part of a system to learn to clean.
Over the years, I have tried many systems and chore charts to help me teach my kids about chores. The majority of them focused on ways to remind my kids to do their chores. Stickers, charts, calendars, apps, there are tons of ways to REMIND your kids. However, I realized I wanted something more than just reminding my children when to do their chore. I wanted a system that gave them essential life skills and taught them HOW to do their chore.
But maybe you’ve had these thoughts in your head…
It is so much easier to clean without my kids!
I don’t want my kids exposed to cleaning products.
They aren’t going to do it right.
These are common reasons many moms don’t get their kids involved with the cleaning process. I get it. Honestly, I do. The thought of leaving my kids unattended to clean an area or the entire house was enough to make the hairs on my neck stand up. However, I promise, the reward comes in the work you put in upfront.
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Teach Your Kids to Do Chores Around the House
Show Them! Support Them! Send Them on Their Way! It is not designed for parents who want a quick fix to getting chores done or the house cleaned. There is work involved and it takes time for kids to really learn how to clean, but once they have mastered it, Holy Moly! You will find your cleaning process to be much simpler.
Setting Up Your Kids to Do Chores
Before you can even begin to show your kids how to clean, the first step is to separate your house or chores into zones. In our house, we have four children who are responsible for four zones. As a homeschool family, our house hot spots are the kitchen, dining room (which is our school room), the living room, and our bathrooms. These four spaces are the most used and can be perfectly straight to looking like a tornado hit them in under 5 minutes.
After selecting your zones, come up with a list of tasks that are needed to clean each zone that can be completed in under 15 minutes. The tasks on this list should be thought out and when they are completed and followed properly, the assigned zone is considered “clean” according to whatever standard you have in your home. It is easy to just say, “Ok, I know what needs to be done.” or “I will just tell my kids what needs to be done.”
It may seem a little cumbersome, but WRITE THE STEPS DOWN! It will save you a ton of time later and it will serve as a checklist for your kiddos when completing the task independently. Do you want to take it a step further? Snap a photo of your zone when it is clean.
The next step is to gather all of the supplies that are needed to clean each zone. In my house, I find it easier to purchase multiple bottles of the same product so that each zone has its own supplies. This eliminates excuses such as, “I couldn’t do the mirrors because (insert sibling name) had the glass cleaner.” Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you have to have multiple vacuum cleaners. It just means, having a caddy with the necessary wipes, products, etc. in one bin already in the zone will set your kiddos up for success. In addition to the cleaning caddy for each zone, print and laminate the cleaning checklist you already created and place it with your supplies or you can even hang it up in the zone. Did you take a picture? Put it in your caddy or hang it in your zones.
Lastly, determine a cleaning rotation for your house. How often does each zone need to be cleaned? Several times a day? Daily? Weekly? Twice a week? Make the rotation based on what works best for your house. Don’t set yourself up by creating an unrealistic schedule or unrealistic expectations.
Feel free to add in some fun incentives! Allow kids to earn badges or certificates based on their accomplishments. Cleaning the house may sound like a dreaded thing to your kids. It’s important to remind your kids of the reasons they are being asked to keep the house clean, how much you appreciate them for being a part of the process, and celebrate them for mastering each zone.
Here comes the real work!