Kids & Housecleaning: Make A Clean Start

You’ve tried avoiding it, ignoring it, and hiding it, but in the end there is no getting away from housework. Do not despair -- with a few simple ideas you can get your whole family involved, making it easier for you and teaching your kids valuable skills at the same time. Children of almost any age can help out to their ability, and since very young children like to imitate their parents, there is no better time to start than now.





It’s all about attitude.

The best way to get your kids interested in cleaning is to make it appear pleasant. Take on the attitude that cleaning isn’t drudgery. After all, if you’ve got to do it anyway, you owe it to yourself to make it enjoyable. Start by looking at the way your clean. Are you being efficient? Could you do it faster and better? Adopt speed cleaning rules, like working clockwise around the room once, cleaning from top to bottom and from back to front as you go, eliminating fitful stops and starts and countless trips back and forth. A full list of speed cleaning rules can be found at

Get them moving.

Children can’t stay still, and cleaning is great for getting them up and going. Put on some funky music. Let your kids push the vacuum around even though it would be faster if you did it yourself. Give them a feather duster and let them dance through the house with it, dusting as they go. Make up cleaning songs as you go. Cleaning time should be fun time. And when you are done, treat yourself and your little helpers to something special like a walk to the ice cream store or a trip to the playground.

Keep it simple.

Make picking up as easy as possible. Keep the house well organized and supply lots of places to put things. Walk through your house to find trouble spots. Usually there are key areas where stuff piles up consistently. Ask yourself, "What could be done to make it simpler to put those things away?" Do I need to add wall hooks to put jackets on that are kid height? Would it help to have baskets at the front and back doors to throw mittens into? Take a look at the areas in which your family spends the most time. These areas should have lots of places to tuck things away.

Give them responsibility.

Teach your children that it takes the least amount of effort to put things away properly the first time. After they use something, it's their responsibility to put it away. When putting things away becomes second nature, it no longer seems a chore. It takes patience and perseverance for you to reinforce this behavior, but it is well worth it in the long run. Children want to learn. The competence you hope your children will have as adults starts with learning and acquiring skills when they are young.

Dress up for the occasion.

Like any job having the right tools help increase speed and efficiency. Use a cleaning apron that can hold the tools you need and eliminate back tracking, then get one for each of the kids. "I purchased an apron from the Clean Team, and without any encouragement the kids asked for one. I ordered pint size different colored aprons for each of them and gave them feather dusters and little whiskbrooms. They don’t actually get much clean, but they sure make it fun and they actually want to help," says Lee, a Clean Team customer and mother of a two- and five-year-old.