Today has been a crazy day. Full of errands to run, trips in and our of town for various children, and things I needed to get done at home. And at the top of today’s long list was written ‘CLEAN UP!’
We are having a small visitor this evening, a visitor who is still crawling so we needed to pick up all the tiny toys, vaccum and wash the floors.
None of these tasks excited my big boy. He wanted to “Do something… something fun!”
I didn’t have time for ‘fun’ this morning and after I said no to painting, and no to lego and no to ‘everything’ Morgan sat pouting on the couch and then he said…
“Well I could help you clean up. That’s kinda fun”
Light bulb moment… surely there were fun ways to help with cleaning up??
Race Against the Clock
My kids love a bit of a challenge, so setting the timer of my phone and challenging them to clean the floor before it goes off is always fun! My wise friend Shae from Free Range in Suburbia taught me to let the kids pick the noise/music that plays when the timer goes off which adds even more fun!
Play the Colour Game.
Add a bit more complexity to the timed challenge and play the colour game. Give each child a container and asign then a colour. They have to pick up as many things of that colour before the timer goes off!
Let them Wash the Dishes
A small amount of warm soapy water in the sink and even my toddler has a good go at washing the non-breakable dishes. From around 3 and a half my kids have all helped wash the dishes and managed breakables without incident. But I suggest you do this before you wash the floor because there always seems to be a little extra water around when they are done.
Let them Mop!
For some reason all my kids love to mop the floor. When the girls are home there is usually an argument over who gets to mop first and how much floor everyone gets to clean. I think the thing that makes it fun is that we have one of those Rubbermaid reveal mops (I was not paid to write about this today but a long long time ago I was given one to review, you can read about it here.). The lure of being able to pull the trigger and squirt water over the floor then swish the mop around seems to cloud the fact that they are actually cleaning. And I’ve discovered that all my big kids can mop the floor just as well as I can!
Do it while Dancing!
If all else fails put on some loud music and dance while you clean. My kids either join in or at least have fun laughing at me!
Ok so maybe cleaning up will never really be fun, and I may have conned my big boy just a little bit… But at least it’s not so boring when you entice the kids to join in, and you are teaching them valuable life skills at the same time. One day, someone will be very happy when they are living with my boy who loves to cook and wash the floors!
Have you got any great tips for encouraging your kids to help clean up? How do you make it fun?