Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tuesday's Tips: Doing housework with kids

One of my first few posts was about our cleaning schedule.  My house still often looks like a mess, but we live at home and we are home all day, so it makes sense.  Today I'd like to share some ideas to incorporate your kids in the cleaning process, teach them a lot, and still get the housework done (sort of).  I know there are those days when you need to just get it done, but for daily cleaning, why not make it an activity to do with the kids.

Relax.  Think for the cleaning as the activity, instead of playing with play dough or lego, you are cleaning. You children will be learning some practical life skills, team work, sorting, fine motor, and having fun.

Buy some child size cleaning supplies.  We cut the handle off a broom, shortened a swiffer, bought extra sponges, spray bottles, and dustpan.  We also have a toy vacuum.

Demonstrate and allow your child to help.  I used to get frustrated while cleaning because TJ was making more of a mess.  Now that I show him how to to things and let him practice I see some improvements.  He is getting better and using the dustpan.  He enjoys sorting cutlery, his favourite thing is to push the laundry basket to the laundry room and unload the washer!  TJ is also a bit nervous of the vacuum.  I allow him to turn it on and off which he likes, then he runs out of my way.

Be safe.  Try using homemade cleaners with baking soda and vinegar.  Just allow your child to use water instead of cleaners.  Watch them near water.  TJ is our dishes rinser.  He always loves to help with the dishes but I don't want him to burn himself with the water.

Don't forget about the baby.  I try to do some cleaning while MJ is sleeping because it is just easier with less people to coordinate.  When MJ is around I often put him in the carrier and let him come along.  I have several styles, I prefer to put him on my back for housework.  MJ likes to watch what we are doing and he is happy to be close to me.  On the weekend MJ got at the broom and was dragging it around the kitchen.  Although he can only crawl, he was actually trying to sweep.

Be creative.  I made a game of matching cutlery and socks for TJ.  He thinks it is fun.  Play pretend is fun too.  TJ like to be a loader, crane or bulldozer to help me.  Outdoors he uses his wagon to pick up yard waste for me.

How are you involving you kids in the housework?

Check out Tackle-it-Tuesday over at the Ultimate Blog Party! I linked up.  Have you?


  1. I found you from UBP11 and really like your blog! :) My 4 and 7 year old fight over who gets to vacuum! Strange, huh? I am a new google friend follower as well. Check out my blog too at http://www.smartervalues.com

  2. I found you through Tackle It Tuesday and I definitely involve my four kids in cleaning! I will often tell people my house often looks like a 10 and 7 year old cleaned it and then I stop and say "oh, that's right. It's because they did!" :) My 7 year old's favorite chore is bathrooms (b/c he is odd like that) and he does a very impressive job for his age. I commend him and celebrate his job and show him more techniques to do the job and let him try them out. As a result, he is a pro at it now! Oh - and I'm following you now. Would love to have you follow me back (Organizing Amid Chaos from my profile page).

  3. Found you from Tackle it Tuesday (mine is up too) and I don't think my house would be clean without the help of my 4 older kiddos, I either wear the baby or he helps by being calm while I work. My 6 year old is odd too, I tell him "if you clean your room, I will let you vacuum it" and 8 times out of 10 it works!