The weather’s getting warmer, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming – and you’re likely holding a mile-long spring cleaning list. Spring cleaning holds many benefits. If you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, ridding the house of lingering dust, mold and pollen can bring some relief. Spring cleaning reduces the bacteria you live with, resulting in a healthier environment. Plus, after a season of family gatherings, indoor activities, holiday gifts and school projects, you’re probably craving a little fresher air and open space inside your home.
But should you have to tackle these projects alone?
No! Most children can handle some extra chores, and the benefits of spring cleaning for kids include more family time, increased physical activity and the opportunity to learn a few new skills. Plus, spring cleaning with kids can make jobs that seem tedious faster and more fun -- so get ready to dole out the (age-appropriate) duties.
Here are some inspiring ideas for cleaning with kids:
- Let them choose their chores. If your spring cleaning crew includes more than one child, plus parent participants, write jobs on index cards or paper, fold them and ask everyone to choose from a hat or jar. Or, create a chore wheel and spin for your task. Random selection cuts down on arguments.
- Divide and conquer. If you’re laundering and storing winter clothes, assign someone to transfer clothes from the washer to dryer to table or bed, another to fold, and another to pack them neatly in boxes or tubs. If you’re cleaning a living room or bedroom, ask your oldest to vacuum while younger siblings put away toys or dust furniture and window sills.
- Tackle one at a time. Trying to clean the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms simultaneously is sure to cause undue stress among your broom-wielding brood. Take spring cleaning one space at a time before you move on to another. Kids will enjoy seeing the results of their hard work.
- Inspire kindness. If your house is overflowing with new clothes or toys, talk to your kids about donating their old items to less fortunate children. Most will be glad to know they’re helping someone their own age.
- Add a soundtrack. Play upbeat music to keep the kids motivated. Let each child pick a song, and see how much faster the scrubbing, polishing and organizing seems to go.
- Reward their efforts. When the work is done, you’ll all be tired but satisfied. Celebrate your clean sweep with a pizza night, family movie or other fun activity.