by Ursula Brantley

Children and teens can spend all day making messes, eating snacks, and having fun like it’s nobody’s business.However, when parents let them know it’s time to stop leaning and start cleaning you can usually hear a pin drop on carpet, or a variety of collective groans.

Although a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of SC Johnson shows that kids are doing more clean-ing now than they did before the pan-demic, most kids would still rather be doing something they enjoy as opposed to scrubbing toilets and folding clothes. Adults understand the importance of keeping a tidy home even if we don’t al-ways enjoy the act of cleaning itself. As for kids, they’d prefer if someone else did the cleaning and that someone is usually mom or dad. The Arm & Hammer company also con-ducted a survey of parents who live with a partner and found that these parents are spending an average of 23 hours and 36 minutes on cleaning and house-work per month. That’s 5 hours and 54 minutes per week of dusting, sweeping, laundry, and the list goes on. Imagine how that time increases for single par-ents and guardians. Kids always want to know the “why” behind everything so it’s important for parents to explain to their kids why it’s vital to keep things clean so that they’ll grasp the importance of not cutting cor-ners during the cleaning process. Some-times children don’t understand that cleanliness cuts down on the presence of harmful germs, food left unattended can attract things like ants, or that un-washed items can begin to smell ripe in no time. Once they learn that bugs, weird smells, or sickness can become factors, they’re more likely to pick up af-ter themselves. 

A great way to get kids excited about cleaning is by making it fun and easy. And it also doesn’t hurt if there is some sort of reward for a job well done! It doesn’t always have to be money. It can be fun stickers, extra screen or outside time, a favorite meal, or a tasty treat like ice cream.

It’s best for children to learn these life skills as early as possible. NBC News reported a study published by the University of Minnesota which found that giving children house-hold chores at an early age “helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” Something as small as picking up their toys after playtime teaches them pride, accountability, and scratches one thing off mom and dad’s to-do list.

Here are some great cleaning hacks for kids of all ages:

👤 Labeling bins and containers are a great way to keep things in order. For younger children who can’t read yet, try using photos as the labels so they’ll always know everything’s proper place. 

👤 Sometimes big messes can be overwhelming, try breaking that big mess down into smaller tasks to help reduce their anxiety and yours. For example, have them start by picking up just their toy cars and then move on to picking up just their balls. You can even break things down by color. For example, start with putting away all the red toys and then move on to only the blue toys.

👤 If you have more than one child, you can turn cleaning into a friendly competition. For example, everyone can get ice cream if they clean properly and don’t cut corners, but the child/group that finishes first gets an extra scoop or they get to pick the movie for movie time. 

👤 Let them choose some music they enjoy and have that playing in the background as they clean up. Everyone loves dancing and it helps the time go by quickly.

👤 If they are too young to handle cleaning products, allow them to use baby wipes or cleaning wipes to tackle things like counters, chairs, window seals, television remotes, or doorknobs.

👤 Doing laundry takes more steps than some realize. Have them help with the easy parts like sorting the colors and whites, taking the clothes out of the dryer, matching socks, or folding small towels.

kids cleaning hacks