How to Teach Good Cleaning Habits

Being a parent means you do it all: the diaper changes, the feedings, the late nights and early mornings, the homework help, the chauffeuring, and for the majority of the time, the cleaning. Kids have a knack for making messes, and usually it’s up to the grown-ups to figure out how to tackle and prevent them. There comes a time, however, when we can get the little ones involved in the cleaning process as well. Read on for our tips on integrating healthy cleaning habits into kids’ lives, as well as age appropriate tasks that they can successfully accomplish.

Let Them Know They’re Helping You

Many kids will simply succumb to completing a chore because they want to help out the grown-ups. Kids who are natural born leaders (usually the oldest child) feel a sense of pride when doing something of similar caliber to their parents and leading by example for their younger siblings. Simple tasks like loading and unloading the dishwasher, setting the table and sweeping the floor are great to assign to kids since these are commonly the tasks they see adults doing.

Try a Point System

Some kids need a bit more motivation to get the job done, but it can be a fun experience for everyone if you turn it into a game. Assign points to certain tasks as you see fit and offer a reward for reaching certain tiers such as a piece of candy, getting to stay up 30 minutes later than usual, or going to get a treat after school. Not only will this teach your kiddos about hard work, it will also give them an incentive to wait for higher-tier items rather than cash in as soon as possible. They will be glad to see that their work is going towards something exciting and you will love getting some things done around the house. It’s a win-win!

Teaching the Value of Possessions and Cleanliness

One of the main reasons we as adults take care of our space and our personal possessions is that we take pride in what have created for ourselves. With kids, however, the roof over their heads and toys on their shelves are typically paid for by mom and dad (or grandma… thanks, grandma!). Kids tend to mirror what they see and hear, so consider explaining why you take certain measures. For example, saying “I make my bed every morning because it’s so comfy and I love how pretty it looks with all of its pillows” while making your bed shows how you value that item and what you do to take care of it. Similarly, you can teach a child that putting toys away in the appropriate place shows how much they love them and enjoy playing with them.

Try to Clean at the Same Time

Along the lines of mirroring actions, kids will also be encouraged to help if they are doing chores alongside mom or dad. Even as adults, it’s annoying to be cleaning the house and then look over to find your spouse munching on chips on the couch. Everyone loves a little help and kids will especially like to see that cleaning is a team effort. If you’re cleaning the kitchen for example, have them jump in to wipe down the countertops or put away dishes (if they can reach of course). Two sets of hands are always better than one. (Plus, it’s great bonding time!)

Age Appropriate Tasks

Sometimes it’s hard to know what your child is capable of when it comes to cleaning, so it’s best to start small and work your way up. For young kids who can walk and talk but aren’t going to school yet, you can have them put away their own toys in the toy chest, put books and movies back on shelves, etc. Elementary school aged kids can do all that and a little more, now being able to handle putting their clothes away in their closets, clearing their dishes at the dining table, setting the dining table, making their bed (to the best of their ability), wiping down counters and some light sweeping and dusting. Older elementary and junior high students can go one step further and load the dishwasher themselves, put dishes away, vacuum and sweep, wipe windows (with supervision) and take out the trash. By the time kids are in high school, they will have a good sense of how chores around the house work and can be more autonomous, especially if they have tasks that are always “theirs”, such as clearing the dinner table.

KIDS ‘N’ PETS knows that messes happen (that’s life!), and we’re here to help clean them up! Even if your child isn’t the one spraying the bottle of our enzymatic cleaners, you can rest assured knowing that they can work with you side-by-side and not be affected by any harsh chemicals or toxins. Plus, stains disappearing right before their eyes will be simply magical to watch!

See more of why other parents love our products here, and happy cleaning!