Top 3 Tips For Spring Cleaning With KidsDid you know that doing chores in childhood has been linked to being a more successful adult? If you think about it, it makes sense because chores are a great way for kids to build skills like organizing, decluttering and of course cleaning. It also helps them feel important as a contributing family member and learn about the value and importance of teamwork. Regular chores like cleaning can help them develop their work ethic and sense of responsibility – not to mention ease the burden on you! Here’s how we think about spring cleaning with kids.
1. Don’t Compromise On SafetyWhen it comes to cleaning products, it’s even more important to ensure children aren’t coming into contact with harmful chemicals and toxins that are common in conventional household cleaners. This is in part due to their rapidly developing bodies and smaller size, and exposure to these under-regulated chemicals. That’s not a green light for adults to use them, though – a recent study found that exposure to the chemicals in cleaning products is as harmful to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. For more great info, here are our chemical-free cleaning product guides and the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, an in-depth resource on this topic.
2. Buy In That It’s Valuable For Kids to Clean!It’s tempting to just swoop in and handle things for kids and that robs them of the opportunity to learn. Remember, kids often do like cleaning! Even the littlest children enjoy learning practical life skills like folding, sweeping, and dusting. That’s why many learning philosophies (like Montessori) include practical life areas in the classroom. Cleaning teaches independence, responsibility, and appreciation for the effort that goes into keeping a home clean and healthy for your family.
3. Make It Age-AppropriateMaking kids do chores they’re not developmentally ready for is only going to lead to frustration, but there are so many ways for kids to get in on the action in a way that’s appropriate to their age. Here are some of the top chores and how different age groups can work together to achieve them.
Doing Laundry with…
- Toddlers: put clothes in their hamper, bring them to the laundry room, put clean clothes away.
- Preschoolers: match socks, fold simple things like dish towels and bath towels.
- Elementary+: sort laundry by color, spot treat stains, use the washer and dryer, hang clothes to air dry, and maybe even put the clothes away (read: total laundry independence!).
Helping in the Kitchen with…
- Toddlers: wipe down fridge doors
- Preschoolers: set the table, clear their plates, help unload groceries, put away silverware and kitchen utensils
- Elementary+: load and unload the dishwasher, help with meal prep, wipe down counters, wash and dry dishes by hand, wipe cabinet and drawer pulls, and oven knobs.
Cleaning Floors + More with…
- Toddlers and Preschool: make beds, clean up toys into bins, practice sweeping
- Preschoolers: water plants, feed pets, clean their rooms, wipe windows and dust surfaces, wipe down baseboards
- Elementary+: refill coffee maker and water pitchers, weed in the garden, mopping and sweeping