When I was growing up, my mother took every opportunity she could to put me to work around the house. From a very young age, I was responsible for keeping my room clean, making my bed, doing the dishes, and helping with dinner preparation, and shortly after my eleventh birthday, my mother added laundry, ironing, vacuuming, and toilet scrubbing to the list.
Some would argue this was a great move on my mother’s part. Not only did she raise a gal who was much more independent and self-sufficient than her peers, but she also had a second set of hands to help her out whenever she was feeling overwhelmed. Of course, I understand this point of view a little bit better now that I’m a mom myself, but if I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, I found it really unfair at the time. None of my friends were required to do as much around the house as I was, and I always felt more than a little sorry for myself when I was cooped up at home ironing my school uniforms on Sunday afternoons, and I swore up and down I would never expect the same from my own child.
Of course, that promise sounds great in theory – who doesn’t want to be a rockstar mom who lets her kids watch TV and play video games all day?! – but time has taught me the importance of teaching my daughter responsibility, and I’ve recently started to introduce household chores into our daily routine.
As it turns out, empowering my daughter and giving her more accountability each day has actually strengthened our bond as it gives us an opportunity to spend quality time together, and since I know there are other moms out there who struggle to find ways to get their kids involved around the house without power struggles and temper tantrums, I’m teaming up with the fabulous folks from Sparkle® to share 5 of my best cleaning tips for kids!
1. KEEP IT AGE APPROPRIATE
Before you start soliciting help from your kids around the house, make sure you take some time to brainstorm tasks that are appropriate for their age so you aren’t overwhelming them. There are heaps of different online resources you can refer to when trying to identify age-appropriate chores, but my biggest advice is to choose tasks your kids enjoy doing so they look forward to pitching in. My daughter helps me make the beds each morning, takes charge of our shopping list when we go to the grocery store, cleans up her toys, and is responsible for wiping windex off of our mirrors with paper towel on cleaning days. I purposefully select things we can do together, and she enjoys them so much that she asked Santa for her own broom and mop for Christmas so she can help me out even more. Pretty cute, right?!
2. SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
While it would be great if my daughter could perform her household chores on her own, the reality is that she’s only 4 and still needs my help. And you know what? That’s 100% okay with me. The intention at her age is to get her involved and teach her responsibility, and I know she will be able to do things independently once she’s older. But even when she’s able to do things on her own, I know firsthand how important it is to remember that she’s not me, and that no matter how hard I try to teach her to do things MY way, HER way will likely be different. But DIFFERENT doesn’t mean WRONG, and as long as she’s trying her best, that’s good enough for me.
3. MAKE A LIST
If you struggle to get your kids to take accountability for their chores, a great technique is to put together a chore chart that outlines exactly what’s expected of them each day. It’s the perfect way to get everyone on the same page, and rather than buying a chart, you can get your kids involved and make one yourself! Not only will this allow them to take ownership of the things that are expected of them, but it will also give you an opportunity to discuss which chores they enjoy, find too difficult, and wish they never had to do again!
4. CONSIDER REWARDS
I’m not a huge fan of rewarding behaviors that are expected of my daughter as I find they take away from whatever it is I’m trying to teach her, but not all children are created the same, and if you struggle to get your kids to do things around the house without a power struggle, establishing rewards might work well for you. My suggestion is to keep the rewards small (i.e. a star on a reward chart) and to space them out over time (i.e. ever week or every month) so they aren’t a focal point and don’t lose their effectiveness.
5. MAKE IT FUN!
If I’ve learned anything since I became a mom, it’s the importance of keeping things as fun as possible. Of course, not every situation life throws at us can be turned into a pleasurable experience, but when it comes to housework, I’m all about cranking the tunes to keep things light, and I’m not afraid to have a spur of the moment dance party. I find the happier and more carefree I am, the more interested my little one is in helping out. No one likes a nagging mom who barks orders and slams around the house every Sunday afternoon while she vacuums, so if you want your children to contribute and take some responsibility, go the extra mile to make it a fun experience for them. You won’t be sorry.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text are all mine.