Spring into Cleaning with your Kids
Expert Tips on Involving and Engaging Children in Spring Cleaning
Each year, parents pull out their rubber gloves and arm themselves with boxes, cleaners and dusters as they prepare for the battle that is spring cleaning. Along with this annual ritual also comes the challenge of getting children to lend a hand in the process – and furthermore, getting them to want to help.
Children of all ages can benefit from family spring cleaning, as they learn organizational skills and teamwork. With the season nearing, parents can ease the process by ensuring tasks are age-appropriate and manageable for their little helpers.
“When tackling spring cleaning with children, parents often assign children tasks that are overwhelming for their age or too general for them to understand how to break it all down to accomplish the task,” said Laura Olson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy, a national child care and education franchisor. “The key for parents is to focus on making tasks age-appropriate and engaging so that children’s activities are manageable and help them feel that they are making a positive impact in the overall process.”
Olson recommends the following tips for parents to involve children in spring cleaning:
- When assigning a project to a young child, try giving him small, specific projects one at a time until the overall goal is met. For example, rather than just asking a child to clean his room, ask him first to pick up the blocks he sees on the floor or to make sure all the pieces of a puzzle are in its box.
- Spread out projects. If you ask your child to finish cleaning the toy room in one afternoon, be sure it is a reasonable request for her age. If not, try setting goals for various sections of the room over a few days’ span.
- Try not to expect your child to clean when you’re not there. Instead of just pointing out where items go, work with him to explain where each item is stored and why. Help him learn how to organize his belongings.
- Use cleaning projects as opportunities for positive reinforcement. When a job is complete, encourage and congratulate your child with hugs and compliments to help her want to do more. As tempting as it might be, try to avoid offering material rewards so that your child learns to help because she is part of the family, not because she might get a treat for doing it.
- When throwing out old items, give your child freedom to choose what he wants to keep. Rather than picking the toys or clothes to get rid of, ask your child to pick the five he wants to save. If you are donating items to an organization or other family members, explain whom the items are going to and how your child’s items are going to help those people.
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About Kiddie Academy®For more than 29 years, Kiddie Academy® has been a leader in education-based child care. The company serves families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities and techniques help prepare children for life. Kiddie Academy is using the globally recognized AdvancED accreditation system, signifying its commitment to quality education and the highest standards in child care. Kiddie Academy is an official partner of the nonprofit organization, First Book, and is dedicated to supporting children’s literacy. For more information, visit www.kiddieacademy.com.