While I like having a clean house, doing what it takes to make it that way is not something I always want to tackle! However, housecleaning is one of those necessary skills we can begin teaching our children while they’re young. Here are a few tips that might be helpful as they learn how to clean the house.
1. Let them work alongside you. When our daughters were young, they thought it was great fun to “help” Mommy. If your children are like that, encourage them as much as possible. Very little ones can help dust, empty small trashcans, and wipe down counters. Even though they’re older now, our girls still like it best if we work on a cleaning project together.
2. Demonstrate how a job should be done. Before assigning them a chore for the first time, show them how to do it (more than once, if necessary), then check to see that it was done correctly. Praise their efforts and be patient with their attempts to do it themselves.
3. Choose a specific area for which they are responsible. Keeping their own space(s) clean often works well. At twelve and ten, our girls are responsible for their bedroom, the playroom/schoolroom, and their bathroom.
4. Make it as much fun as possible. Play music while you’re working; listen to audio books or recordings like Adventures in Odyssey (though sometimes I find that we’re stopping to listen instead of continuing to work!); set a timer and see if you can finish the chores in the allotted time; or, for a larger task, plan for a special treat at the end.
5. Keep the focus on serving others. As we maintain a neat home environment, we are blessing our family as well as any guests who may visit.
What other ideas do you have for teaching our children how to help with the housecleaning?