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House Cleaning Lessons: How to Get Your Child Involved

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Getting your kids to help you around the house with chores is a tough job in and of itself, but sometimes there are a few things you can do to make the proposition more palatable for everyone involved.

Whether you need help with weekly tasks or more intensive cleaning work, these tips will help you get your children enthusiastic about helping out around the house.

One of the best habits you can establish early on is to get your child to maintain her own space. This means cleaning up toys and keeping things tidy. The earlier you start the better, although perhaps expecting really little ones to comprehend what you’re trying to teach them might be a stretch.

Another thing is to explain why you clean your house to your child. This means health benefits of a clean space, the need to keep things organized, and how important it is to maintain clean habits.

Don’t try to trick your kids into cleaning or bribe them with an allowance. After all, one day they will have to clean up after themselves and they won’t receive any benefit outside of a job well done. They need to learn this sentiment early.

A third tip is to turn cleaning into a game. Make it fun. Whether it is cleaning house ducts or storing away the winter clothing, make it fun. If you have multiple children, make it a safe competition to see who gets it done the fastest. Creativity and instilling a competitive spirit among your children will provide benefits beyond just cleaning house and could help serve them in life as they play sports, strive academically, and even later, go for jobs. Make your child a go-getter by making life fun, even in its mundane moments.

Fourth, if you do choose to make cleaning a task-reward process, follow through on what you promise your children. Don’t withhold promised allowance or forget you said you would do something. Stick to your word. If you don’t want to pay them, then don’t pretend you will.

The fifth piece of advice is to list the chores and expectations for each action. Don’t go by vague notions such as memory. Write everything down and, if you have multiple kids, rotate the chores among them. Let someone do something different every week. Outside of maintaining their own spaces, keeping the chores fresh keeps them engaged and helps them become experts at all sorts of different household tasks.

And finally, if the kids fail to do what you need them to do (such as the aforementioned cleaning house ducts) then there has to be consequences for not doing it. While we don’t advocate rewards for doing maintenance tasks, we do think there should be consequences for not following through on your obligations. Again, cleaning house ducts is less about the task than it is doing what you said you would do. Follow through is a huge part of life, and establishing this habit early on is good for both parties.

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