I cannot lie and say that Cassidy cleans up after herself all of the time, so please don’t get the wrong impression. What I can do is tell you a few tactics that have been successful. You will need to assess them and decide if they are age appropriate for your child, but be creative – we will talk about ways you can modify the task if need be.
First I want to give you an example of a way that we have failed in the past. When Cassidy was 3.5 we decided to give her a big girl bedroom. You can see the room transformation here. This meant a larger bed, a comfy reading area and a vanity where she could play dress up. While the room was beautiful, it didn’t leave much space for toys. Quickly toys were all over the house and it became chaotic. There was nowhere to put anything. That led us to creating a playroom in our additional bedroom, you can see that project here. Unfortunately, that room allowed for way more toys but didn’t solve the clean up problem.
Give Each Item a Home
I decided to invest in a better organization system from IKEA, and it’s worked wonders. We designated each bin for different types of toys and helped her learn the system. Helping Cassidy identify where each item belongs makes a huge task seem much easier to her. It also helps us to identify what toys she has and doesn’t have and if something is missing. My favorite part is that it gets all of the items off of the floor and makes bringing toys into different rooms much easier – we just grab a bin.
For the littles, you might start by labeling bins with a photo so they can associate the item to the storage. When they get older you can put labels on the bins. It won’t happen immediately, but with repetition they will get the hang of it.
Be Creative and Make It Fun
Im 31 and cleaning has never been fun for me. I’m not afraid to say it, I hate cleaning. But in order to get Cassidy on board is to come up with clever ways to clean. Most of the time, turning it into a game is the easiest way.
- Set a timer for 5-10-15 minutes and race against the clock. You can either assist or have them go at it solo.
- Color Code items! Order your books in rainbow order, color code their closet and/or shoes.
- Turn on a playlist of their favorite soundtracks and have a cleaning dance party.
- Create a checklist with a prize at the end.
Don’t have huge expectations for this. They might not finish the task without help or within a certain time frame. The important part is that they participate. It once took Cassidy all day to straighten up her playroom. She needed direction on which tasks to tackle in which order. It can be frustrating but she didn’t give up, so that’s a win to me!
Monkey See Monkey Do
I mentioned previously, I hate to clean. But I get much better feedback when I assist with cleaning or clean at the same time as Cassidy. The “do as I say, not as I do”, really doesn’t work. It’s really important to model the behavior that you are trying to instill. So, this can look like putting dirty cups or plates in the sink. Bringing my shoes into the closet in the evening. Putting my dirty clothes in the hamper. Make it about teamwork, kids are super curious, so if you let them assist you doing things they are more likely to participate willingly.
For your little ones, maybe it’s helping load the dryer or put away the groceries. Advanced might be vacuuming, wiping down a surface (without chemicals), hanging up clothes etc.
The most important part of this method is developing a routine. We want cleaning and being self sufficient to become second nature. It teaches responsibility and builds up their character. I am curious to hear your strategies and opinions on chores!
Spring Cleaning Blogs
I’ve connected with some amazing bloggers to share some Spring Cleaning Tips with you! Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing!
Krystalyn – Kitchen Spring Cleaning | Useful Purchases for a New Homestyle
Lexie – Easy Spring Cleaning Checklist