Firstly, don’t it all by yourself. But who can help? Asking your child is a good place to start, but they’ll probably take some convincing.
The obvious way is to try rewards. An extra treat after dinner, more playtime tomorrow, or even a slightly later bedtime. This is a good first step, but after a while kids get bored unless you offer a bigger and better reward, so making it fun and enjoyable might keep them interested and maybe eventually get them to start cleaning of their own accord.
Here are three ways to get you started, some of this advice depends on your child’s age, so take as little or as much as you need, adapting as you see fit.
Make it a game (but don’t go overboard with prizes)
A simple way to get kids cleaning is to make it fun. Games are usually a clever way to get kids to do things. Especially when it’s something tedious like cleaning.
- Make it a race. Do it with them or compete against the clock then give them a treat after they finish. For smaller kids, a reward chart can work wonders too.
- Start small. Begin by encouraging them to put their clothes away at the end of the day. And gradually build up to asking them to help with the washing up.
- Don’t be afraid to get creative. You could use their toys to make up a story. Create an elaborate scheme to exterminate the nasty, evil, dirty monster that keeps making the house messy. It could be an ongoing saga to be completed each night after dinner.
After a while, though, they might lose interest (especially if video games come along). This is where you start to talk about altruism.
The importance of helping others
Cleaning should not be viewed as a form of punishment. If it is, kids start to avoid it. Most of us don’t want to clean, but things get a little icky after a few days.
To start, tell kids how helpful they are to mummy and daddy when they clean. This teaches them the importance of generosity. Plus, they’ll be overjoyed knowing they’ve made you happy.
This quickly becomes a positive feedback loop. The more they clean, the more they know they’re doing something important and helpful. You also become a super proud parent. Seeing your child focus on helping others is a great sign they’re off to a positive start in life.
You can also mention that cleaning is not only making you happy, it’s keeping everyone healthy too. I’m sure you’ve heard about how easy germs spread throughout the house. While some of the advice may be exaggerated, it’s still a clever idea to keep things clean.
One major benefit is air quality. You’ve all been in damp, mouldy rooms before. Eek. Not nice. Regular cleaning helps stop nasty air particles moving around the home, so everyone breathes easier. Your baby could literally save your breath.
Kids also like to feel in charge. So, tell them cleaning’s a big responsibility—it’s a chance for them to feel like a grown-up. This shows trust. Your willingness to put them in charge of something at an early age does wonders for their confidence.
And confidence may be further boosted when they start to realise the magical secret of cleaning.
An orderly room creates a productive and healthy life
A clean and tidy home might be crucial to your kids’ success in school and life.
It’s easier to find stuff, think clearly and feel a real sense of accomplishment. It’s also a great feeling to know that, even if you had a rubbish day, you still have a clean and calm environment to go home to.
Numerous studies have highlighted the mental and physical benefits of cleaning. Some were showcased in Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’. Once your kids begin to realise this, you may never have to ask them to clean again. They’ll just do it. This is true intrinsic motivation. It may take a few years, but it’s certainly worth putting the work in.
You could help them realise sooner with little hints and nudges every so often. Asking questions, like ‘All clean now; it looks nice doesn’t it?’ can make a big difference. They may also begin to see cleaning as something calming and therapeutic. Ridding the house of grime, stickiness and dirt is a fantastic stress-reliever.
And the best part is: they can be part of the solution—even if they’re part of the cause.
Nimble makes the UK’s first and only child-friendly cleaning products. See their website to explore and purchase their award-winning products including Milk Buster (baby bottle cleaner), Sticky Stopper (surface cleaner), and Laundry Lover (laundry detergent).
All Nimble products are made in the UK and use plant-based cleaning ingredients to keep your child safe and the environment happy.