Have you ever YELLED at your child (or spoken VERY gruffly and sternly) to GO CLEAN THEIR ROOM?
See there? Did you just feel like you got yelled at? Does that make you want to do your best room cleaning? Naw!
I’m guilty! I’ve had a mommy-meltdown a few times when my child’s bedroom floor needed a plow to make a path through the toys.
I wish some of my clients would yell at their kids if it would mean a less cluttered house for me to clean. Just kidding. Sort of.
LIfestyles today are nutso busy. I get it.
Finding time to clean, let alone getting your child to help seems like too much to ask some days.
But doesn’t it feel good to get at least some of the house clean?
Cleaning can be healing. Cutting through clutter and chaos helps bring peace.
I had a sis who loved, loved, loved to clean. Her joy in cleaning spilled over to her little ones. She bought the healthy, good-smelling stuff with essential oils that lift the spirits as you clean. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day was on the top of her list. Personally I love the stuff, too, but tend to go with the lighter scents. I digress!
1.) Handing a little one a healthy cleaner and a microfiber rag as you work is the “Tom Sawyer” Technique. If you’ve never met Tom, well, here’s a brief introduction. Just don’t get lost on YouTube yet. I’ve got more tips for you.
Just watching someone big have fun doing the job works wonders.
My mom was pretty good at this. In fact, I remember a little song she used to sing to me to motivate me to clean. Maybe that’s why I’ve ended up in the cleaning biz for so long?
“Pick ’em up, put ’em away, (2x)
When you’re through with your toys, put ’em away.”
Now, granted, singing this can get monotonous, like Ninety-Nine Bottles of Coke on the Wall.
One of our huge problems is too many toys!
When my little girl acquired over a dozen baby dolls by her fourth birthday, they just lay in a tangled heap on her floor. It looked like baby abuse. Singing “Pick them up” over the baby dolls got ooold.
Yes, she played with them. But not with all dozen at once. So, I put my foot down and sent some baby dolls out for adoption. Life became simpler. Her dolls received better care. ‘Nuff said.
(One caveat: I made the mistake of not asking her. I should’ve asked. I accidentally gave away one of her favorites. Totally rotten mom move. I made her a promise: next time we downsized toys, she could choose. Actually, that has worked pretty well. She’s the best down-sizer in the family right now.)
2.) Give them on-the-job training!
It’s totally unfair to expect a child to walk into their messy, littered room with a thousand toys, books, and papers and know how to create order. That’s like asking them to climb Mount Everest. That is, unless you’ve first created places and a plan for all those toys.
“A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”
Next, children are born messy. Hello! They puke and pee anywhere, anytime, right? Organizing does not come naturally to most children. It’s a skill.
To learn skills, you need tools and training. Skills happens with patient modeling, repetition, and rewards. Setting a timer can help and having a cleaning race might work. High fives and hugs at the end, right? Be positive!
I’ve seen children’s play areas/bedrooms with almost nowhere to put the toys away. Even if you have no money, that’s an easy fix. Go to the department store when they are stocking their shelves. Ask for free boxes.
Label those boxes with big, bold letters or a picture of toys, another for art supplies, legos, etc..
You can even make the boxes pretty by painting them with left-over housepaint or covering them with contact paper.
If you can afford them, bins, baskets, and shelves are your child’s best cleaning friends — yours, too.
I remember collecting small shoe boxes for my little daughter’s drawers. Inside one shoe box went socks. Another held underwear. When things didn’t go in the right places, we dumped the drawer out and sorted together. Eventually, the sock and underwear drawer became tidier and tidier.
For a long time I always did the summer, winter seasonal clothing trade out. She knew extra long-sleeved shirts were stashed on the top shelf of her storage cupboard. This year she surprised me. I was shocked to see she had done the seasonal exchange herself.
3.) Give them a daily, age-appropriate cleaning chore besides cleaning their own room.
Right now my daughter still gags at cleaning toilets. When I travel to other’s houses, sometimes I think the adults gag at cleaning their own toilets. If you need toilet cleaning motivation, this article’s for you!
However, she has learned to clean the cat’s toilet, um, litter box. Why? ‘Cause we struck a bargain. Cat number three could not come live with us unless she pulled her share of cat litter scooping.
Our free half-Siamese cat Zorro has been more than worth the trouble to her. He’s a love. She’s in love. And, shhh…, she’s learning to clean up poop. That’s a life-skill, folks. We all need this skill sooner or later, just sayin’!
Every once in a while she will actually grab the Mrs. Meyers and wipe down some other surfaces.
My child cleaning just for fun, anyone? I can hardly believe my eyes when that happens. I mean, really!
As my mom always encouraged me, “An oak tree doesn’t grow strong in a day.”
Patience and tools, tired momma (or daddy)! A little bit each day goes a long way.
Like to try some Mrs. Meyers Clean Day? The Grove Company has amazing products and their customer service is tip-top, too. I’d love it if you would use my referral link below (first time Grove clients only). You will get a freebie, and I will, too. Getting something for free makes cleaning even more fun!
Happy cleaning with your kids!