Exploit children’s adoration for splash containers and Swiffer dusters—and how much closer to the floor they are than you—to have them offer you some assistance with cleaning the house.
“Moms always sit around and dream about cleaning help,” says Carol Paul, author of Team Clean: The Ultimate Family Clean-Up-The-House Formula. “‘I wish I could have a maid who could be here all the time to help me or, at least, come in once a week.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, you have these people who live in your house with you; they’re here every day. Why don’t you just figure out a way to use them?’ Kids want to help.”
Paul and her family began Team Clean 15 years back, wearing their cleaning “outfits” (dirty garments) and burning through 45 minutes each Thursday evening cleaning the house as a family—they’ve never missed one! Presently, despite the fact that her four children are adults living out of the house, regardless they return home to clean their guardians’ home once every week.
“It became like a family tradition,” she says. “It’s the one night a week we ordered out for dinner and sat around and watched a TV show together. It was family night at the end.”
To begin your own particular Team Clean, Paul proposes thinking of a rundown of what should be done once every week, breaking it into occupations kids can do, doling out maybe a couple of employments to every relative, and afterward showing them how to do it. “Whatever you have them doing, teach the job correctly the first time,” she says. “Have patience with them and give it to them in two or three short, simple steps.”
“It’s all right to relax your standards, too,” Paul adds. “Do you want your kid to end up helping you for the rest of his life? Then make the standards right for his age instead of being so particular that you’re not going to get any help at all, ever. Praise them for doing a good job.”
Try to do Team Clean the same day and time each week, Paul suggests. “Kids need to know what’s coming,” she says. “Don’t just spring it on them because you’re in the mood to clean—and don’t have a never-ending to-do list.”
Paul leans towards booking Team Clean for a weekday night to free up weekends and maintain a critical distance from the desire to add to the rundown of things to be refined.
“You’re trying to get help, but you’re also doing such a good thing for your kid at the same time,” she says. “You want to create a family tradition, you want to teach life lessons, and you wish to build confidence in your child.”
We’ve incorporated a rundown of Team Clean-affirmed employments that exploit children’s adoration for splash containers and dusters—and how much closer to the floor they are than you—to motivate them to offer you some assistance with cleaning the house.
1.Vacuum the floors
“We call the non-rug vacuumer the ‘floor vac’ and have them use a lightweight commercial shop vac because then even 2- or 3-year-olds can just go to town on any non-rug floor,” Paul says. “We’ll say, ‘Try to suck up everything you can.’ Just help them put on the suitable attachment that won’t scratch the floor.”
“We make a different person, usually a little bit older kid, the ‘rug vac,,'” Paul says. “Say, ‘You know what, throw your headphones on, listen to music and just vacuum all the carpets.’ Teenagers always want that job.”
2.Mop the floors
“I always think spray bottles and kids,” Paul says. “We give kids spray bottles full of the right solution and rags, and they’ll go to town on bathroom floors, laundry room floors, kitchen floors— any floor that’s a non-rug surface.”
3.Empty trash cans and replace the bags
“Tuck new trash bags into their waistbands, so they have new ones to put in as they take out the old ones full of garbage,” Paul says. “They think it’s fun, running around like Superman with those bags flapping around their waists.”
4.Clean the bathrooms
“Kids are willing to spray and wipe down the toilets,” Paul says. “Give them a little bottle, and they’ll spray the whole toilet inside and out, and then just wipe it down. Then use the toilet brush, and they’re done.”
“We even have the children do sinks with spray bottles and spray it down,” Paul says. “We divide up our bathrooms where one kid does toilets, sinks, and mirrors, and then someone else does the floors, shelves, and showers. I try to make it that people only touch one tool.”
5.Wipe down the kitchen chairs, table and counters
“We give them their bucket—sometimes a beach bucket—with a wet rag and hot water,” Paul says. “They think it’s so cool because they have beach buckets!”
6.Help do the laundry
When you think about it, doing the laundry is a series of simple tasks that together combine into one big job, so Paul suggests breaking up the task into different responsibilities.
“Give one kid a colored laundry basket and white laundry basket and ask them to sort by color, or ask another one to strip the beds and towel racks and bring all the lines to the laundry room,” she says. “Give another kid a little buzzer or timer and have it be his job to know when the washer is done and move the load to the dryer.”
7.Use dusters and squeegees
Kids love using tools like Swiffers and feather dusters for tables and shelves and squeegees for windows and mirrors.
“Tools can be fun,” Paul says. “I think kids like them because it’s like a toy, and they want to mimic a grown up.”
“With little kids, we like to have them refill all the toilet papers and put the spare on the back of the bathroom, or wherever the spares go or refill all the soap dispensers in the bathroom,” Paul says.
9.Clean those overlooked places
Sterilizing doorknobs and light switches, wiping down baseboards and small scale vacuuming under furniture are things that absolutely should be done, yet once in a while make it on a bustling mother’s cleaning must-do list.
“Think about little things like that that you just don’t do, but a kid would have no problem doing,” Paul says.
10.Folding towels, rags and even their clothes
“We would just throw a basket of laundry right in front of them,” she says, “and say, ‘Hey, you get to watch a TV show if you fold a little laundry,’ and they’ll just start folding.”