If you are anything like most parents, summertime is a double edge sword! You finally get to spend a little more time with the little ones without worrying about homework and afterschool activities. However, keeping your house sparkling clean is probably a little more difficult (or a lot more difficult!).
One of the easiest ways to master your housecleaning this summer is to enlist your kid’s help. Even little kids can do something to help around the house! A fair warning: it is going to be difficult (even frustrating) in the beginning. The truth is, it is often easier, and faster, to just do the cleanup yourself. Letting your little ones help clean may take a little more time up front, but it will benefit you in the long-term. Teach your kids to clean when they are little and you can shave a few chores off your to-do list as your kids get older.
Wondering where to start? Here are a few guidelines for giving your kids cleaning tasks they can handle. While this list is age based, make sure to consider your child’s personality, some chores may be more difficult or a lot easier depending on their personality and skill level:
Even little ones can help a little bit! By the time your babe hits two and three years old, they can help put toys in a toy box, put books on a shelf, carry clothes to the laundry basket, throw away garbage and grab their own shoes/coat before heading out. You can turn some of these chores into learning games by separating toys by size or color. You may have to lower your expectation of how tidy the playroom should be or spend a little extra time straightening up after them.
Around four and five, kids should be able to put toys away on their own, neatly stack books, help feed the family pet, clean up spills from the table or floor, water plants and straighten up their bed (it’s probably going to be messy, but they should be able to at least straighten out the covers). If you use eco-friendly cleaning solutions, you don’t have to worry about your little ones helping with washing the floor or walls, as the products should be safe for all of your family.
By the time your little one finishes kindergarten they can help collect trash/leaves from the yard, fold towels, empty the dishwasher (keep an eye on them, especially with sharp knifes), fold socks, rake, help make some dinner items (salad, potatoes etc.) and pull weeds.
Around second and third grade, you can enlist your tikes to load the dishwasher, load the washer and/or dryer, dust furniture, sweep the floor, walk pets, cook eggs, help put groceries away and hang or fold their own laundry (yay!)
By the time your little ones hit fourth and fifth grade, you can have them help clean the bathroom, vacuum, clean off the countertops, scrub out the fridge, help prepare meals (think mac and cheese, pancakes and eggs), get the mail, mow the lawn and help clean out the garage. House cleaning at this age requires less supervision.
Age 12 and up, kids should be able to help with most chores around the house, including mopping, changing lightbulbs, washing the car, painting, cooking dinner, washing windows and babysitting.
There is a learning curve for chores around the home, and there may be days you have to ask your kids to go over their chores again. However, every little bit they do to help around the house is a little bit less you have to take care of. Enjoy summer break without the major messes by making chores part of their daily routine!