Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Getting Kids to Clean

At what age does cleaning stop being fun? Right now it’s pretty sweet having kids who think cleaning is a game. Last night they were fighting over who got to help wash the dishes. So I set them both up at the sink and I just dried and put things away. I can see a future where they are doing the dishes by themselves while I’m having a drink on the porch (wouldn’t that be nice?). But by that age they will probably be uninterested in helping and they will be moaning the whole time.
Until then, I’m going to take advantage of their desire to help with cleaning.

I also have to put my perfectionism aside and let them help the best way they can. They don’t always get things as clean as I’d like, but really I get most annoyed when they don’t do things exactly the way I do it. I find myself thinking it would be easier to just do it myself. But that doesn’t help them learn. I can teach them the alphabet, but if I don’t teach them life skills they aren’t going to be functioning adults. So, if I want their help I need to resist criticizing and just add some gentle guidance.

I can also try to make it as fun as possible. I don’t love to clean – in fact I usually try to avoid it. But if I can make it fun for the kids, it is also more fun for me. Last week we tried washing the floor with socks on our feet and playing slip-n-slide. They had so much fun that they have been asking me everyday to do it again.
Yes, we will be doing this again!

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