6 Hacks for Spring Cleaning with Kids
How do you get Spring Cleaning done with kids?
Did Summer, Fall and Winter already come and go? When you are raising kids and running a household, the time seems to fly by! Here we are again welcoming a brand-new Spring season into our lives, our social calendars and our homes… Although we get our weekly (okay, maybe monthly) cleaning done throughout the year, Spring is the best time to completely freshen up and reorganize your home. Giving yourself and your family a clutter-free and clean space will allow mental and emotional clarity in the new season. Spring Cleaning should not be a one-man job when you live in a busy household – get the kids involved, too!
Since last Spring, your home has probably seen its fair share of messy memories and all the exciting chaos that come with raising kids. Throughout holidays, sporting seasons, school projects and just in everyday life, we are constantly bringing stuff, people and germs in and out of our homes. While we will keep the memories stored, we can say goodbye to the dust! It’s important to involve our little and growing ones and teach them the value of taking care of our space and our possessions. Spring is all about renewal and beginnings, so apply those same concepts to your home!
Here are our 6 helpful hacks for Spring Cleaning with kids:
- Keep your energy lifted.
- Make a supply kit.
- Take your time.
- Create memory + storage boxes.
- Build their confidence.
- Reward hard work.
Spring Cleaning… with kids. Is this even a thing? The answer is YES and it’s not as daunting as it may sound.
The first step is to approach this idea with an open mind and with an energetic perspective! Kids will pick up on your energy – if they sense that this will be dreadful, they will act that way! Think positively and pass that mindset to your kids. When you’re ready to tackle Spring Cleaning in your home, you’ll want to create a list of all the tasks and rooms that need attention. You don’t need the kids for this part, although it can be funny hearing what they think “needs” cleaning!
If there are things that aren’t kid-friendly, like areas that require hard chemicals, heavy-lifting or sharp tools, circle those on your list and save for another day when the kids are occupied elsewhere (or for your partner to do)! When things are on paper and out of your head, it’s much easier to keep track and manage your work load. Let’s do this!
1. Keep your energy lifted.
Children will pick up on your energy! From the get-go, refer to this whole “Spring Cleaning” thing as an opportunity to have fun together… and possibly as a chance to earn something (a fun day-trip, a new toy or movie, whatever you think is appropriate)! If kids think of Spring Cleaning as a group activity rather than a chore, it can keep the mood positive throughout the experience. Before you even pick up a towel, turn on some upbeat music! Something that gets the kids excited but not something totally distracting. An ideal playlist would be a soundtrack from a favorite movie!
Encourage dancing while they clean, singing along to the words, and even keep them on their toes with games like “Freeze!” or “Name that movie”. Create obstacle cleaning courses or races, and keep tally of “points” while you clean. If you want to keep the kids engaged and entertained without cranking up the tunes, try listening to an adventurous audio book! You can even allow 10-15 minute breaks to play outside or watch TV if you feel the motivation dying out.
2. Make a supply kit for each child.
Visit your local dollar store, or reuse an old container around your home, and create a cleaning supply tool kit for your kids! Giving your child a sense of ownership can empower them to get tasks completed. This is also a great tip if your children have some troubles sharing with each other. This way, each kid can have their own special cleaning box and feel in charge of their work. You can even assign a certain colored towel to each child to keep things in order.
Depending on your child’s age, ability or assigned cleaning area, you can help them fill the kit with the necessary items. You can even allow the kids to decorate their kits, or spend an afternoon creating DIY and kid-safe cleaning supplies and sprays. Reuse old spray bottles and fill your cleaning kits with reusable cotton cloths to save on plastic products and paper towels! You will eliminate waste and can toss the towels in the wash for next time. Spring Cleaning does not have to cost you a lot! These kid-friendly cleaning kits can save you both time and money.
3. Take your time.
Everything does not have to be done in one day or one weekend. In fact, the more you try to squeeze in, the more stress you squeeze in! If Spring Cleaning takes all month, so be it. Give yourself and your kids a realistic goal. It is important to teach your children to do something well even if it takes a bit longer than rushing through and not giving your best.
Take the steps to plan and divide your time wisely. Split your home into small sections as this makes goals easier to reach for children (adding to their confidence in Hack #5)! You can even split your home into levels and tackle one level per week. While your overall timeline can be fairly loose, you will still want to set some structure for each task. Guide your kids by giving a suggested minute count for every task. For example, put “5 minutes” next to “Clean the Toilet”. This will ensure kids are applying ample time to certain tasks and not rushing through but will also help you keep them on track.
Especially if they have been alone “cleaning” in their bedroom for over 30 minutes… timeframe guidelines can help things move along without being overbearing. And don’t forget… don’t stress about what does not get completed!
4. Create memory boxes and attractive storage boxes.
Spring Cleaning is all about getting your home ready for another exciting year. It is a time to rid your home of the unwanted dirt, dust and assorted items that have compiled over the last twelve months. However, it’s also a time to reflect on all the great moments of learning, sharing and growing.
While it may be easier to toss everything in a bin, label it with a Sharpie and tuck it away, it is important to be mindful of what you are keeping and how it is being stored or presented. Especially in the case of kids’ art projects, homemade cards, now too-small t-shirts and worn out toys, you want to show respect to your child’s creativity and personal belongings. A great way to preserve those important memories and creations while keeping your space looking organized and functional is to create decorative storage boxes or yearly scrapbook albums.
Simply gather old shoe boxes or plastic containers as a starting point. Next, work with your children to identify the special and meaningful items that they are proud of or want to keep handy. Sort them in a way that makes sense to everyone. Then decorate and label the boxes to your liking! You can also make an album for that year including all the paper memories – photos, certificates, movie tickets, and more. Memory boxes and albums are wonderful additions to family rooms or for the kids to keep in their bedrooms. You won’t regret saving and celebrating these moments!
5. Build their confidence.
Put yourself in the position of team member instead of coach. Be encouraging, supportive and do not express doubt in their abilities. While explaining responsibilities and the certain processes of Spring Cleaning, make sure you have outlined the expectation in a positive and easy-to-follow manner. Being specific with the job at hand will not only teach them the right way to do it and follow instructions but can also save time in having to explain yourself over again. If they fully understand the task at hand, they are more likely to do it correctly and have that sense of achievement.
That being said… we’re allowed to make mistakes! If a task is not done correctly, guide them into trying it again instead of scolding. Give compliments, encouraging words and expressions of gratitude. Creating a checklist that they can cross off and physically see their accomplishments will also build momentum. This goes hand-in-hand with giving each child tasks that fit their individual abilities. You may need to give one child “harder” tasks than another, and that is fair. It is important that your kids are comfortable to ask questions! If your tone becomes short or annoyed, your children are less likely to cooperate with you. If something is not done properly, don’t redo their work. Explain to them the “right” way and how that can be done… but allow them to correct it themselves. Have patience!
6. Reward hard work.
Spring Cleaning brings a bounty of benefits and rewards, and this may be the thing that gets your kids working in the first place! It is okay to set up a reward system to get your kids moving – the key is to have the reward match the work. If your child gets $100 to do the dishes, you can bet they will expect that same reward each time. You can put a small monetary value on each task or create a point system. If enough tasks are completed or points are accumulated, then they can pick from an assortment of “prizes”. This can be a new toy, a trip to the movie theater, dinner at a fun restaurant or another exciting experience that they will remember.
You can even plan a garage sale! Having kids means quickly growing out of clothing and toys. Allow the kids to help decorate and keep the money from their discarded items which sell. If donation is more suitable, you can teach the kids the importance of giving back. If they know their donated toy can make someone happy (like they felt when they played with the toy), it can inspire them to donate or give back. When we teach our children these values at a young age, they will grow and expand on these great ideas in ways we could not imagine.
Why should kids help with Spring Cleaning?
While it may be easier to kick the kids out of the house for the day, there are a lot of benefits to involving your kids in Spring Cleaning! There are many mental, physical and emotional advantages of the annual Spring Cleaning. A clean and open space can help in keeping you more alert and focused throughout the day. Cleaning and organizing also make your space more efficient, increasing your productivity and improving your mood. Cleaning your home has also been found to give you a better sleep schedule! Adults and children alike will feel the positive effects of Spring Cleaning your home.
From the get-go, you will be incorporating ideas like time-management, team work, attention to detail, following instructions and problem solving. When you teach your children basic care processes like cleaning and organizing, they will build upon these skills and they will become habits as they grow. They will also develop a pride in ownership and build a personal understanding of what items and memories are important and meaningful to them, and how to preserve those special things. Aside from these foundational things, you will also be making memories and having fun while accomplishing goals. And that is usually the best way to get something done!