Cleaning chores for kids
As adorable as little kids can be, they are curious and messy. Cleaning up after them for moms can feel cumbersome. They are little bundles of energy, and their mess-making never ceases.
You might think it gets better after they grow up, but any mom of a primary schoolgoer would smile and shake her head in dismay against that hope.
One might ask if there could ever be the possibility of a clean home when kids are growing up. Despite this being a blog post for doable cleaning chores, bear with me if it feels like parenting advice initially.
Should kids clean?
The arguments, fights, and chaos can be offset easily when you give kids errands to run and clean up the mess they make. They will have this sense of responsibility, and as they grow older will help in instilling a routine and some discipline – which always helps.
Use room-by-room cleaning responsibilities or use these chores as an incentive for something else. Just make sure that they are age-appropriate and monitor them. It does not mean you make them do all your work, gently introduce them to the idea of cleaning and organizing.
Age-based task list
Pre-schoolers and younger primary class kids are eager to help. Our role here is to channel that energy into something constructive and fruitful.
In this age group of little helpers, modeling works wonderfully. Show them how to do something, like picking up toys they left behind into the toys box, cleaning with the central vacuum system hose to pick up the breadcrumbs they left behind (you have to monitor), or sorting the laundry.
Once children grow into pre-teens and teenagers, you can give them tasks that require judgment or nuance.
A word of caution – do not let any child handle any chemicals or cleaning agents. There are a range of kid-friendly cleaning agents in the market today, so if you must, choose one of those. Try to restrict it to cleaning surfaces with a damp cloth, or wiping things with a baby wipe. They are safe and do the job exceptionally well.
List of tasks that can be assigned to children:
Not each child can fit into a group of tasks. Every child is unique and may learn faster or slower than their peers. Just use this list as a guide, and tweak it to include or exclude your geography or household-specific chores. Here is a small list of chores we have grouped for you:
General Household tasks:
These include cleaning windows with a damp microfiber cloth, helping put away bed linen into their designated places, picking up books and toys and organizing them in their spots, picking up the residential central vacuum system hose and cleaning nooks and corners, picking up dry garbage, put groceries into the pantry, segregate fruits and vegetables and put them into the fridge, water plants, pull out weeds and so on. The idea is to introduce them to the concept of work and doing things independently.
In a country like India, clothes get sweaty, dusty, and dirty faster and more often than in other countries. This usually means we have a machine load of clothes to launder. Take your kids on board and let them help you match outfits, segregate clothes that have to go to the steam press, and sort clothes by category into socks, pants, and t-shirts. Older kids can even help load, unload and dry the clothes.
Little ones can help sort the plastic spoons, forks, and plates, and slightly older ones can help with putting away delicate tableware. They can also help sort the dishes and put them into their places in the kitchen. Older children can also help with clearing the dishes and bringing cooked food to the table, laying out plates, etc., Teens can also help with vacuuming the space with an automatic central vacuum system.
Get them to wipe the mirror. They can help with wiping counters and wiping splatters and spills. They can water spray an area, and check refills of soap and shampoo. They can also empty trash, and use safe organic sprays to clean scaling on taps and shower heads.
Children are usually very good with their pet siblings and are enthusiastic to take care of them. Give them little tasks to check for their pet sibling’s food and water reserves, brush their coat and walk them around. Older kids can also take care of bathing and drying them.
Kids are wonderful learners. They inherently like helping out, and coupled with their eagerness to learn can help around the house in many ways. Make sure you give them age-appropriate tasks and give them room to grow. Do not impose things on them. This will be a pathway to them being an independent strong individuals.