Spring can be such an inspiring, happy time for us. We love to see new life emerging. The warmer weather is welcome after the chill of winter. We feel inspiration to open the windows and air out our homes. And after several months of being at home, especially in this time of pandemic, we are ready to give our homes a good cleaning. But when you have kids at home, it can be hard to get them involved, and it can be hard to enjoy spring cleaning with your kids.
Cleaning with kids around can certainly be a challenge. You have to work with the constant mess-making of little ones, the challenge of limited time, and the “help” that your kids offer. While we know that our kids need to learn how to clean and how to do their parts in our homes, we also strongly feel that this would be easier if we just did it ourselves.
So how can we accomplish a big spring cleaning AND involve our kids in the process? Can you enjoy spring cleaning with kids? Here are a few ways we can involve our kids and enjoy the process.
Take it in small chunks
If we could be alone in our houses for just a day, we could tackle a lot. But this is not the case when we have little ones in the house, or when your family is all home at once. So let’s adapt our thinking a bit. We can divide our big cleaning effort into several small jobs, and spread them out over a longer period of time.
Wait, clean longer? Hang with me here. I don’t mean to clean all day every day for a week. I mean that we can tackle a few smaller jobs for an hour each day. It may take a week or even two weeks to finish, but it will be much easier overall. Working for one hour each day, or taking on five of your smaller jobs each day, will give you and your kids a clear end point.
Make sure several of your tasks are things that your kids can do, and encourage them to work as fast as they can. If you have really young children, then just hand them a sponge or a rag to wash the walls or baseboards “with you.” They won’t actually get much really clean, but it’s worth having them help for their own learning.
Smaller jobs with less pressure will make it easier to enjoy spring cleaning with your kids.
Lower your expectations
There is a popular keep-your-home-clean plan that stresses progress over perfection. It’s easy for us to get caught up in perfection when it comes to a big cleaning job, but family life can make this very difficult. Lowering our expectations does not mean that we do a terrible job. It just means that a mostly clean bathroom is still better than a really dirty one.
If we are splitting our living areas into smaller jobs (blinds, walls, baseboards, floor, ceiling fan, detail dusting, etc.), it’s likely that your shorter work session will leave something undone. Be willing to finish that area the next day, and allow yourself and your kids to be free from the pressure of perfection.
Make it fun!
Kids will have bigger buy-in and better attitudes if we find a way to make it fun for them. Are your kids competitive? See who can finish a wall the fastest and get it the cleanest. Or set a timer for 15 minutes and see how many jobs they can cross off the list in that time.
Another way to make it fun is to have a treat when you finish. It can be a food treat, a special activity, or even just a fun show or a movie (during which you can clean by yourself and get more difficult tasks finished).
You could play fun music while your family is cleaning, and even challenge each other to finish a job before the song ends. You could memorize a fun poem or get another learning task done, like going through multiplication tables or learning colors.
What makes things motivating and fun for your kids? Find a way to use that in your spring cleaning efforts.
Get buy-in from your kids
Let your kids be part of the planning process. They can come up with jobs that need to be done, and they will be more willing to do the jobs they came up with.
Your kids can also come up with some treats and rewards for participating in this big job. You, of course, have the final say, but they will appreciate your listening to their input.
Our Signing Time series has a great episode on Helping Out Around the House. And though we’ve mentioned our free video, In a House, recently, it’s still a great resource to teach our kids about their role in our families.
With a My Signing Time digital subscription, you can access all of our fun songs, which are great for cleaning sign-alongs. You can watch fun and education programming that also teaches responsibility and good character qualities, like helpfulness. And you can access our shows from any device anytime. You can try it out with a 14-day free trial here.