It’s time for a major house cleaning. Do you picture yourself trudging around your home with a mop, vacuum cleaner and dust rags while your family members lounge on the couch watching TV?
You don’t have to go it alone. Enlist the family! Divvying up chores not only puts more time back in your schedule, it gives everyone a sense of responsibility. This could motivate family members to help keep the house tidy every day.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for spring cleaning with family.
Don’t spring it on them – set a date
It’s best not to surprise the fam with a list of chores. Prepare them for a special family cleanup day. When you give family members notice, it allows them time to clear calendars, get used to the idea and understand that spring cleaning is an important task to which each person should contribute. When the big day arrives, fuel up with a good breakfast, turn off the TV, cell phones and computers, turn on a little music and gather the troops at the agreed-upon time.
Do make it age-appropriate
You wouldn’t ask your 5-year-old to use a heavy vacuum cleaner. Keep in mind that too much cleaning time can be just as draining for small kids as the wrong equipment. Make sure young children work in “small bites” such as 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Have youngsters do easy-but-productive jobs like sorting. Supply them with labeled or color-coded containers to put items into. Meanwhile, tweens and teens can handle the tougher stuff like vacuuming, dusting and deep-cleaning bathrooms.
Do make it organized
Kids who are old enough to read can take on more advanced tasks. Create a list of chores for each room. This will help your kids stay on track and keep everyone from feeling frustrated about their progress. Use the list to break down exactly what you want them to do and how to do it. Be patient: You may need to give some direction at first.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be
A “cleaning toolkit” for each room will make it easier for kids to do their assigned tasks. In the bathroom, for example, include cleaning items that can quickly wipe away soap scum from the tub and shower door. Even younger kids can handle dusting (and may even think it’s fun!) with a microfiber duster. The fluffy fibers grab dust on furniture, plants and electronics so you can avoid potentially harmful spray polishes and smeary residue. A roll of paper towels in your toolkit is perfect for smaller hands when cleaning up mini-messes.
Do make it fun
Can cleaning be fun? Yes, it’s possible. For instance, you can build team spirit and go all in: Buy a matching set of colorful, inexpensive T-shirts and write everyone’s name on them. Plan breaks and snacks throughout the day so kids — and grownups — have something to look forward to.
Finally, along with your thanks and hugs for a job well done, have a treat to reward everyone for their hard work. End the day with a special family meal such as a casual picnic, which also helps keep cleanup to a minimum.
Of course, the best reward is working together to clean the house and make it ready to welcome the warmer months ahead!
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
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