Keeping it clean. For the kids.
I’m sure most of us can smell it in the air. Yes spring is just around the corner and those of us who like a good clean up will be gearing towards that big spring clean and of course using Used to get rid of all the junk that is soon to become another’s treasure. (For tips on using Used, check out the top ten tips from the master, Karen, who saved thousands of dollars on her reno’ by sourcing freebies from UsedVictoria).
For those of us with children, the spring clean is a great opportunity to organize toys and finally get rid of the broken trains, grown out of Buzz Lightyears and half intact puzzles that get shoved in the spare room until there’s more time.
The spring clean is a great way to set an example to your children. It encourages them to recycle, share (by giving to other children), organise and have respect for their belongings.
Here are a few tips to get kids of any age involved in your clean ups.
- Not the first time – Trying to get your kids to join in on a big spring clean when they’ve never lifted a finger any other day of the year is just not going to work! My advice is the seven minute clean up. I do this with my son and on my own. Set a timer for seven minutes and go! You will be so surprised at how much you can clean up in that time. If I’m feeling particularly energetic (or am going to go stir crazy with the mess), I’ll move from room to room giving each the seven minute make over.
- Music – It’s cleaning, but you can try and make it fun. I’m a Songza ADDICT so I use their playlists for most activities including cleaning, but if your kidlets have a favourite artist, stick it on your player and get them moving as they sort and clean. Just don’t blame me if it’s One Direction on repeat!
- All ages – All ages can clean, from your two year old to your twelve year old. With younger family members, lead by example and keep it simple. Wiping windows, putting away toys, using a duster – all things a three year old can do. Team up with younger children, so if you are cleaning the oven, let your kidlet spray so you can wipe – it might take a little more time, but as they get older, they will understand that helping is normal.
- Bigger Kids – Big kids can go it alone, give them their tasks and off they go.
- Heads Up – Give your kids notice of the tasks they will be doing, it will pay to be organised. Either draw up a list or better still do a lucky dip. Put all the kids’ tasks in a bowl and let them choose.
- Rewards – Don’t go overboard, cleaning is just a part of everyday life, but for a big clean that’s going to take most of the day, adding an incentive won’t hurt. Promises of a pizza party, movie night or sleepover should the chores get done well might get things moving faster.
- Goodwill – The spring clean is a great time to teach kids about giving to those less fortunate.
- Making Money – From giving your kids their own garage sale table, to helping them list on the Used sites, not only is making some money an incentive for them to clean up and sort their belongings, it’s also a good lesson in worth.
- Rules – These are my rules for everyday clean ups but the spring clean is the best time to employ these guidelines. The six month rule – if it hasn’t been played with for six months or more, it goes. The three month rule – even if you have the best of intentions, if the toy has been broken and not repaired for three months, it goes.