Spring in Utah is beautiful. While the weather is warming up outside, we are busy Spring Cleaning inside. It is not a one man job and I really want and need our kids to help. Cleaning isn’t always first on their list of priorities so there are a few things that I do to make Spring Cleaning a success.
First, we address the complaining that comes when it is time to get to work. Our kids get 60 seconds to complain and whine all they want about the cleaning. Once the 60 seconds are up, it is time to get to work. Why does this work? Kids don’t always feel like they are heard. This gives them a chance to express themselves.
Second, whenever we start cleaning, our kids immediately say. “I don’t know where that goooeesss”. So, when we start reorganizing in the Spring, I give the kids each a turn with the camera and they get to take pictures of toys and clothes that go in each space. We don’t take pictures of everything, just a few of the items that can represent. For example, pictures of a dinosaur for the dinosaur bucket, or hats, for the hat drawer. They love taking pictures, putting them up and then filling the bin or drawer with the right items. Instead of cleaning, now it is a fun project to them. You can also include the name of the object for older kids who can read. If your child likes to draw, have them draw pictures of their toys.
Third, in our house,we play the Magic Item game. This is my FAVORITE! AND IT REALLY WORKS! When it is time to Spring Clean, I pick a Magic/Secret item in the room we are working on. Whoever finds and puts the MAGIC ITEM away gets to choose what’s for snack or dinner, or which park we will visit. If it is Monday, the one who finds and puts away the Magic Item gets to choose what dessert to have for Family Night. I always make sure that what they get to choose benefits and effects all the kids. They love this game. It is like a scavenger hunt. I have fun picking new Magic Items. Sometimes I announce the magic item right when it is put away. Other times I wait until everything is put away and then announce with a ta-da. If we are tackling a big job, I might choose a few Magic Items. If we aren’t necessarily picking up “things”, I choose a Magic Job. I will list all the things that need to be done, and who ever happens to choose the Magic Job, gets to choose the surprise.
It is important to include our kids in the Spring Cleaning. Not only is it helpful, it also teaches them valuable skills. And, working together is a great way for our families to grow closer.
Homemaker, wife and mother. My husband and I have five children. On the side I am an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University where I received a Masters Degree in Youth and Family Recreation. Three times a week I endeavor to teach college students the importance of families doing things together. Then I come home and try to figure out how to implement what I just taught. Believe me I know, It is a lot easier said than done. I used to speak French, wish I could dance, and will almost always choose fruity over chocolate.
Heather is the author of Family Volley, where writes about parenting, motherhood and relationships.