As the adult in your household or classroom, you might anticipate certain chores with glee. To you, spring cleaning is about more than just getting your life in order. It's an opportunity to reinvigorate yourself with the promise of a vibrant new season to come.
Spring Cleaning Hacks to Motivate Your Whole Family
Unfortunately, your little helpers aren't always so enthusiastic about ticking off items on your spring cleaning checklist. It's inevitable that you'll disagree on doing these chores. How can you elimate the power struggles of doing chores and actually make chores fun?
Many children have their own ideas about their agendas. Other kids just dislike tidying up. Fortunately, these attitudes and preferences aren't set in stone. Rethinking the way you scrub, sanitize, and spring clean your surroundings could make things a lot more fun for everyone involved.
Want to keep your youngsters engaged in welcoming the season? Try these spring cleaning tips to influence your kids' viewpoints so that they look forward to the occasion as much as you do. However, before you get going though, step back fo a moment and think about age appropriate chores and routines. Think critically about how you determine the right chores at the right age.
What is spring cleaning?
Akin to preparing for the arrival of a baby (aka “nesting”) there is something about the spring that inspires us. Spring cleaning gives us a fresh start and allows us time to refresh. There is actually a history behind spring cleaning, however. Back in the day when fireplaces and wood stoves heated the rooms during cold winter months, people spent time cleaning their homes, stoves, fireplaces, and so on of the soot that had accumulated over that time.
Nowadays, we take the same approach by opening windows, breathing in the fresh air, and taking advantage of warmer temperatures. On the other hand, spring cleaning is less of an intentional effort now that we have digital apparatices and Marie Kondo to help us stay on track of our homes. With that said, the sentiment of “in with the new, out with the old” still rings true.
Establish a Spring Cleaning Routine
Set a schedule first. Following a routine lets you make any event feel doable, and big cleanups are no exception.
Give each person something to do. Including yourself can help show that the spring cleaning checklist isn't one-sided or a punishment. Since the adults usually do most of the heavy lifting, it's also easy to make the point that you're trying to be fair.
Make Goals Together
Motivating a child is way easier when you consider their interests. Instead of simply making them clean because you said to, come up with bigger objectives together. For instance, you might let a child know that if they clean up their personal space, they'll have more room to play and do their favorite hobbies. In other words, involve your kids in the systematic approach to cleaning.
Including your child in the goal-setting process makes them more excited to participate. It's also a great learning lesson on how planning makes it easier to tackle big tasks. Spring cleaning can look like an overwhelmingly massive affair from a younger perspective. Therefore, you must break it down to make it appear more attainable. Work those executive functioning skills!
What's guaranteed to be more appealing than being responsible and doing chores? It's playing games. In other words, make doing chores fun and competitive!
Chores and fun might seem like complete opposites, but it's all a matter of attitude. On the other hand, the widespread popularity of chore apps suggests that many families have good experiences with transforming housework into a game. Some research on gamifying chores also makes a case for the combo approach.
If more apps and screen time aren't your cup of tea, then invent new games that don't need tech distractions. Some parents like keeping dry-erase boards on their refrigerators to track which children complete their daily chores each week. Even if you don't do this all year, it can make a fun spring cleaning game.
Sometimes, doing a common chore in a new way makes it more enjoyable. For instance, you could try the Japanese T-shirt folding method and have a race. Competition is definitely a motivator for my boys!
Keep Things Age-appropriate
As I mentioned above, maintaining age-appropriate expectations can help your kids view to-do lists with less dread. If you go too fast and overload them, they won't want to join in. You have to find a way to allow them to lead the process based on who they are and what motivates them.
Talk to them about how their help benefits the family. Remind them that everyone else has to work harder when one person decides not to work.
Inspire Your Kids: Connect Chores to Creativity
Most children understand the concept of a chore as a necessary job. Letting them be more creative about how they complete a task makes it an easier pill to swallow.
Get together to watch a video of sand mandalas being built and erased right before going outside to clean up the garden. Chop down all the old dead plants, and make designs with the debris. Mulch it all into the garden bed, or rake it away for a clean slate.
Is it looking like a rainy spring? Stay indoors to clean up your old office supplies. Shredding old bills and magazines is always lots of fun. Or recycle whatever you find cluttering up the house. Many of the leftovers from these spring cleaning hacks could become precious creative keepsakes.
Reward Effort & Progress
Make chore charts and cleaning progress visible with a chore chart. Also, make your system rewards based. With that said, don't take away from the effort the child put into the chores. Focus on efforts, not reward. Think: Carol Dweck. Still, we're all human and certain things do motivate us! So, surprise your kids when you've finished. Do something that you know they'll like and enjoy. It doesn't have to be huge, but making it something rare or special gives kids a reason to look forward to spring cleaning next year.
One of the best rewards that a kid can receive for helping out is a parent who appreciates their assistance. Let yours know that you're glad to have their spring cleaning help.