I like to clean. It's okay, we can still be friends. Here's the disclaimer: this doesn't mean that my house IS clean it just means that I like to clean it. There's a difference!
I clean to put myself into a good mood and I clean when I'm in a good mood. I love to clean on Fridays so that I can fully enjoy the weekend and I especially feel the need to clean right before we leave for vacation so that I can come home to a clean house.
Cleaning is like feeding me comfort food. I actually have fond memories of cleaning with my mom and sisters. Now, my mom will be the first to tell you that I also snuck off to go read Nancy Drew when I should have been helping. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I have fond memories of them cleaning. My mom would let us listen to Paul Simon's Graceland while we cleaned. I can still hear his voice singing "diamonds on the soles of her shoes..." and smell of Pledge and Murphy's Oil soap. It's comforting.
I also liked living in a clean house. I'm sure I didn't understand that not every kid had a safe and clean house to live in. Looking back now as a parent, I see that a clean house was an act of love that my parents gave to me. And now, I want to give my kids a clean house to play in. I want to teach my kids to take care of their toys and clothes. I want to teach them the pride of ownership that was taught to me. And that's why I have my kids clean with me. It might be easier or faster to clean by myself, but that's not the point.
I feel the need to mention that while my kids help, they are not responsible for cleaning my house. Clearly! Kids are kids and they should be allowed to be messy, and dirty, and play. That's their prime job!
Here are a few simple ways to get your kids involved:
1. Have little one's squirt the spray bottles. My 2 year old loves the job of spraying the glass cleaner. Of course, you need to be right there with them on this one! I tell her how many squirts per surface area and she counts them out. I finish up the job by wiping it down with the paper towel.
2. Three are a million mini- me type products out there. We have a couple that actually work and are fun for little people. Pick up a child sized broom and mop and let them work with you.
3. Dust busters are a 2 year old's best toy! Don't bother buying a toy vacuum. Get one that actually works! My mom picked up a dust buster at a thrift store for $2 and it's worth it's weight in gold. My kids both love to use it. When they make a mess, they can actually clean it up and they also love to vacuum with it along side of me.
4. When I take the time to wipe down the wood furniture with Murphy's oil soap, I give them a little bucket (a sand bucket is the perfect size) and a rag or wet wipe. I tend to go behind them on this one because it can get a little wet.
5. Give them a few simple jobs for their room and DON'T re-do it! Ask them to make their own bed. Sure, the comforter will be crooked but don't fix it! Fixing it tells them not to bother. Fixing it tells them that they're too little. Fixing it tells them that their best is not good enough.
6. Give them tasks that are in their reach. Give them a wet wipe and have them wipe down the trim along the floor. It's on their level and it requires no chemicals or fancy tools. You will be amazed at how much dust collects there.
7. Have them do a toy round up before you vacuum. We play a game where my kids run around "saving" the toys from the vacuum. They feel like heroes and I can vacuum with out the fear of sucking up a G.I. Joe. I also label their toy bins with pictures so that they know where to put them.
8. Have a few jobs that are above and beyond their call of duty. There are some jobs at our house that they do because they are a part of the family. Then there are those jobs that we call "pay jobs". I pay in cash and I pay in tickets (which should be a whole different post). For example, taking out the trash is a paying job at our house. While I don't believe in paying kids for everything, I do think that going above the call of duty should be rewarded well.
I'd love to hear other tips! Leave them as a comment! I'm always looking for more ways to get my kids involved.