Today Kaley is sharing with us a very clever (and cute) way to get the kids involved in the cleaning. The take home message here is clearly “start getting them involved early!” and I think it would be a great thing to share with your mom friends. How cool would this be as a gift? Kaley’s even sourced a few pretty picks to help you get started.
How many of you do the cleaning while your kids are asleep? If you do, stop! Kids should not only see what it takes to keep a home, they should also participate. Now don’t get me wrong, kids aren’t going to be making significant contributions at age 3. Actually, they often make more of a mess than anything. It isn’t about the result, it is about the process.
Now – how to actually entice a kids into cleaning. I don’t know about you, but fun new products always motivate me to do some serious spring cleaning. Why not get some fun, kid-friendly cleaning products for your little ones? I made my daughter her very own cleaning kit from things we had around the house, and she loves it. She actually asks if she can clean. She is building great habits, she is having fun, and since she is occupied while I clean, I can actually relax after she goes to sleep instead of using that time for cleaning.
So how do you build your cleaning kit? Start with a bright little bucket or something with a handle. It will keep everything together and kids always love carrying things around. You could use anything you already have around the house, an old easter basket, something from your kitchen… get creative! If you don’t have anything that would work, these metal buckets are fun and so happy and colorful.
To your bucket, add some cleaning cloths. I used a bunch of old baby washcloths that had seen better days. Why choose a boring old white rag when you can have colorful stripes? If you don’t have old washcloths, you could cut up cotton t-shirts, or use old dishcloths or towels. I sewed little ribbon tabs at the corner to designate them as the cleaning washcloths, and give her the ability to hang them to dry if she wants.
Add a spray bottle filled with plain water. You can use an empty bottle of surface spray, so that it makes them think that they have an actual cleaning product. You don’t have to worry about where it gets sprayed since it is plain water. And squeezing the spay nozzle helps build coordination and develop the muscles in their little hands.
Throw in a toothbrush, for the deep cleaning. I used a toothbrush that had come in one of those complimentary airline toiletries kit, but any old toothbrush would work fine.
And finally, add a colorful apron, because we all like to look good while we clean, right? For cute kid’s aprons, try Etsy or Athropologie.
Surprise your kids with their new cleaning kit and watch how excited they get to clean. Now talk about cleaning like it is a fun activity, a privilege even, not a chore or a duty. Let the little ones have fun cleaning while you are cleaning, and think about all the free time you will have during nap time now that the house is clean.
The hardest part for me has been letting my little one clean how she wants to clean. Every day she asks if she can clean, and I jump for joy. I picture her cleaning the baseboards, helping me wipe down the cabinets, making significant contributions. Then she goes to the chair, climbs up, and cleans the same spot on the wall, over and over again. And I remind myself, it is about the process.
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Kaley is a photographer who spends her days starting lots of projects and finishing few of them. She lives in San Francisco with her awesomely creative daughter and her amazingly understanding husband.