For most people, cleaning is a bother. It certainly is not considered fun. For children, cleaning is just plain torture. But the holidays are arriving and the guests are coming—your house simply has to be cleaned. Here are eight great ideas for making cleaning more fun for both you and your children.
- Make cleaning a game. Use your imagination to create fun games while cleaning. For example, show your children the scene where Frosty the Snowman marches through town with a broom. Give them a broom and a scarf and have them march through the house sweeping. Another game is “freeze frame.” Put some fun music on and occasionally stop it. The kids have to freeze in the position they are in, which often results in some hilarious picture-worthy poses.
- Play music. Play the family’s favorite holiday songs and throw in a few new ones for kicks. Make sure the music is loud enough that it can be heard in the rooms where the kids are cleaning or simply tote the iPod from room to room. Cheerful music makes the time go by faster. Plus it’s a good way for kids to learn the lyrics to traditional songs.
- Give rewards. We aren’t talking about money or gifts but small gestures. For example, when the kitchen is clean, everyone can take a break and have cookies and milk or another favorite snack.
- Play make-believe. Lots of kids like to role-play, so encourage them to start their own cleaning company. Provide a hat, apron and rubber gloves to help them fully get into the role. You get to be the customer who is ever so thankful for the holiday help. Other ideas include playing Cinderella! Someone can be the princess as she scrubs the wicked stepmother’s house.
- Hold a cleaning contest. Give each child a room to clean and provide an award for whoever gets done the quickest and most thoroughly. Assign rooms based on age so that older children have tougher challenges than younger ones. If your children want to do tasks together, challenge them to see who can, say, dry the most dishes.
- Play beat the clock. Set a timer and challenge your kids to get a task done before it rings. “Can you get all this laundry folded in 5 minutes? Go!” Set shorter times for younger kids. For example, “Can you pick up all these blocks in 1 minute? Go!”
- Play hide and seek. Hide a few quarters or other special treats such as Hershey Kisses around the house. Tell your kids how many there are, and let them know that if they clean properly, they’ll find them.
- Show your appreciation. As tasks get completed be sure to show your sincere appreciation. Be as supportive and encouraging as possible, even if the job isn’t done precisely to your expectations. You can always do the task again later with them and give them hints on how to do it better.
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