Involving Kids In Cleaning: A Key To Future Success
Encouraging your kids to pitch in with household chores can do more than help keep your house clean.
“Getting your kids involved in cleaning is a great way to spend time together as a family while teaching the importance of health and hygiene in the home,” said Dr. Jana, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatrician and award-winning author.According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, the best predictor of a child’s success is the age at which he or she begins helping with household chores. The research showed that by involving children in regular routines of cleaning and tidying up, parents instill a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance and self-worth in their children, which stay with them throughout their lives.
Here are a few tips to help get the whole family engaged in household cleaning:
- Choose family-friendly cleaning products: Be cautious when using cleaning products with or around young children. As children get older, they should be taught to handle with care, use as directed, and keep all cleaning products and sprays away from their eyes. When cleaning around young kids, look for family-friendly cleaning agents.
- Turn cleaning into a game: Incorporate game-style activities, like “hide and seek,” into an otherwise mundane cleaning routine. Ask your kids to spot areas that are unclean and you may be surprised how many they find!
- Implement a rewards system: Give kids specific cleaning goals and reward them once the goals are completed. Using visuals such as a chore chart is a great way to keep kids on task, remind them to clean and to keep track of how often they are doing it. Give your kids stickers to place on the chart when they’ve completed a task and, if you like, provide modest rewards for collecting a specified number of stickers. While the real reward is a clean home, you can also offer anything from a family movie night to a reasonable allowance.
- Tailor tasks to specific age groups: Give younger children simpler, one-step tasks like dusting or picking toys up off the floor. Save the more complex jobs, such as vacuuming, scrubbing and disinfecting, for older kids.
- Take time to educate: It’s never too early to educate your kids about germs! Help them identify and then tackle bacteria-rich surfaces, like door handles, kitchen sinks, toilets and light switches. You can also teach them about household hygiene through other educational activities. Check out these sites for ideas on how to teach kids about germs and hygiene:
- CDC’s Ounce of Prevention: cdc.gov/ounceofprevention
- CDC Germ Stopper Resources: cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm