Penny Pinching Peach

Cleaning House With Kiddos

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Cleaning With Kiddos

Cleaning With Kiddos

Does anyone else ever feel like cleaning in a house of small children is like trying to empty a swimming pool with a teaspoon? You may make a little progress eventually, but they will quickly fill any space you empty and mess any place you wipe and dump out anything you put away and…well, you get the point! I know that you can teach them to clean up and put away- and I do that- but it’s still a never ending task, and it takes alot of my energy to make sure my little ones actually follow through with their jobs. I have to get creative for them to care about keeping up with anything, and that’s pretty important because Mommy can’t do it all well alone.
One trick that works pretty well with my children is that if you don’t pick it up, you lose it. If I ask my kids to clean up and they don’t, I give them warning that next time I say something will be while taking a toy. If it still doesn’t get done, I grab a toy they actually like (I’ve learned to not grab comfort objects or things they aren’t too fond of) and put it away from them. If they still don’t clean up, I take two…and it goes on from there. To earn back ONE toy, they have to clean up immediately the following clean-up session without argument or complaint. This is probably the most effective method for my independent minded oldest. She frequently doesn’t mind alot of punishments I can dole out, loves to argue, and lives to win. Since I won’t fuss with her, just say “You chose to lose a toy/two toys/three toys by not cleaning up when I asked” and refuse to engage, it’s not fun for her, and she hates losing things she loves. I’ve rarely had to go beyond two toys, even with her. 🙂
I also try to make it more fun for them to help clean up. They love it when we sing the cleanup song while we work. They really enjoy it when I make cleaning up a race! I’ll say “Can you pick up all of your toys before I can finish dishes? I’m pretty fast!” or “How many books can you put up before this song stops playing?” or “Do you think you can finish washing your fingerprints off the window before I can finish cleaning the bathroom?”. Sometimes I’ll offer a reward if they get it all done or if they finish in a certain time frame. These rewards are usually something like a snack or an extra book to be read during story time or playing with playdough or something. Almost anything can be fun for kids if you make it into a game.
What are some tricks you have for cleaning up with kiddos?

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