Kids are great at making messes – they can also be great at cleaning them up! In fact, you can start giving kids simple cleaning tasks as early as 2-3 years old. You just have to think about your kids – their talents and maturity levels – and then find age-appropriate chores for them.
Here are three simple cleaning habits to start following to help teach your kids responsibility and have a cleaner house all the time.
1. Keeping the Laundry Room Clean
Ahh, the room where laundry goes in dirty and comes out clean. Wouldn’t it be nice if your laundry room stayed as clean as the laundry you pull out of the dryer? It can! And it won’t be because you tidy it up every day. It’ll be because you teach your kids how to keep it clean.
To help keep things off the floor, organize your family’s clothes and towels with laundry hamper sorters, and organize other things in the laundry room, such as detergents and stain removers, in baskets on shelves or in cabinets. Teach your kids what goes where so they put things where they belong rather than throwing their clothes on the floor or leaving the dryer balls on top of the dryer.
Other easy laundry room cleaning habits for kids include emptying the dryer filter after each load, wiping down counters and cabinets, and deep cleaning the washer. The latter may actually be the easiest cleaning habit of all, and it only needs to be done once a month. All your child has to do is put a washing machine cleaner tablet inside an empty washer tub, close the washer door, and run a hot wash cycle on normal settings.
2. Keeping the Kitchen Clean
Have you ever heard the saying, “A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen”? Obviously the person who coined that phrase wasn’t a parent. While the kitchen isn’t the safest room in the house for younger children, it doesn’t mean you can’t get them in the habit of helping keep it clean. Everyone in your home eats, so everyone in your home should also help clean the kitchen.
There are two things everyone can get in the habit of doing: putting dishes in the sink or dishwasher right after eating, and throwing trash away.
Other kitchen cleaning chores older kids can do include:
- Wiping down the table and countertops
- Taking out the trash
- Emptying the dishwasher
- Sweeping the floor
Keeping Their Bedroom Clean
You can’t just tell a child to clean their room. Your son’s way of cleaning may be to throw everything that’s on the floor under his bed (and we’re pretty sure that’s not your way of cleaning). In most cases, especially with younger kids, you have to first show them what a clean room looks like. Help your toddler make his bed, put his dirty clothes in his hamper, and put his toys in the toy bin. If he needs a reminder, take a picture once his room is clean, and then hang it up somewhere so he can look at it and remember how to clean his bedroom.
For children who can read, tape a cleaning checklist to their bedroom door. Include tasks such as:
- Make your bed
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper
- Put clean clothes in the dresser or hang up in the closet
- Organize books on the bookshelf
Each of these cleaning habits are simple enough for kids to do, and also necessary for you to teach your children so you can keep your sanity in your sanctuary.