Cleaning and Decluttering with kids CAN be fun!
No one ever says “Yaaaay, this weekend we’re going to clean the house!!” because cleaning, like so many other chores, isn’t really enjoyable. Adults usually don’t look forward to it and children certainly don’t. But like it or not, sometimes it needs to be done and with kids in the house, the need arises even more often. As parents, we’re constantly running around, picking up after them, trying to keep our homes neat and clutter-free. But how do you get your kids to be responsible for their own stuff and interested in cleaning up? If you get them involved at an early age, it’s more fun plus you get cute little helpers!
As part of our ongoing #DeclutterWithOribel campaign, we have put together a few simple ways to make cleaning and decluttering with kids fun, not stressful!
Make it a challenge
Here's a cool idea on how to reduce toy clutter with a twist! Kids love the excitement of winning a challenge. So set a timer for 60 minutes and assign small tasks to be completed within that time: putting toys back in the shelf, placing shoes at their designated place, making sure crayons are back in their boxes. Or start a friendly competition between siblings. Assign each one a color and say “pick up all the yellow toys” and “pick up all the red toys” to give them personal responsibility and help them clean up faster.
Bring pretend-play into itIf they can use their imagination, kids are ready to get involved in absolutely anything. Ask them to pick a superhero name like TidyMan or the MessBusters! Then give them little gloves and aprons as their special outfit before showing them what needs to be cleaned in their playroom. If you have a little extra time, write their name on a piece of paper and stick it to their clothes like am emblem. They can invent a song for themselves, decide their superpowers, anything they like! Or give toys a little backstory like “Mr. Gingerbread Man is all sad because he’s dusty” because children already believe their toys are real and love keeping them safe. Like our clutter-reducing VertiPlay Wall Toys have proved, the world of make-believe is endlessly inspirational.
Declutter with them
Help your kids understand the need to reduce unnecessary toys, books, and other possessions. When their things start overflowing from storage bins and boxes, ask them to pick out their least favorite ones. Talk to them about donating these to less fortunate children and as a bonus, it makes it easier to keep their room clean too. You can even have a small yard sale and get them to sit at the table and talk to customers. It’ll be a whole new activity with a lot of scope for new skills.
Make everything fun-sized
Make a little cleaning supplies basket for your child with a small broom, dustpan, cleaning cloth and a small bottle of water. Whether they get used or not, a little personalized kit is always fun and heightens the sense of responsibility and achievement.
Take advantage of bedtime
Ask your child to put toys back in their place at the end of the day and say goodnight to them because toys need their sleep too! Create a mischievous ‘toy watchman’ who will take away toys that are lying around while your child is asleep. More incentive to get everything tidied up before bed and a clutter-free sleeping environment is known to lead to better sleep.
Have a realistic approach
Be specific and create smaller, more achievable goals like “pick up your books”, instead of “clean your room”. If the end goal is divided into a few steps, it is easier for children to understand and not get distracted. Instead of expecting everything to happen in a day, set up a little chart in the playroom and use colorful stickers to mark off tasks as they get completed through the week. Kids love playing with stickers and these smaller, realistic goals will be more fun this way. Also remember to lead by example, showing them how to stack things or fold clothes so that they know what to do.
Finally, always show appreciation when your child helps out and cleans up his or her own stuff. Avoid redoing what they do and instead, either let them create their own system or assign tasks that you aren’t very particular about.
Also read: Declutter to Spark Joy Like Marie Kondo!
Do you have any rules or ideas when it comes to decluttering your house or toys? We would love to hear it! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you get your kids involved in cleaning up!