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Works for Me Wednesday: Cleaning with Kids

When I speak, I'm often asked how early kids can start to do chores.

And I usually say two. My girls when they were two loved folding facecloths when they came out of the dryer, and the cloth diapers that the baby was using. They could handle that.

Also, if you buy the dusting mitts that don't require any cleaner, they can put them on and then run their hands across table surfaces. They're so satisfied when they're done!

If you don't mind messes, kids can also have wet cloths to do a portion of the floor when you mop.

Kids like cleaning when they're small, and if you can start them on it, they're more likely to continue later!

Now here's the part where you have to take a deep breath: don't go around after them and fix what they didn't do. Lower your standards just a little bit so that you can teach them how to clean and they can be proud of themselves.
If they didn't do a great job, show them in a fun way. "Uh-Oh. Here's some more dust! Let's get it!" But it's better to have them clean and do it 70% as well as you would have then to not have them clean at all. Remember, you're raising them to run their own homes one day!
Also, there is a difference between getting kids to tidy and getting kids to do chores. Cleaning your room and making your bed is not chores. These are things every child should do for themselves from the age of 5-6 up. Chores are something that benefit the whole family and are in family spaces. All kids, I think, should have chores starting from about age 4, and increasing with age.

In To Love, Honor and Vacuum I talk about this in detail, but if you have any specific questions, ask me, and I'll try to fire back some thoughts!

In the meantime, give your kids some cloths and see what they can do!

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At 10:50 AM , Blogger Wifey said…

My kids love to help me clean. My 2 year old sings the "clean up song" whenever she sees someone putting things away, then jumps in to help, and my older two are almost able to fold and put away all their own laundry. Learning to bite my tongue when they didn't do a job perfectly has been hard, but so worth it!


At 4:42 PM , Blogger mira said…

I agree with you. Plus when your children learn to do chores they will be able to fend for themselves when they are older and living on their own. In our house you even start to do your own laundry when you become a teenager and as you get a little older you get to choose what to make for dinner. It's all about teaching them useful life-skills.


At 12:14 AM , Blogger The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said…

Great post! I especially agree with the part about not going behind them to fix what they didn't do.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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