Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Training Children How to Clean

Now that we've talked about tidying up, let's talk about the harder job: cleaning. What works for one doesn't work for the other. In my experience, (speaking of children-in-training here) if I help them tidy up, they'll just pretend to be tidying while I do most of the work. But if I help them clean, they are motivated and enjoy doing it.
There is a window of time when the children are little that they want to help you clean. Seize it! Having less than shiny floors is well worth having a child who wants to mop them.
I suggest having two brooms, two mops, two dusters, etc, so that you can work right along side your little one in training. Wet your mops, then show little Suzy how you wring it out. (Not that she'll be doing it herself at this young age, but she should know anyway.) Then show her how you mop backwards (you pull a mop towards you, rather than pushing like when you vacuum). After she's got the hang of it, stand back and praise her while she does it herself for awhile. Then join her again to finish up the job.
Keep up this method for several weeks or months, until she's got it and you can trust her to do a good job.
In the Clark house, we rotate chores annually. My goal is proficiency. Last year, Daniel gathered up all the trash cans and returned them, and Isaac took out the trash. This year, Isaac and Daniel passed the baton to Chloe and Lydia. I didn't have to train Chloe and Lydia how to do the job. Isaac and Daniel taught them. Ditto that for all the chores that were passed onto another child. My job just keeps getting easier and easier!
The time you invest teaching your children how to clean will pay big dividends. I recently encouraged my kids: You guys are so blessed that you already know how to clean a house well. I didn't figure all that out until I was in high school. It's not fun to learn it then!


Aly sun said...

I really needed to read this. Training takes so much time and I find myself constantly fighting the urge to just do the cleaning myself and let the kids watch a movie. I needed to read this and be encouraged, that yes, it necessary to train them and will be rewarding!

MommaofMany said...

We have a rotating chore chart. Chores swap the first day of each month and the children are always glad to have new chores! It's a six month rotation so they get a wide range of skills before repeating, but personally, I think a month at any one chore is long enough.