With the Denton County coronavirus stay-at-home order extended through at least April 30th, the fun of wearing sweatpants all day has really lost its appeal—at least for those who are lucky enough to stay home. While those of us not on the front lines of hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential businesses definitely have it easier, so much “togetherness” with our kids, partners, and pets in one place is starting to lose its novelty!
Most of us are not used to spending so much time at home, and with young kids in the house, the daily grind of childcare, education, entertainment, extra laundry and dishes and vacuuming and a million other chores can add up to a stressful space full of annoyed people and rapidly fraying nerves. It may sound like a long shot, but here’s an idea to help keep the peace: Embark on a spring cleaning crusade. And better yet? Get your kids involved! If you’re laughing out loud, rolling your eyes, or just wondering what on earth we’re thinking… Well, keep reading!
How to Get Your Kids to Help with Housekeeping
You have one thing on your side during this pandemic isolation period, and that’s this: Your kids are probably bored out of their minds. So it shouldn’t take a whole lot to convince them to chip in with your spring cleaning initiative, especially if you try some of these tips.
This strategy isn’t just for little kids; it can actually help teens and—gasp—even parents be more efficient at household chores. Set a timer and a clear, realistic goal. For instance, set a timer for 20 minutes, and a goal of every member of the household clearing their clutter from the living room, den, kitchen, stairs, or wherever things tend to get the most cluttered. The objective is to not only straighten up by removing everyone’s respective items, but also to put those items away where they belong! That means socks go in the laundry hamper, homework goes back in its folder on the desk, shoes get put away, plates get loaded into the dishwasher, etc.
If everyone gets all of their stuff put away before the timer goes off, celebrate by making pizza for dinner or some other special treat. You could even inspire them with the chance to earn a future visit to Zone Action Park!
Dance It Out.
Speaking of making spring cleaning with kids fun, one of the best ways to keep everyone engaged is to blast some fun, upbeat tunes that make you want to dance and sing! There’s a reason those dwarves whistled while they worked, after all. Check out this kids’ dance party playlist for some happy jams to keep the cleaning energy going strong.
Make It Meaningful.
One of the best spring cleaning tasks you can do with your kids is sorting through old clothes, toys, sporting equipment, and other items that haven’t been used in a while. Explain to your kids that you can take things you don’t use any more and donate them to other people who will really appreciate them. Feeling like they’re “shopping” their closets for someone else tends to be a lot more exciting for most kids than feeling like they’re being made to give up their beloved stuff… Even if it’s stuff they don’t really care about any more. Here are some tips to help you decide what to keep and what to give away.
- Evaluate like items. If you’re familiar with the “KonMari” organization method, this might sounds familiar. Get your child to gather up all of their stuffed animals (or toy cars, or action figures, etc.) and lay them out in one place, like the floor or their bed. Seeing them all in one place gives a sense of just how many there are, and it can also help to compare the things they really love with things they’ve grown out of or forgotten about. This is also a great way to purge your own closet, whether it’s an overstuffed drawerful of socks, a decade plus of t-shirts from every 10k/family reunion/etc., or eighteen almost-identical black sweaters.
- Go room by room, or even space by space. One of the biggest obstacles to organization for most of us is getting overwhelmed. Breaking it down into small, manageable chunks is much easier, so set that 20 minute timer and take on a small area, like a bathroom counter or a nightstand. Then take a 5 or 10 minute break to stretch, check social media, or pet the dog before starting the timer and focusing on finishing your initial task or tackling another small area.