Some kids would rather do anything than clean, while others are tidy by nature. Younger kids sometimes think cleaning is fun, while older kids recognize the activity for the chore it truly is. But whether they enjoy the process of cleaning or not, there are actually some spots in your home your kid can clean better than you. So save yourself the aches and pains of crawling on the floor by letting your kiddo do some of the tough work for you. Because guess what? You'll actually be doing them a favor, too.
Believe it or not, kids "crave work and they crave purpose," Montessori teacher Meagan Messuri, B.S., tells Romper. "Participating together during your daily life by doing things like laundry, sweeping, mopping ... allows your children to see the value of working together," she adds. "It feels good when things are in order and it feels good to clean together."
Of course, not all cleaning is created equal when it comes to kids, because even if you'd love to have someone else scrub the bathroom floors, it's safer to keep them away from harsh chemicals. "When cleaning with your children, don't use household cleaners," Richard Peterson, CFE, chief academic officer of Kiddie Academy, tells Romper. "For most projects, water works just fine or even better." It won't be difficult to get them to do a quality job with that water, either.
As far as getting them to clean enthusiastically, get your Mary Poppins on. "Children love to play, so incorporate 'fun' into clean up time," Peterson recommends. He suggests games like "[seeing] how much they can clean in 10 minutes" or "sing[ing] and danc[ing] while cleaning up." So turn on some music, pass them some soap and water, and watch them help make your house sparkle.
Cleaning baseboards may be the actual worst; all that crawling is hard on your knees and they are in literally every room on every wall. But they can be cleaned with just a wet rag, and little kids are seemingly immune to the pains of crawling all over the floor. They'll do a better job than you ever could.
2. Under Furniture
Things tend to collect under furniture: cat toys, kid toys, bits of food, dust, the list is endless. Your little one is just the right size to fetch the ball out from under the bed and dust the floor under the TV console.
3. Dining Chairs And Benches
Have you ever look at the seats and legs of your dining chairs and/or benches? All those dropped cups of milk have to splash somewhere, and it's all over the legs of your table and chairs. Have your kiddo crawl under the table and go to town.
4. Playroom Shelves
Those shelves that house all your kids' toys at eye level have to be dusted and scrubbed from time to time, too. Have your little one take some responsibility and clean them. (And while they're at it, have them clean their toys, too.)
5. Lower Cabinet Faces
Your lower kitchen cabinets aren't eye level, so you probably don't notice how dirty they are... but your kids will! Give them a washcloth and have them scrub off that grime.
6. Tight Corners
If you have cumbersome furniture that's hard to move, and a corner that needs a a good dusting (or cobwebs clearing — no judgement!), your kiddo is probably just the right size to get in there and clean it. They'll be able to get into the nooks and crannies better than you and will put your cleaning to shame. (Just make sure that any heavy pieces of furniture are 100% secure and won't tip over on your child!)
7. Floor Lamp Bases
After you've gone through and dusted the tops of your lamps, have your little one dust the base of the floor lamps to clear them of any residual dust. Just make sure the lamp is secure and won't tip over on your kiddo.
8. Window Sills
If you have tall windows, your window sills are probably just the right height for your little one to clean. Have them wipe down the sills and clear them of dirt, dust, and probably some little handprints.
9. The Family Shoe Rack
No matter how tidy you are, chances are good your family shoe rack is a hot mess. Have your kiddo gather the shoes, pair them up, and put them back on the shelf in an orderly, organized pattern.
10. Oven And Dishwasher Fronts
Your appliances could probably use a good wipe down (even if they don't need it, hey, it's a job to keep your kiddo busy). Have them wipe things down to get rid of handprints, dried water spots, or food.
11. The Garden Bed
Do you know what kids love to do? Play in the dirt. Give them what they want by having them pull weeds in the yard and garden beds. To help them pull from the root, give them a little crash course on how to properly pull the weed before letting them go off on their own. Pro tip: Make sure you also point out what not to pull (like those annuals that are about to sprout).
12. Tough Spots On The Floor
Once again, their little (seemingly invincible) knees come in handy with cleaning tough spots on the floors. Before you mop/steam your non-carpeted floors, have your kiddo crawl around and scrub off any tough spots to make your job a little easier. The team work will have your floors sparkling.
Meagan Messuri, B.S., AMS certified lower elementary guide
Richard Peterson, CFE, chief academic officer at Kiddie Academy