Spring has arrived and with it, the need to freshen up the home. Spring cleaning is a tradition that has endured so long in part because of the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes from a yearly purge-and-cleanse routine.
But that sense of accomplishment doesn’t have to be limited only to the adults in the home. It’s been established that children also benefit from the inclusion and teamwork, as well as the cleanliness itself, when they’re allowed to participate in easy chores around the house.
A beginner’s chore that’s often recommended for tots ages two through four is helping to make their beds in the morning. For some, this may simply mean making sure the pillow is at the head of the bed and the blanket is not wadded up in a corner. But for older children it can be rewarding to begin the very start of their day with an act of tidying.
Another favorite that older children can get in on is taking care of any household pets. Spring cleaning is a good opportunity to introduce children to the idea that it’s good to cleanse areas of the home, like the animal’s dining space, now and then. Children can be shown that, just like with humans, it’s good to wash out dishes with hot water and some soap.
Picking up toys is another good habit for children to learn early so that they have that set of cleanup skills later in life. While it may be necessary even daily to put away toys strewn around the home, spring cleaning is a chance to take it beyond that and introduce the concept of sorting.
During sorting, children can decide which of their playthings are still in good condition, get played with often, and are well-loved. This may need to be split up into several different sessions, to avoid getting overwhelmed. Then, any toys that aren’t being used or are damaged can be put aside for donations or discarded, respectively. This will leave more space for new playthings or it can simply offer children a larger area to play in.
In general, children tend to be left out of the larger spring cleaning chores. It can help them feel capable, included and important to be given their own assignments, as well as providing occupation for them so that the tasks which aren’t child-friendly can be done in relative peace.