Growing up, domestic chores were an absolute expectation in my house. My parents were a lot more old-school than I am, so our tasks were distinctly split by gender. K, my sister and I, tackled anything in the home. This included dishes, sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, gathering trash, laundry, cooking, and packing lunches. We also pitched in outside as well, maintaining the almost four acres of land and our home. We painted the deck, planted and tended the garden, transplanted fruit trees, pruned bushes, and more. My brother also did his chores outside, though I'm not sure that they were any different from what I did outside as well.
All that hard work as a child kind of backfired, if I'm being honest. Cleaning my home has become a chore - and I resent chores. They take me away from my family, they cut into my leisure time, and they make my body ache. So instead of asking my kids to do everything around the house and making it their "job", I've decided to reframe it. Lord knows I don't want them struggling with the same resentment I have. No, I want them to see cleaning for what it is - a worthwhile act of self-care that we give to ourselves.
So I've tried to make cleaning a fun group activity. Shep knows that if he makes a spill, I fully expect him to clean it up. I will even whip out that mom-is-super-serious stern voice if need be. But he does get a satisfaction out of properly and fully cleaning up a mess. I can tell because once his room is clean, he gets so excited he immediately wrecks it all over again. *cue wine*
In an effort to keep him more involved and to help him enjoy a job well done, I've given him his own cleaning kit. It's got wipes, a spray bottle, and a tiny broom and dustpan. Will I let him take lead on cleanup before my mom comes to visit? No. But I will ask him to help me tidy his own room. And while we work, I'll hand him a few kid-friendly cleaning supplies to pitch in.
Just Plain Water
Remember when we talked about the difference between clean, sanitary, and disinfected? Let me be super clear here - if it's potent enough to kill any bacteria (so, to sanitize or disinfect), your kid should probably not be handling it. There's one notable exception we'll get to later but for now, just keep it to "clean".
And to clean most hard surfaces from most grime, just plain old water will work great! Toss a microfiber cloth at your kiddo and let them scrub to their heart's content.
This was an "aha!" moment for me. Shep loves pushing buttons and playing with mechanical toys, so he instantly gravitated toward the handheld vacuum at his aunt and uncle's house. PERFECT! It was bagless so it made fishing out any small objects he caught easy to retrieve. Plus, it's a great way to sweep up all the bits of cereal he leaves scattered about my house. Bonus if it's cordless - then there's zero supervision required! (Mostly...)
Force Of Nature
This stuff is so cool and I won't lie, I am dying to try it myself! Basically a blend of water, salt, and vinegar - Force Of Nature is safe to use on literally anything. Toilets? Sure! High chairs? Of course! Teething toys for your tiny little one? Heck yes. The blend undergoes a chemical reaction in the specialty bottle and stays active as a sanitizer AND disinfectant for up to two weeks! Now if I can just convince my husband we need to buy it.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this list. I'll include my personal favorite supplies and my experience with them!
Do your kids help out around the house? How old were they when you started expecting them to clean up? Tell me how you got cleaning kiddos on Twitter @pi3sguarpi3.