I am one of those parents who believes that kids NEED to learn how to do age-appropriate chores while they grow up.
And not just those "pick up after yourself" kind of jobs -- but the BIG, heavy, put-some-elbow-grease-into-it kind of work.
I know this is not always a universal belief but hear me out for a second ...
When we were all younger, we didn't grow up with many of the conveniences that our kids have today.
Some of us grew up in a house without a dishwasher.
Some of us had to help hang the laundry outside to dry.
NONE of us had the convenience of texting a friend to complain about "all those chores" we had to get done before we could hang out together.
Honestly, sometimes I get the feeling that because of all the conveniences that exist, kids think that things will just 'automatically' get done for them -- but that won't be the case.
One day, your kids will leave the house and find out that they won't be able to afford a cook, housekeeper and lawn service on their income (not that most of us can afford those -- but as parents, we often tend to serve in these roles ;)
So at our house, we have this saying "Everyone lives here; everyone chips in to help"!
That goes for weekly chores and also the big, once a year jobs like Spring Cleaning too!
How Your Kids Can Help with Spring Cleaning
Spring Break at our house includes movies, a visit to the zoo, a fun day trip, lots of reading and some spring cleaning too!
As you can see from the list I included below, we don't ask them to spend hours cleaning -- on the contrary, we are BIG believers in childhood being a time of play & wonder -- but it's also a time to instill some important life skills.
I know what you're thinking -- will they complain?
But probably not.
It's been my experience both at home, at school, with scout troops, etc. that kids actually don't mind helping out.
So take advantage of that desire for independence and put it to good use!
Spring Cleaning List by Age
As my husband always tells me about most anything in life -- "It's all about the gear!" so be sure to have a few kid-sized cleaning tools around the house! Here are a few of the items that are well-used in our home along with affiliate links so you can learn more about each one:
We've found that having a small broom is huge in getting the kids to help sweep up messes both inside and outdoors. Try the Little Helper Broom Set which has both a kid-sized broom and a hand broom with dustpan.
And I've learned that having a Small Cleaning Caddy for the kids to carry is big help too! They can keep dust rags, spray bottles and other cleaning supplies in one spot as they walk around the house.
If you're big on outdoor pick-up, try the Toolsmith Kids Garden Tool Set -- it includes a leaf rake, garden rake, shovel and hoe for wanna bee gardeners :) Plus, it's always safer to give kids smaller versions of these normally heavy and bulky outdoor tools.
Print your own Spring Cleaning checklist for your kids!
Most kids like to help clean & prep their outdoor toys for spring/summer, they enjoy using a spray bottle or the hose to clean the windows and they actually LOVE to show off how short their winter clothes are as they clean out their closet.
And big work means big energy and muscles -- I guarantee that they will want to carry the heavy stuff and show Mom & Dad how they are older and can help out.
Related Post: Books that Inspire Kids to Help Clean
To Pay or Not to Pay?
I always get this question, so I'll answer it up front -- "Do we pay our kids to do chores like these?"
They get nothing -- except room, board, our ever-loving gratitude for a job well done AND the skills to be able to take care of themselves once they leave the nest.
Why do we choose not to pay them?
Because we are horrible, mean parents ;)
Hee hee ...
No, we choose not to pay them because we all live in this house and we all mess it up (and MAN, can we mess up a house!).
So we feel that it's the joint responsibility OF THE WHOLE FAMILY to keep things clean & tidy.
And we don't get any flack from them on it.
It was an expectation we set at a young age so now they know it's just expected of them. I really think that's the key to any chore/job/payment system that you choose to implement -- consistency within your home.
Help with laundry at home? -- Not nearly as much fun as when we visit a historic site ;)
Ok, enough about the money -- just for the record, I'm not opposed to paying kids to help around the house at all! But since we've never done that, we're sticking with what works for us.
Just remember, consistency with chores and jobs (both what you expect and what you pay for) are a biggie!
In addition to all the fun stuff we share on the blog, I also like to share some of the down-to-earth things that really help us all to raise strong, responsible kids.
You can find all types of Life Skill ideas & activities on our Pinterest board:
So this year, think about making spring cleaning a family affair!
Remember, the faster the cleaning gets done, the more time everyone has to do something fun together!
More Life Skills for Kids: