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Teaching your kids to clean

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Who needs a housekeeper?

There comes a time in every family when you must teach your children the ins and outs of housework. Even at a young age, kids can benefit from learning how to pick up after themselves. You may think your child is too young to handle certain tasks, but by starting out small and building on their newly acquired skills, you'll have your kids helping you out in no time.


Choose chores wisely

When deciding to incorporate household chores into your children's lives, you must first decide what they can physically do. If you have kids of all ages, then you'll want to hand out different tasks, but always take into consideration their age before assigning them.

It's suggested that kids ages three to five years old can make their bed, pick up toys, feed pets and dust. Children six to 8 eight years old can help set the table, put away groceries, fold laundry and take out the trash. Kids nine to 12 years old can wash the car, load the dishwasher, vacuum and help with yard work. For older children, such as teenagers, you can have them do laundry, cook meals and clean the bathroom.

Be realistic

When your kids first start to participate in housework, you shouldn't have the highest expectations. Don't expect your three-year-old to make hospital corners as he/she makes the bed. Instead you should pay attention to the effort they are putting forth and praise them for their attempts.

Starting with the bathroom

These safe tasks will give kids a feeling of importance and teach them responsibility for helping around the house. Ask your youngest children to gather dirty towels to put in the hamper or fold fresh towels from the dryer while you're cleaning the tub. Since cleaning the tub and/or shower requires powerful cleaning that cuts easily through soap scum and grime with less physical work, a product like Scrubbing Bubbles® Action Scrubber™ would be best to use.

Encourage your teenagers to maintain a clean the bathroom. The counter in particular can easily get dirty with loose make-up, toothpaste and other leftover gunk from products. Make Scrubbing Bubbles® Flushable Bathroom Wipes easily accessible and have your teen wipe bathroom surfaces down daily. These wipes allow for quick cleaning and maintenance that doesn't require much time at all. Once they're done, simply flush the used wipe down the toilet and say goodbye to germs and bacteria.

Reward system

To help encourage your children to participate in household chores, consider a reward system. It can be as simple as placing stars on a chart for young children, or if they're a little older, you can start giving them an allowance. This will prompt them to want to do more chores. But remember, if you start handing out money, you'll want to be careful that they don't expect cash every time they clear the table or pick their clothes off the floor.

Keep it interesting

Like everything else in life, chores can become boring. Once your kids master putting everything in its place, introduce a new age appropriate chore and focus on that one. You can keep a chart and rotate the jobs they do each week to keep it from becoming too monotonous.

Another way to keep it interesting is to build on what already interests your kids. If they like to be in the kitchen, let them help with the dishes or assist with preparing a meal. If they have a special affection for the family pet, assign them duties that pertain to your dog or cat.

Family time

Housework doesn't have to be a literal chore. To increase your child's willingness to help out, be creative and make it a family activity. Put on fun music, play I-Spy while picking up toys or make it a contest to see who can put away their clothes the fastest.

The bottom line is to make your kids feel like they are being a productive member of your family while having a good time. By doing this, you just might get your house spotless in no time!

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