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How to get your kids to help with the housework

Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban concrete jungle of NYC. She writes Kids in the City Kids in the City a weekly column and blog for the Staten Island Advance, contributes to SheKnows, Time Out NY Kids Time Out N...

Ways to make cleaning fun

If you're one of those moms soldiering through the dirty dishes and clothes on your own you might want to get your kids in on the act. If for no other reason than it will lessen your workload, teach them a bit of responsibility and you might actually have some fun in the process.

Check out these tips that are guaranteed to take the drudgery out of your cleaning routine and encourage your kids to pitch in with the housework.

According to The Maids Home Services, moms shouldn't expect their kids to use adult tools to clean. Instead, they offer some easy ways to assemble kid friendly tool alternatives. Use an ice-cream pail for mopping chores or shorten an old mop handle or broom to make it kid-sized. Fill a squirt gun from a solution of a gallon of water and a drop of dish soap and let kids squirt windows and mirrors and wipe dry with paper towels. Moms can also cover kids' hands and arms with dad's old athletic socks, squirt the socks until lightly damp with an all-purpose cleaning solution, and send them off to dust around the house.

Make cleaning a game

To get their kids excited about cleaning, moms can give their kids grill tongs and challenge them to pick up toys and put them in a toy box or bin only using the utensils. Moms can keep score and see who wins! The Maids Home Services also advises moms to crank up some fun music to help their kids get their groove on as they boogie around the house cleaning.

Create a reward system

According to certified professional organizer, Scott Roewer, president of Solutions by Scott, moms can encourage their kids to clean by offering a reward. Mr. Roewer suggests dropping beads in a jar, for all tasks completed and the child with the most objects in their jar during a specified time period earns a special privilege. Perhaps the child will get to choose the family's Friday night dinner or they'll get to stay up an hour longer on the weekend.

Allow your children to choose what they want to clean

Mr. Roewer advises moms to make a deck of cards (out of 3-inch by 5-inch index cards) and put chores on one side of the cards and decorate the other side for fun. Moms should also include some cards with sayings like "Get out of jail free" or "Day off for the queen" or "Sorry, draw again." Moms should then let their kids pull the cards out of a stack to determine their chore for the day.

Let the little ones help sort and group

Early elementary age children especially like sorting and grouping objects says Mr. Roewer. Therefore moms should encourage them to take on tasks like sorting their own laundry into lights, darks, bights and whites, and helping empty the dishwasher of forks, spoons and knives.

Clean with your kids

Moms should ask their kids to help them instead of telling them to go clean up the living room, says Mr. Roewer. Moms can also use the time they're cleaning together, as an opportunity to have a conversation with their child about their day at school, or what's going on with their friends.

More cleaning tips for moms

5 Ways to stress less about housework
10 Ways to clean faster
How to clean wood floors

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