5 Home Cleaning Skills To Teach Kids
I want my kids to help out around the house all year long, but one of my favorite things about summer is that there’s more room and flexibility in the daily schedule to make helping happen without it feeling super onerous. Part of how we implement summer structure in a not-heavy-handed way is to have Laurel and Violet identify something they will do for their brain, their body, and the house each day.
Through my summer of life skills series, I have shared a lot of specifics (see my previous posts on how to negotiate, library life skills, public transit life skills, green kitchen life skills, grocery store life skills, bathroom life skills, home safety life skills, out-in-the-world life skills, school lunch skills), but today I want to talk about general home cleaning skills to teach kids. If your kid can operate a device, they can follow instructions and do all of these things!
1. General tidying
No joke, my kids joke that one of my most common phrases is, “Hey, let’s tidy up!” And the thing is, I realized that as with anything else, you have to give kids specific directives because they just may not see mess the same way adults do. For example, great tidying tasks for kids include putting shoes away in shoe storage and putting books, games, and art supplies away. Violet also really likes to fluff pillows and fold throws! Also, one way to make this fun and silly is I’ll say, “OK, let’s do a 7-minute tidy up to music and see if we can get this whole floor straightened up!” Putting a timer on it shows it won’t take long and the timed element makes it seem fun to run around and speed tidy.
2. Sweep (and mop if necessary)
Even though we have a no-shoe rule in the house (#soAsian), between dust bunnies, hair, and crumbs, sweeping is a frequent task. I recently switched over to, and am loving, the 2-in-1 Full Circle Mighty Mop. It works as a floor duster or mop, swivels 360, and you can pop off the microfiber head and toss it in the wash. It came in super handy when Laurel helped me prepare my mom’s rental apartment for showing! I also love the Full Circle clean team brush & dustpan. This is great for smaller kids (for whom the duster/mop handle might be awkward); it hangs or stands for easy storage and just makes dust bunny taming so easy. We have one upstairs and downstairs, which is really awesome because OMG I shed so much hair in my office and bathroom alone.
If you’ve got rugs in your house, you will need a vacuum and I will tell you from experience that kids can totally run the vacuum. I think I taught Violet how to use one when she was 7-years-old. Vacuuming is not my favorite job so I live my best life every time I have one of my kids vacuum!
4. Wash dishes
We use a dishwasher (see my green kitchen life skills post for why it’s important to teach kids to load it properly) but also do a lot of dishes by hand, especially since we cook and bake a lot. Teach your kids to help out with dishes (these Full Circle walnut scrubbers are awesome!) and I’ll also share that we have a rule in our house that if the kids bake something non-essential they are responsible for washing all the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, whereas if they help make a family meal, I will do the dishes. It’s a fabulous, effective arrangement!
5. Wipe down surfaces
I talked about this in my green kitchen life skills + bathroom life skills posts, but ditch the paper towels and start using reusable cloths! These Full Circle super absorbent cleaning cloths get daily use in our house; they’re great for wiping down surfaces, spot cleaning the floor, and also general surface dusting. For tougher messes, try the Full Circle lean and mean scrub brush. Laurel recently made a delicious focaccia (it’s on the rise in the photo below!) which meant there was sticky, hardened dough to deal with in various places. The scrub brush pulled it all right up!
Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Full Circle, purveyor of amazing eco-friendly home care products. I’m thrilled that sharing about Full Circle worked so beautifully—and dare I say organically!—with my summer of life skills series!
Looking to level up other life skills? Check out these posts on how to negotiate, library life skills, public transit life skills, green kitchen life skills, grocery store life skills, bathroom life skills, home safety life skills, out-in-the-world life skills, school lunch skills. And here’s a video version of this post if listening/watching is preferable!