In a recent post, Doing Hard Things: Seven Easy Steps I Took to Get my Four Year Old to Clean our Bathrooms, I explained how I got my young kids to take on key chores around the house. It was a relatively pain-free transition but it did take several steps to accomplish. One of the most important steps is to make sure your the kids have the right tools. For us that meant kid friendly (and fun) cleaning products that were super easy to use.
Now I am usually too cheap to buy the pre-moistened cleaning wipes….I would rather use a bottle of vinegar water and an old towel. But for now I want to make sure the kids have the least number of steps to accomplish their jobs. We will slowly transition into less “fancy” and more environmentally friendly cleaning products. So here are my recommendations – please note that some of these products can be dangerous if children get them in their eyes or digest them so make substitutions as you see fit.
Chore Shopping List:
- Small Bucket for each child to carry cleaning supplies.
- Disposable toilet cleaning wand – Not the most environmentally friendly product but makes cleaning a toilet with a four-year-old actually manageable. He loves seeing the water turn blue as he scrubs.
- Swiffer Wet Jet with the wood floor cleaning solution – We have a combination of wood and tile floors in our house. The kids argue over who gets to Swiffer the house. This leaves my floors smelling great but make sure your kids use the correct squirt-to-wiping ratio. If left to his own devices, my little guy would squirt the whole bottle of cleaning solution out at once.
- All-purpose disinfecting wipes – We use these for everything! Eventually I want them to use old rags with spray bottles of vinegar water – but for now these make cleaning easy.
- Mini kid-sized broom with dustpan – The kids use the large broom outside, but these are great for small messes around the house plus are really cute!
- Fun all-purpose scrub brush – The kids love using these fun brushes that look like little dolls. They are great for scrubbing the tub and sinks.
- All purpose foam cleaner – Use your judgment on what type of cleaning products your kids can safely use.
- Windex wipes
- Easy-grip magic erasers for tub – One of these plus a little elbow grease removes the grime and soap scum.
- Disposable Dusters
- Magic erasers
- Old hand towels or cut-up bath towels
- Step stool or small step ladder to reach hard spots
For two kids plus plenty of refills I spent about $100 at a “big box” discount store. This is what we paid our cleaning service each week – so yes I will consider this money well spent!
Make sure you take the kids shopping with you so they are part of the process. Get them excited and proud about their accomplishments. You will know you are on the right track when you overhear them bragging to a friend how they are responsible for the laundry.
So what about your house? What responsibilities are your kids taking over? Any hints or tips you can share to make the transition easier?