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Summer Chores are probably not at the top of your kids’ summer bucket list — but with these summer cleaning tips, you and your kids can have fun and keep the house clean. We have partnered with Merry Maids to bring you these chore tips.
You can catch more flies with honey — and you can get more chores out of kids with an extra helping of fun.
I think it is pretty ironic that I spend so much time writing about cleaning and organizing when I actually don’t enjoy either. I would much rather be crafting or baking with the kids than cleaning up the messes we create.
But as much as I don’t like cleaning, it is simply a fact of life. We aren’t doing our kids any favors by not helping them accept their responsibilities and learn the skills they need to succeed in their own homes.
So, if we have to clean, we might as well have fun, right? And, if we are energized with music, games, and some extra motivation, the cleaning will be faster and definitely more fun!
Summer Chore FUN
When summer hits, your house is usually at the eye of the storm.
From play dates where the kids pull out every toy in the house and leave them scattered throughout the house to wet or sandy footprints trailing through your living room, we parents can spend our entire summers running around cleaning up after our kids.
To stop our summer madness and help get our summer cleaning routines back under control, we are sharing expert cleaning tips from Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids home cleaning expert.
“During the summer, parents can struggle to find a steady routine to fill their kids’ day with fun activities, while also keeping a clean household,” says Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids home cleaning expert. “By simply combining the two, turning chores into games and offering small rewards, parents can get kids excited about cleaning and, at the same time, help them learn how to take on more responsibilities.”
If you need some ideas on age appropriate chores, here is a downloadable chore list with chore ideas for different age groups.
CLICK HERE to download this FREE Chore List categorized by kids ages.
We always love Merry Maids’ creative cleaning tips and this summer they have come up with “Merry Maids Kid Ambassador” tips to provide us with fun ideas for getting kids involved and excited about cleaning up the most common kid-made summer messes.
Everybody, Clean Up
Summmer time cleaning calls for team work. When everyone is home, it’s important to divide and conquer the household chores. Working as a team also makes the chores go faster!
Start with a chore chart and assign three age-appropriate tasks to each child, such as making beds, organizing toys, tidying up their room, sorting laundry. Older kids can even help with more complex chores.
Let kids decide which task they want to do first and set a timeframe for completion, like before lunch, so they free up the rest of their day for fun activities.
Our girls love to help out with our pets as part of their chores. Giving pets food and water, helping walk the dog, and grooming pets are perfect chores for kids.
Kids are always more agreeable when they feel in control. Letting the kids choose their tasks makes everyone happier.
Merry Maid also suggest to make the chores fun through “Pretend Play”, such as giving kids a mini cleaning bucket, gloves, a microfiber cloth and having them dress the part of a cleaning professional.
Mary Ann Jernigan, Merry Maids expert, also suggests having each chore equal a dollar amount kids can earn and spend on their favorite things. “If kids stick to the chart and complete chores for a week, take them on a fun field trip.”
Post Play Date Fun
We have perpetual play dates at our house. Whether my daughter is having her best friend over to play or Susan’s girls are here, most days include play dates.
While I love that the kids are having fun and burning off energy, play dates also mean bigger messes. Glitter from crafts, spilled drinks, ice pop stains, and toys and games left all over the floor turns my night into a marathon cleanup session.
At the end of a play date, plan a kiddie race to see who can clean the fastest. Keep a whistle and stopwatch ready and issue challenges like “pick up all the toys in red before the whistle.” By the end of the race, the clutter will vanish.
Merry Maids experts Kim Hinkly and Nancy Golino both suggest planning a cleaning dance party with the kids.
Set a goal to have their room or play area picked up by the end of the song. Of course dancing and laughing is a requirement.
For glitter spills, have the kids use a lint roller. For juice or ice pop stains on cloth, have them rub the wet area with ice cubes.
My kids especially like the whistle idea and we tried it out to see how fast we could clean up…
Clutter, Clutter Everywhere
With long days and relaxed routines, it can be easy to let get the clutter in the house get out of control. But don’t get overwhelmed — turn the clutter into a chance to play some games.
If you find your home in disarray after a long day of play, curb your urge to fuss and plan a treasure hunt instead. A treasure hunt with fun clues and a prize is the perfect way to get kids involved and reward them for their efforts.
Make note cards with easy clues that lead to a chore. Once each chore is complete, hand out another clue. At the end of the hunt, give a grand prize and runner-up prizes. The reward for parents? A clutter-free home.
Merry Maids experts Jane Santos and Tim Griess both recommend a “Toy Jail;” a basket where toys go if kids don’t pick them up and mom or dad have to clean up the clutter.
The toys can be returned to kids only when they finish their chores.
I especially love the idea of Toy Jail. When I made ours, the girls squealed, “Our toys aren’t going in there!” Perfect. It is just the motivation they need to pick up those toys.
Keep the Outdoors, Out
Sand, water, grass, dirt — with outdoor fun comes indoor mess, that is if kids insist on carrying the outdoors inside with them every time the run in and out the front door.
To avoid bringing sand, grass and dirt indoors, have kids do a doormat dance to wipe off their shoes. Another trick is to turn on the sprinklers and let kids run through to wash off any dirt or sand before entering the house. To minimize messes, eat outside and let kids help with cleanup afterwards. This is a fun way to enjoy the season and keep your home tidy.
We like to keep a towel handy for wiping off messes before they come in the house.
And extra dancing on the front mat is always a good idea.
Everything Must Go
Summer is the perfect time to round up the kids and get them to help you round up all the clutter. Yes, a yard sale or packing boxes for donation definitely requires team work.
The slower days of summer can also be great for decluttering the junk sitting in the attic and garage, and also teach kids essential organization skills. Decluttering is a great way for the whole family to feel more productive, get the house clean and make some well-deserved cash.
Host a fun family yard sale. Encourage kids to bring out old toys, clothes and other items they no longer need and sort into piles. Turn up the creativity by having the kids decorate flyers and distribute around the neighborhood, encouraging a sense of ownership.
Give age-appropriate tasks to kids on the day of the sale to help set-up and run the yard sale. Let them spend some of the money earned on a special treat such as a movie, a toy or a book. A yard sale allows the whole family to enjoy a beautiful summer day, have fun with neighbors and keep the home organized.
If you don’t want to host a whole yard sale, you can pack up boxes to donate to charity or give hand me down clothes and toys to friends with younger children. My kids grow so fast, we are in a constant cycle of donating used clothing.
We hope these “Merry Maids Kid Ambassador” tips help you and your kids get excited about summer chores. And if you need some extra help, Merry Maids cleaning experts are ready to create home cleaning plans customized for each household’s needs to ensure a consistent, reliable and thorough cleaning process every time.
To find the nearest Merry Maids location, visit merrymaids.com. Stay up-to-date on the latest Merry Maids news and tips by visiting Merry Maids’ Facebook page or following Merry Maids on Twitter.
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Written and photographed by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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