The school holidays are always a test of parenting skills; they’re a balancing act of keeping the kids entertained while seamlessly staying on top of the housework. Play dates, days out, late lunches, scooter rides and movie nights all conspire to pull you away from the things that need doing around the home. And when the weather’s bad there’s the added challenge of keeping them occupied indoors: cue cookery sessions, dressing-up, crafting and… household chores. Yes, you read right, household chores.
Our list of kiddie-friendly cleaning tasks could be a lifesaver if you’re running out of creative ideas or in danger of disappearing under a pile of holiday mess! You may need to adjust the list, depending on the age and maturity of your little people, but it’s a great base to work from and can form the basis of a family routine that goes way beyond the holidays.
And, don’t worry, getting the kids to help with the housework isn’t cheating. You’ll be teaching them important life-skills, including responsibility, managing time and taking initiative, plus you’ll be spending quality time together doing something practical and fun. That’s got to be better than the TV or iPad, hasn’t it?
From early on playing the ‘putting away’ game with your kids after playtime will be a lifesaver. Something as simple as asking them to find as many red toys as they can before you count to ten makes tidying up fun for them and less hassle for you. All you need for this game is patience and good storage.
Just think, no more stray Lego pieces to cripple you in the night!
Teaching kids to make the bed can be fun for you and is a milestone for them. From the naturally neat who like it ‘just right’ to those who always get tangled in the covers, after a few guided lessons children quickly pick it up and develop their own way of doing it.
Before long you’ll be hearing that wonderful phrase: “I don’t neeeeeeed help!”
Being visual learners, any chores that can be made into colour games are ideal for younger children. But, be careful! Once they find out why you must separate the reds from the whites it will become their goal to dye your best white blouse pink!
Whilst this is a great way of introducing kids to care for something other than themselves, they are easily distracted, so don’t rely on them to remember every day.
For older children, caring for a healthy plant can be extremely rewarding, especially if it blooms. In the same way, teaching the kids to give your pet some basic commands at mealtimes can fill them with a great sense of achievement too.
Kids are really good at collecting… stuff. From Kinder Egg toys to odd Barbie shoes and cars missing wheels, toys can accumulate quickly creating unwanted clutter in kids’ bedrooms. However, coaxing them to part with those unwanted or unloved toys can be very difficult!
Try this. Together choose a charity that accepts donations of good quality, used toys and books – local hospices or animal charities will have shops in your neighbourhood. Once a month, sort through the toy clutter and donate items to your chosen charity. The kids will delight in the thought of helping others and feel better about parting with their toys.
One usually reserved for a sunny day! Kids love water so getting them to help with washing the car shouldn’t be a chore for you. True, it inevitably ends up in a water fight but it gets the job done.
Kids enjoy setting the table as they can enjoy the fruits of their labour straight away – gaining heaps of praise from Mum and Dad. Teaching them the correct way to set a table is a useful left-skill and helps them learn left from right.
It also reinforces the importance of sitting down to eat at a table as a family – something sadly in decline these days.
A great alternative to indoors messy play, gardening is something the kids will need no encouragement to get stuck in with. However, the garden is a dangerous place for youngsters so make sure you supervise their activities and give then simple jobs to do – tidying, brushing and watering are all fun and helpful.
Getting out in the garden is also a great way to introduce kids to plants and garden wildlife – just hope you aren’t squeamish about bugs!
Image courtesy of Aqua Mechanical, 2016, via Flickr.