Tidy house, tidy mind.
Mary Poppins once said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” And what better way to help children love chores than by injecting a little excitement! Not only can tasks become an enjoyable pastime, but by instilling positive feelings towards cleaning, children can also gain numerous benefits. Involving kids from a young age with chores is a great way to boost confidence and make them feel valued.
By keeping your living space clean, youngsters will also start to understand discipline and harmony in the home. Something that’ll come in handy for the teen years and for when they have a pad of their own as well! Along with learning a sense of accomplishment, teamwork and responsibility, getting children to help can also encourage independence.
To get you started, try these hacks to make cleaning something to look forward to rather than a “But do I have to?”.
Remember that familiar phrase, “No playing until you’ve finished washing the dishes!” Associating chores with a parent nagging might only add to any feelings of resistance. So, one way to combat this is to eliminate your voice from the tasks at hand.
Use some of the fun ideas in the next few slides (or add some of your own) to create a daily/weekly checklist or an easy-to-read schedule, so children can see that tasks are evenly distributed between all of you and fair.
How to: There are a wealth of templates available online, but you can easily make your own if you’d prefer. For inspiration try the online DIY and crafts website The Spruce Crafts. There are tasks for different age ranges and ready-made printables. Once you have your visuals, attach them to the fridge or notice board so everyone can see and tick off their actions (stickers are a fun way to mark complete tasks).
Don’t forget to reward your kids if all chores have been completed. Perhaps by giving small weekly rewards, or learn that patience is a virtue by waiting until the end of the month for a larger prize (day trip to Disney or Ocean Park, picnic at the beach, favourite dinner, or a trip to the cinema perhaps?).
Read more: 50 Things To Do With Kids In Hong Kong
Floors in Hong Kong tend to be fuzz-free hardwood, tiled or laminate which just begs to be used for skidding about on! But this also means large surfaces that are magnets for dust. Of course, we’re not recommending this cleaning game to be done unsupervised, but this activity will definitely get the kids’ blood pumping! Just make sure any sharp edges or breakables are well protected.
How to: All you need is a pair of fluffy socks, floor polish (or whichever cleaner is needed, provided it’s non-toxic) and a lot of energy. Perhaps grab the knee or elbow pads just in case if you’re concerned. Have a competition to see who can collect the largest dust-bunnies with their feet. Ready, set, slide!
A great one for younger kids, but also adaptable to your teens, this activity will have your children’s book collection looking more organised than the public library. You can also use this method for CD or magazine collections (if you still have them).
How to: Depending on your child’s age, have them sort books into alphabetical order. You can decide whether to go for the author’s name or the name of the story, but it’s a great task to help children learn their alphabet – as well as patience!
A variation of this for younger children is to store items in the cupboard by size. Try stacking food containers or pots and pans inside each other, or even sorting books and magazine by height (stacking or standing on a shelf).
Read more: Our Top Book Picks By Age: From 4 To 14+
No matter if you loved or loathed sports class, you’ll definitely get a kick out of this version as tasks will get done super fast – with the added benefit of keeping fit at the same time! Ideal for kids of all ages, including parents who find it hard to get to the gym…
How to: Make a pack of cleaning cards with tasks such as “vacuum the living room”, “make your bed”, “clean the bathtub”, “load the washing machine”, “put your clothes away” etc. Get into two teams (or you could do this individually) and each pick a card or two. Decide who will start their tasks first, then who will be second, third, etc. Grab a timer and a whistle and go, go, go!
Once the first person has completed their errand they have to “tag” the next for them to start and so on. Once all tasks are finished, blow the whistle and see which team finishes first.
An alternative version of this is to have everyone do their tasks alongside each other. Whoever completes theirs fastest wins.
Cranking up the stereo with your favourite tunes is always a great way to get the endorphins pumping. So make it part of the cleaning routine as well. This can be done with most chores but we’ll use dusting as an example. As for the perfect song, how about Queen, “Another One Bites the Dust”? (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)
How to: While you’re all busy dusting away (using non-toxic cleaning spray of course), have your favourite tunes playing alongside. Every now and then press pause on the music and everyone has to freeze (just like musical statues)!
Have a sticker chart to hand with each child’s name listed, whoever gets to five stars first wins a little prize. Just don’t “freeze” for too long otherwise you’ll be at it all afternoon! (Did you know there’s a kids’ cleaning playlist on Spotify?)
Let’s face it, sorting clean socks into pairs and putting them away is probably one of the most tedious jobs to do. So take away the boredom factor and inject a little fun! Similar to the relay race instructions, why not have a race to see who can pair the most socks within a set time-frame?
How to: Set your stopwatch to 30 seconds or one minute, and see how many pairs of socks your cleaning ninjas can fold in this time. Don’t forget to blow the whistle when the clock runs down! Stopwatch races can be adapted to most tasks (especially when folding clean washing by type), with just one child (or more) to add a sense of healthy competition.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and updated in February 2021.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of TeroVesalainen via Pixabay, image 2 courtesy of Gabrielle Henderson via Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of olia danilevich via Pexels, image 4 courtesy of Gabby K via Pexels, image 5 courtesy of TBIT via Pixabay, image 6 courtesy of Nick Page via Unsplash.