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8 Kid-Friendly Cleaning Hacks Every Parent Should Know

How to get your kids onboard and excited about cleaning up

We shared how to get your kids to give their playroom the Marie Kondo treatment. But once the decluttering is done, how do you and your family maintain your newly neat space? We brainstormed the best cleaning hacks for parents to get kids on board to help around the house long after the spring cleaning season is over.

1. Make Cleaning a Game
An easy way to motivate your little ones is to make chores into a game. Make a contest where the kiddo who finishes their list of chores the fastest wins control over the remote control for the night. Or, set a timer and challenge your child to finish his or her task before the timer goes off.

2. Set the Mood with Music
Snow White never had Spotify—but if she did, we bet she’d use it to set the mood and whistle while she worked. Crank up the stereo, and blast your kids’ favorite tunes while picking up toys or folding laundry. Kids can channel their inner rock star and air guitar with the duster or find a dance partner in Mom’s broom.

3. Mix Your Own Clean Cleaning Solutions
Wary of the hidden chemicals lurking in many cleaning supplies? Consider brewing up your own all-natural cleaning products, and enlist your kid to help you play scientist. Your little one will love creating potions to use around the house. Plenty of safe recipes are available online—from all-purpose cleaners to scrubs to mold removers.

4. Dance Away the Dust
If your kiddo fell in love with ice-skating after the hockey season, attach dust rags to their slippers, and let them choreograph a routine. All that sliding around will be just as good as Swiffering—but discourage any attempts at triple axels.

5. Play I Spy…
A timeless childhood game is “I Spy,” but a cleaning-focused twist will help Mom spy the floor better under all those toys. Tell your babe that you spy an out-of-place item of a certain color. When guessing an object in the room, your child has to put it away before you’ll say “yes” or “no.” Keep going until they put away the item you had in mind. Then pick a new item to spy until everything is put away.

6. Dive In
What kid doesn’t love a good pile to jump into? During the fall, kids can rake up leaves in the yard and roll around in the crunchy mounds. This cleaning hack version is an indoor, year-round alternative. Have your kids separate loads of clean laundry into piles, either by color or family member, and let them roll around in them for a bit before you fold the clothes.

7. Use Boards to Track Their Progress
One of Marie Kondo’s key organization tips is to keep every family member accountable for keeping a clean house. Hang up a chart where you can track chores for your kids. Use a magnetic board, so that you can move magnets from the to-do list to the completed column, or create a monthly chart with stickers for each chore accomplished.

Consider posting pictures of each task until your kid gets used to where dishes go in the kitchen or how to fold a T-shirt. Once they’ve completed their tasks, reward your little at the end of each week. We love special trips to the movies or a double scoop of ice cream.

8. Play Pretend
Put on Cinderella, and every time the princess cleans, tell your kiddos to copy her and scrub, sweep and dust around the house. Or they can “go fishing” in their bedroom (i.e., picking up all the stuffed animals and pillows off the floor and reeling them back into the boat—erm, bed). A handheld dust buster—the perfect size for littles—can become an anteater that needs to suck up as much as possible to fill its tummy.

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This article was originally published in May 2019.

Image: iStock