Although you may enjoy the peace and calm that comes along with standing over the kitchen sink and scrubbing dishes or gently pushing the vacuum back and forth across the living room carpet, your toddler will probably be a bit more reluctant when it comes to doing chores and cleaning up.
There are a few steps you can take, however, to make cleaning up more fun for your toddler.
1. Start Small
It’s safe to say that toddlers can get easily overwhelmed.
Spend enough time wrangling a toddler, and you get good at being kind but firm. Like your child, you must be doggedly single-minded when it matters.
So, the first step that you need to take in order to make cleaning up more enjoyable for your toddler is to make it doable—that’s it—and you can achieve this by splitting up larger cleaning tasks into smaller chunks.
For instance, rather than simply asking your child to clean their entire bedroom, why not start by just asking them to make their bed? Once your toddler has successfully made their bed, then you can gradually give them more cleaning tasks that will eventually equal out to their entire bedroom being cleaned. Ask them to pick up any toys or books off the ground and place them back where they belong; ask them to dust their shelves and nightstand; ask them to throw out any garbage that might be hiding beneath their bed.
Your toddler will have a tidy bedroom in no time!
2. Make a Chore Wheel
There’s nothing more exciting than a game of chance and constructing a colorful and entrancing chore wheel for your toddler to spin every day just might be the ticket to convincing them that—yes—cleaning can be fun. It might even be fun to invite your toddler to help make the chore wheel with you. That way, the wheel will be sure to have plenty of colors, designs, and shapes that your toddler finds enjoyable.
A chore wheel will ultimately help ensure that your toddler associates cleaning up with fun right from the beginning, while also giving them something to look forward to every day.
The tricky part will be getting them to enjoy the actual cleaning up part that comes after spinning the chore wheel.
3. Incorporate Games into Cleaning Up
Since we’re already on the topic of games, your toddler will likely respond better to their cleaning duties if you make some kind of game out of it.
Some good games to incorporate into your toddler’s cleaning schedule might be you racing against them to see who can tidy up the living room or dining room in the shortest amount of time; playing a game of “Simon says” using cleaning as the theme of the game (“Simon says put the TV remotes back on the shelf where they belong”); or, if you have more than one toddler running around your house, create teams and have them compete against each other in a three-legged clean up race.
Depending on how fun you make these games, cleaning up might become your toddler’s new favorite pastime.
4. Turn on Some Tunes
The thought of cleaning in silence can be absolutely dreadful to some people. Now, just imagine being your toddler and cleaning in absolute silence, and the dread grows exponentially.
Why not crank up some toddler-friendly tunes and dance through the chores?
Your toddler will likely appreciate the music and instantly become more open to cleaning up and doing a few chores. You might even get in a laugh or two while you and your toddler are shaking your booties to the beats, waving your arms in the air like you just don’t care, and jitterbugging all over the house.
And—at the end of the day—your home will be sparkling clean, too.
5. Bribe Them
This is no secret when it comes to getting your toddler to do a few chores: Bribe or reward them.
Your toddler will probably be more than happy to help out with the chores around the house if there is a little something in it for them. Even as parents, we can appreciate a good bribe now and then, right?
Now, the bribe does not necessarily have to be a crisp five-dollar bill (though this will surely catch your toddler’s attention, as well). Instead, you might simply offer your toddler an afternoon playing in the park in exchange for making their bed, or a movie night with popcorn in exchange for dusting off the bookshelves in the living room.
You might even bribe them with a treat like homemade chocolate chip cookies.
If you go with the cookies, make sure that you let your toddler aid with the baking, the cleaning up that follows, and—of course—give them a couple cookies for their hard work!
Reference and citation:
- Early Childhood Education Center
- Spring Cleaning Tasks for Kids To Help With By Age