My kids HATE cleaning! Sorry, hate is a bad word. They very much dislike cleaning!
Unfortunately I was not blessed with children that keep their room clean on their own, or pick up messes they leave laying on the living room floor, or scrape their plates into the trash when they're finished with dinner. Unfortunately I'm not the mom that instilled good cleaning habits in them when they were 2, or followed them around making sure they picked up their messes, or stuck to a chore chart religiously. (Though I have found a system that works for us which I will share later.)
I do however have great kids that mind me most of the time and usually only throw minor fits when I tell them to pick up. You know...giving me that look, the one where you would think you just told them the garbage truck blew up down the street and it's their job to go clean it up. Or the stomp, or the fall-on-the-floor-and-roll-around. Yeah, I've seen it all!
I know sometimes it seems like it would be easier to just do it yourself than to fight with the kiddos. In my almost 10 years of parenting (wow, has it been that long? I should be better at it then! LOL!) I have come up with a few tricks to make cleaning not seem like such a chore.
1. Give each kid a different job. If I send all four girls into the living room to clean, they usually end up playing. Or 2 clean and 2 play. With each kid alone in a different room it's not as much fun so they finish faster so they can go back to playing sooner.
2. Set the timer. Tell them they have XX amount of time to finish the job or they get in trouble. I always give a few more minutes than I think it should take.
3. To make #2 better, tell them that whatever time is left they can use as break time. If I use this option I make sure and set the time for several more minutes than it should take, that way they really feel like they've had a true break before I make them get back to work.
4. To make #3 even better, tell them you will add 5 or 10 minutes to whatever time is left for their break. My girls like this one the best. You should see them flying around here cleaning knowing that their break is going to be looooong. ;)
5. Be fun and creative when telling them WHAT to clean. Instead of just saying, "Go clean your room!" tell them to go pick up 5 hairy things, or 3 polka-dotted things, or 10 squishy things. One time I told my oldest to pick up gross things and she brought me Buzz Lightyear. He was gross because he was a boy!!
6. Use reverse psychology. This works really well in school with my kindergartner but also works with cleaning. Tell them that you KNOW there is NO WAY they can get their room clean before daddy comes home. Watch how fast get to work!
7. Offer a treat. It's always fun to have something to look forward to. I even do this for myself sometimes. I will decide that if I finish cleaning the kitchen, the whole kitchen (groan), then I can sit with my book or watch a show I recorded. Kids like to be rewarded too. Tell little girls you will paint their nails. Or maybe they can watch a movie before bed. The best reward though is Mommy time! Promise some extra cuddling time before bed. Good times!!
I hope some of these ideas inspire you to get your children helping around the house. Cleaning is an important life skill that everyone needs to learn. Your children will only benefit from you teaching them now.
Visit Raising Homemakers for other great tips!