Spring cleaning: How to get your kids to help


Has the streaming sunshine illuminated your household’s cobwebs and dust? We asked parents how they get their kids involved in spring cleaning.

If you wish that spring cleaning and general tidiness was more of a family activity, try these reader-approved methods to get your kids to pick up after themselves.

“We designate boxes for hard toys, big soft toys and small soft toys. Then we stand as far away as possible and try to throw the toys into the correct boxes.”
— Amanda Titus, Calgary, AB.

“Music! Dusting is way more fun when you can wiggle.”
— Michelle Patry, Kingston, ON.

“To clean our toy room, we use play walkie-talkies and pretend we’re cleaning elves. While we tidy, we talk to each other like secret spies.”
— Ashley Peden Van Bakel, Bradford, ON.

“No kids allowed! Spring cleaning is just for me. It’s an opportunity to have some time to myself and get a whole lot of junk purged from our house.”
— Ashley Sparkman, Kingston, ON.

“My kids like to pretend that they’re pioneers, so it’s easy to assign them chores that encourage their imagination.”
— Jennifer Rosenitsch Tobin, Whitby, ON. 

“I sing a cleanup song, or I tell my two-year-old we’re having a tidy-up race and need to pick up all the toys.”
— Kimberly Hodgson, Laval, Que.

“My son loves the dusting mitt and helping me spray window cleaner. Cleaning time for us means new ‘toys’ for him.”
— Kelsey Tourigny, Meadow Lake, Sask.

“We pretend to be Cinderella, and the evil stepmother and sisters will be mad if we don’t get the work done.”
— Marcie Moody-Lebert, Binbrook, ON.

“I make it fun for my kids by sending them to Grandma’s.”
— Vanessa Antoniuk, Edmonton, AB.

“When cleaning up a bunch of toys, I secretly pick a ‘magic item.’ The kids then rush around trying to tidy as many things as possible in the hope of putting away the one I chose. At the end, whoever tidied up the magic item wins a prize.”
— Nicole Truman Hall, Oakville, ON.

“We have contests to see who can clean the fastest, or we count out loud to see how long it takes us to tidy a certain area.”
— Carla Vegnaduzzo-Dawson, Hamilton, ON.

A version of this article appeared in our May 2013 issue of Today’s Parent with the headline “Clean sweep,” p. 22.

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