I have a confession to make. Circle of friendship here. I am a stay at home mom, a homemaker if you will. Yet one of my big responsibilities as a homemaker is one of my hardest trials. When it comes to one typical motherly duty, I frequently fall short. I try and try but it is so frustrating and disheartening. Okay, here it is… I have a really REALLY hard time keeping my house clean. Whew. Weight off my shoulders. I do not know how some women do it. It is exhausting to spend all day cleaning and then have all your hard work erased in a matter of minutes as soon as the kids start to play. It is a balancing act between allowing the kids to play and be kids and wanting to control the playtime so that it is neat and tidy. I have not found that balance yet. I have to laugh at some bloggers who post pictures of their “messy” houses and there is like three things on the floor and one dish out on the table all in the sake of “keeping it real”. Seriously? Is that Seriously how your house looks when it is messy? Cause that is how my house looks when it is clean. Well in an effort to try and reign in the crazy messes, I went through our toy room and purged it of all unused or seldom used toys. In doing so, the kids and I played A LOT of cleaning games. How do you get your kids to clean up? Each of my children respond differently but for the most part, they are up for a game to help the cleaning go by faster. We frequently play cleaning games and I thought I would share some of our favorites.
Ca-Caw: By far the number one requested cleaning game. I can not take credit for this fabtabulous idea. My sister-in-law is the one who came up with this game and so she deserves a gold star or at least an air fist bump. This is how it is played. The kids start cleaning the room. Mom is in another room. Mom gives the kids a warning that she is coming in by making the sound “Ca-Caw” (think bird sound). When the kids hear the warning they have to hide. The Mom comes in and tries to see what has been mysteriously cleaned up. She also can say things like “I wonder when [strewn about toy] will be cleaned up” to help things move along. Then Mom leaves and kids sneak out to keep cleaning. This happens until the room is all clean and then the kids jump out and surprise the Mom.
Princess Pretend: My two older children who are able to help clean are both girls and so pretending to be princesses is a regular occurrence. We pretend that we are a new princess in each room we go into to clean. There are quite a few cleaning songs that we like to sing when we are pretending to be princesses.
Rapunzel: When will my life begin
Giselle: Happy working song
Cinderella: A dream is a wish your heart makes or Sing sweet nightingale
Snow White: Whistle while you work
Mulan: I’ll make a man out of you
Tiana: I’m almost there
You could definitely still play pretend with boy things too…I just never have yet so I don’t know what to do. Any help here?
Delivery: This can go one of two ways. First, you can use a pretend phone or microphone and call out “Delivery for Audrey [name of your child]“. You then give directions as to where you want the toys or other things delivered to.
Pick up by Color: Assign or let the kids each pick a color and have them pick up everything that is predominately that color.
Pick up by number: This can go two ways also. First, you can have the kids pick up as many toys as their age. This usually doesn’t take very long so I combine it with another game like the color game or something. Another way to pick up by number is to count to 10. First you put away one thing, then two things, three things, four things, all the way up to 10 things.
Race the clock: Set a timer and have everyone clean up as fast as they can. You can even offer a prize like a treat of some kind if the room gets cleaned up in time.
How do you help your kids clean? Do you have any cleaning games for kids? Leave a comment and let me know! I would love to add some more fun ideas that make cleaning fun for kids.
Update: The ideas keep coming!! Check out what other moms do:
From Kirsta: I close my eyes while they each put 10 things away and then I try to guess what they put away—and I’m always wrong so it’s funny.
From Jami: Occasionally I’ll hide quarters under toys that need to be cleaned up and as soon as everything is picked up (and quarters are discovered) I’ll take them to [the store] to redeem their prize in the quarter machines. That’s always a hit!