There are lots of ways to help kids learn basic cleaning skills. Check out these seven tips for eco-friendly cleaning with kids.
Thanks to Turbo Mops for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
Sometimes we’re fortunate to pass on our best genes to our kids. I don’t want to live in a cluttered pigsty, but I don’t particularly love cleaning. However, my husband is a darn good cleaner, and, fortunately, he passed along his appreciation for sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming to our older son.
I’m happy to pick up clutter, put away dishes, and generally keep our home organized. But through a series of negotiations with my sisters, roommates, and eventually my husband over the course of many years, I don’t think I’ve cleaned a toilet in almost two decades.
I’m grateful my husband passed along his cleaning gene to my older son. I’ve yet to find out if he passed it on to our younger son as well. Early indications are doubtful. Ha! Either way, I’m thrilled that my older son enjoys a rewarding session of cleaning the kitchen floors with the best of them.
When it comes to eco-friendly cleaning with kids, I think there are lots of ways we can get our kids involved in the game. The earlier we teach them the tricks of the cleaning trade, the more likely they are to appreciate a clean house and the tasks that go along with keeping our home clean.
7 Simple Tips for Eco-friendly Cleaning with Kids
As our kids grow old enough to contribute to maintaining some semblance of order and cleanlienss in our house, there are many ways we can practice eco-friendly cleaning with kids. Below I’ve shared seven of my favorite tips for eco-friendly cleaning with kids. Let me know what you think and be sure to share your ideas in the comments.
Offer Them Tools They Can Use
When inviting your kids to help clean, offer them tools and supplies they can use. Make sure tools are lightweight, the right size, and (most importantly), you’re not afraid to let them us. If you’re always worried they’re going to break your expensive vacuum cleaner, that’s probably not the tool to hand over to get them involved in family cleaning.
Also, ensure that chemicals are safe and non-toxic. We don’t want our kids handling all sorts of potions and poisons that will make them sick or put them in danger.
Sweeping and mopping, especially with lightweight and smaller tools, are a really great way to introduce kids to cleaning. My older son actually enjoys sweeping and mopping our kitchen with the sweeper we have had for years.
Turbo Mops makes a lightweight mop with an extendable handle that has reusable microfiber pads for cleaning. The pads can be cleaned in the washer and used time and again. The adjustable handle also makes it easy to fit their height.
We found out that the handle is a tad bit finicky to adjust, so just be sure to read the instructions when you receive the sweeper. It’s a cinch to adjust, as long as you do it right.
For quite some time, we used the single-use Swiffer cloth covers and Swiffer wet wipes because they worked well for our family. I’ve seen a few examples of people using old t-shirts and rags as reusable cloth covers for Swiffer sweepers and mops. These are definitely a great option for some families, though they didn’t feel quite right for us.
Alternatively, Turbo Mops makes great reusable cloth covers that fit perfectly over the sweepers and are easily washed and reused as many as 100 times. These microfiber cloth covers pick up dirt easily and make the cleaning process quick.
Mops and brooms used to be heavy and bulky. Today, they are light and perfect for youngsters to start learning how to clean. If you’ve already got something that does the job, by all means use what you have.
If you’re in the market for a tool that makes it easier to delegate those eco-friendly cleaning chores to your kids, check out Turbo Mops’ sweeper, reusable microfiber cloth covers, and reusable scrubbing pads.
Make DIY Cleaning Spray
DIY vinegar sprays are great for many everyday cleaning tasks. They work on most surfaces (though you may want to avoid granite and quartz). DIY vinegar sprays require just a couple of ingredients. They also have no toxic ingredients, so they are a perfect project for kids.
There’s no better way to encourage kids to get involved in the cleaning process then letting them mix up the concoctions used to do the cleaning. Make it a science experiment to try different scents or use different types of citrus peels to see which create the strongest or best scent!
Letting them help make the cleaning products is akin to kids being more likely to eat meals when they were involved in the preparation process. And the more interested they are in eco-friendly cleaning, the better.
Make Cleaning A Game
Everything is more fun through the lens of a game. The options are endless with respect to how cleaning becomes a game. And it depends a lot on the age of your children. Whatever you chose, remember that making something fun in even the slightest way creates behavioral momentum to get our kids moving in the desired direction (toward cleaning, in this case).
One of my younger sisters is really good at this. For example, waiting in line at amusement parks becomes a game of Charades or Memory or I Spy. There are tons of phone apps with games, like the Heads Up app, to get you started. Whatever makes cleaning fun is worth checking out!
Turn Up The Music and Have a Cleaning Dance Party
Blast some tunes and use your Turbo Mop as a microphone. Somehow, music helps chores fly by and makes them so much fun. We have lots of playlists on our Spotify account, so we can switch up the music depending on our mood.
If you’re looking for perfect playlist music for an eco-friendly cleaning dance party with kids, check out this dance party playlist I shared a while back.
Set A Timer
So many hard things in life are much easier when there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Cleaning isn’t that hard, but it’s certainly not the most fun thing we probably ask our kids to do.
Setting a finite amount of time to complete cleaning with kids can make the tasks seem so much more achievable (and create a race against the clock). Kids are more motivated when they know it’s a quick sprint and there’s an end in sight. You might be surprised how much cleaning can happen in five or ten minutes when everyone chips in.
Compete and Keep Score
If your kids are as competitive as mine, turn your cleaning chores into a competition. See who can pick up more Legos before a timer goes off. Let two kiddos duke out who can clean their half of the kitchen counter or dining room floor faster.
See who can hang up their back up, put away their shoes, and complete all of their after-school chores first. Challenge them to see who can make a surface sparkle the most.
You may even incorporate a competitive aspect through creativity. See who can do the best dance while mopping the floor with their Turbo Mop!
Offer a Reward
Adults do all sorts of things in life in order to earn a reward, not the least of which is work in exchange for compensation. Rewarding our kids for performing specific tasks or chores is just life. Of course, there will be times where we ask our children to perform chores simply as a part of family responsibilities, but occasional rewards can make cleaning with kids so much easier and less stressful.
Once cleaning is complete, offer kids something like fifteen minutes of screen time, extra books at bedtime, or a trip to the local library or ice cream store. Maybe they even get something as simple as ten or fifteen minutes of extra time to play with you. The reward does not have to be large or expensive or even tangible. Be creative and just offer them something you know they will love.
Instead of sending the kids off to clean on their own, make it a family chore. Some days, I want to clean up the kitchen or put away dishes during the day. I save the dish duty for the afternoon when my kids get off the bus, so I can put the dishes away while they eat a snack or we put the dishes away together.
Instead of feeling obligated to do all the cleaning on your own when they are not around, “save” the cleaning for times when your kids are around. Not only do they watch you clean to learn and get involved when it makes sense, but it also ends up being a nice time to have a good conversation, ask about their day, or just catch up.
There’s no better time teach our kids how to clean than when they’re young. How do you get your kids involved in eco-friendly cleaning at your home? Tell me all your secrets!