While teaching your child to put toys on their place and keep the house clean, it is very important to remember that any activity should bring them joy and delight. The novelty feeling of mastering a broom or seeing trash devoured by a vacuum cleaner quickly passes, and the process turns into daily routine. How to motivate your kid then? Turn cleaning into a game!
A lot of time will pass before the useful habits develop – be patient. Your main task now is to prevent the development of hatred to daily chores, such as dishwashing, vacuum cleaning, and wiping. So don’t turn these activities into a punishment – here are 8+ ways to make your kid get joy from the process.
1. Role-Playing Games
Let your kid imagine himself a bulldozer raking up garbage, or a taxi driver taking dolls home by car. A kid can “peck” grains of mosaic scattered on the carpet or play a robot sorter. Make up a game where your little superhero will fight trash monsters.
Play outside kid’s room. For example, a vacuum cleaner reminds of a hungry creature that wants food. Kid’s boots are like puppies that should be cleaned from dirt and rubbed with a brush after a walk. Switch your imagination on!
2. Guess Game
The rules of ‘Guess cleaning game’ are simple – you can mind your own business while your children to their room and puts several toys of the same category into their spots. Once it’s done your kid tells you how many items were picked up. You have three attempts to discover what exactly it was: “Dolls? Blocks? Cars?”If you fail to guess, the child gets as many points as the toys placed, and runs to clean further.
3. Cleaning Timetable
While many children are more likely to help you wash the floors and dishes, they’d hate to return to the scattered toys. How to turn cleaning into a game, when it comes to piles of toys? Make announcements. During “Garbage time”, a child collects paper scraps for a few minutes, then goes “Lego time”, and the child puts blocks in a container. Divide the process into several stages, and kids will be more willing to do it.
Must read: 5 Ways to Form Useful Habits
4. Mission Possible
For household chores, you can create ‘mission cards’ for several days. Each card should mention some repeating tasks, for instance: “Wash 15 spoons, make your bed 7 times, wipe the dust 3 times.” On the back of the card, specify the points for task execution. Once the mission is done, assign a new one. Don’t forget to exchange points for some reward.
Replace the traditional “no cartoons until you tidy up your room” with a fascinating quest. It’s one of the best big house cleaning games. Draw a map with several stations. A child travels from one station to another and meets locals who give him assignments. Residents of one city need to clean the bottom of the lake (wash the sink), others need kid’s help with harvesting the crop (clean scattered blocks), others ask kid work in the garden (water the flowers). And at the fourth station, a child can get a tasty treat from the generous residents: give him a glass of juice to refresh. The ultimate goal of travel (cartoon) also matters, although most children will be simply engaged in the process itself. It already sounds like an adventure, doesn’t it?
6. Family Competitions
You’ve got several kids? Organize a competition. Hang a table on the fridge: everyone will mark the dishes they have washed or the rubbish is taken out. A week later, check the results and reward the winner. The competitive spirit might do the trick for you.
7. The Speed Game
All you need for this game is a stopwatch. Ask your kid to do the tidying and keep the track of time. Organize the game every week giving children an opportunity to beat their records. You can also let the siblings compete with each other. Once again, the emulative spirit helps you out.
Related: 23 On-the-Go Games
8. Bonus: Few More Ideas Of Cleaning Games
What else can motivate your little ones?
- Take “Before” and “After” photos and show them to your kids. Tell them they did a great job turning mess into perfection.
- Hide small treats (candies, stickers, toys) here and there and tell your children they can find the treasures only during cleaning.
- How about dressing up? For example, Let your daughter be a Cinderella, or buy your boy the Superman costume. Feeling like a cartoon character adds up the excitement.
- Freeze game will turn cleaning into a game for the whole family’ Switch on the music and let kid do the chores. Press ‘Pause’ – a kid should freeze. Switch songs on and off for as long as it requires to put away the all the toys.
- Play cleaning with random tasks: write down different assignments on pieces of paper and put them in a bag. Let the kid pull a paper from the bag and do what’s written on them. In the same manner, you can roll a dice and choose one of 6 tasks.
- Create a toddler cleaning set with small-sized cleaning supplies. It will make the process fun, not mentioning convenience.
- Pretend making a commercial. Take camera in hands and tell your children you’re taking shots for a commercial. You’ll see – they will work hard and do it with a smile on their face.
Related: Positive Thinking Games For Kids
A Few Things To Mind When Turning Cleaning Into a Game
Think of Adequate Awards
The most convenient way of awarding is counting points. What to do with them? You can decide later.
Candies, new toys, stickers, clothes – it’s up to you to choose. Turning points into pocket money might work, as well, though it’s not the best way of motivation.
Ideally, you can save points for something non-material, such as going to the zoo. Exchange of points for playing, reading, and traveling together – all in all, kids save your time, too. You can make the list of possible rewards and their ‘cost’, and let kids select.
The whole idea of turning cleaning into a game is to make the process of cleaning more joyful and engaging! The kid should be motivated by the process itself, not only awards.
Let Games & Rules Work Together
Aside from practicing house clean up games, establish certain rules in your family. For instance, explain that each family member who puts a dirty plate in an empty sink should immediately wash it. Before dinner, everyone in the family has 15 minutes to clean the apartment. Serve as an example – don’t shirk away from your duties, too! Cleaning is always easier when done together.