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How to make cleaning fun with children

Covid-19 is a global pandemic which is causing us, as childminder educators to make significant changes to our usual routines. Cleaning is imperative to keep ourselves, children and our families safe. These changes are time consuming, although vital to reduce the risk of infection. With this in mind, how can we make cleaning fun with children?

Cleaning is a little bit like Marmite. You either love it or hate it! Personally, I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning but once my 90’s music is booming from the kitchen I somehow find it so much more enjoyable. Everyone has their own methods to make tasks more enjoyable so how can we make cleaning fun with children?

Looking back on my own childhood, I remember spending hours side by side with my mum, ironing the clothes on my toy ironing board set and then passing them to her to iron again. I remember my dad being forced to put a chair up to the sink so I could reach to wash the pots because I was a big girl and I wanted to do it! How times changed!

Children (especially young children) want to please the caregiver. They will mimic the actions of adults, for example, copying their phrases and role playing in the home corner as they observe food and drinks being prepared.

For this reason, it is important children are praised for their efforts, valuing their contribution and making them feel part of the team. Consider your own cleaning routine, how do you make it fun yourself? Can you incorporate this into the children’s cleaning routines? Children enjoy playing games and involving games into cleaning can make things more fun for the children. Who can pick up the most toys? How many toys can we pick up in 5 minutes? Can we clean up before the song is finished?

Here are my top tips for making cleaning fun with children:

  • Allow children to take some responsibility. For example, wiping the table after snack

  • Make cleaning fun. For example, make it into a game of who can pick up the most toys.

  • Have a cleaning up song

  • Give clear, simple instructions

  • Make goals achievable

  • Provide positive praise and encouragement. Display your appreciation for their input.

  • Limit clean up- you do not want to be cleaning up all day.

  • Work together

  • Use child friendly cleaning materials e.g. Milton- do not use chemicals such as bleach.

Back to the original question, how can we make cleaning fun with children? ‘Fun’ is the optimal word. Make it fun, laugh, play, praise and ultimately enjoy the time together learning a lifelong skill.

Enjoy and happy cleaning 🙂

 Kay-Louise Ley

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