I have a toddler, who just happens to love to clean. Even though she is too young to really clean we let her help to keep her involved in cleaning. Here are some of the things we do to get her to love cleaning and help out.
First, ever since she was able to sit up we have let her take rides on the riding lawn mower (without the blades running). She still loves to do this and now she is old enough to steer it.
Then we let her pick out her own yard tools. These were just little toddler sized plastic rake and shovel but it allowed her to use her own tools her sized when we were out raking up the yard.
After we rake we always let her plant something. Sometimes it is just a seed and sometimes it’s a flower we let her pick up at the store. Doing this after cleaning up the yard has seemed to help make her want to clean up and do yard work more.
When we prune the plants, we let her paint the stop growth and plant protectant on the spots she can reach that we just cut.
Inside, we have let her pick out her own vacuum and broom. She uses these while we use the real vacuum and broom. We encourage her to get her broom or vacuum when she makes a mess that needs cleaned up.
To clean windows and counter tops we always give our daughter a spray bottle with just water in it to spray and some paper towels to wipe it clean. She enjoys spraying the water and it won’t hurt her or anything else she sprays it on. Now that she is getting older we occasionally will let her spray the cleaner we use in the spot that we need it sprayed, but ALWAYS under our supervision.
We also have given her, her own cleaning area where she can store all her cleaning tools and get to them whenever she wants to. We make sure that the real cleaning products and items are stored in a locked location where she can’t get to them. This often frustrates kids, but if you give them their own cabinet or area to store their cleaning supplies that they can get to freely they will be less frustrated.
To help with laundry and dishes we let our daughter put the soap in the machines when they are loaded and press the buttons to start the machines. Kids love pouring stuff and pushing buttons so it doesn’t seem like a chore to them.
We let our daughter unload her items from the dishwasher and place them on the counter to be put away. Since she has her own plastic plates, silverware and cups she can take them out while we take out the breakable dishes.
When doing the laundry we let our daughter push the clothes into the dryer and separate out her clothing from ours after it has dried. It is like a treasure hunt to see if she can find all her clothing and she really enjoys it.
We then let her put the towels away and put the clothing away that belongs in the drawers. She can’t reach the closet rods to hang up clothing, but she enjoys putting the clothes into the drawers as we hang the rest of the clothing in the closet. By doing this it has also helped her know where her favorite pair of socks and shorts are and she can get them out when she wants to wear them without asking for our help.
After we’re all done cleaning we often do something fun or have a treat for doing a job well done. Keeping a positive attitude about doing cleaning and chores will help your child enjoy doing them. Re-assuring them and doing the chores and cleaning with them will also help them want to do them more. Even watching shows about kids their age doing chores and cleaning will encourage them. My daughter insists on taking the garbage out because she saw a commercial for Glad garbage bags where a little boy dragged the bag out all by himself.