As a board certified pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics Fellow, Dr. Laura Jana knows the many reasons why children need to be included in our household cleaning routines. It’s her experience as a mother of three and owner of an educational childcare center that’s taught her how to turn these dreaded tasks into rewarding family time.
Teaching the importance of cleanliness and hygiene go without saying, but my first question for Dr. Jana was if there were long term benefits to having chores? Turns out there are and you might be amazed at just how big those benefits are. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that the best predictor of a child’s success is the age at which he or she begins helping with household chores. It went on to show that children involved in regular cleaning routines had a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives.
I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, sometimes it just seems easier and quicker to do the work myself rather than try to explain how to do it or worse, have to re-do work. That’s were Dr. Jana recommended setting aside a special time each week dedicated to cleaning. You can’t expect any lessons to be learned or good habits created while you’re doing a quick sweep of the house before company comes over. Designate cleaning time as family time so that it is a time to be enjoyed together and not dreaded.
Little ones WANT to help and a great way to get them involved is to turn cleaning into a game, explained Dr. Jana. Form an assembly line, set a timer, or implement a game of “hide and seek,” just be sure that your kids know the rules and their limits when it comes to handling cleaning supplies. Assign ambitious jobs like vacuuming, scrubbing and disinfecting for older kids while the younger ones handle simpler one-step tasks like dusting or picking up toys. In our house my two little ones are the designated ‘runners,’ running everyone’s toys, books, shoes and miscellaneous items to their respective bedrooms.
So many of my friends pay their kids to clean their rooms and I have a problem with that, I want my children to understand that cleanliness is not something they’ll get paid for as an adult and as a member of the family they have a responsibility to help out. Dr. Jana agreed that it’s important to establish that the real reward is a clean, safe house but having visuals and chore charts are still a great way to keep kids on task. She recommended modest rewards that could be a family movie night, a reasonable allowance, or in our case, a night of “hide and seek in the dark.”
When you start getting your kids involved with cleaning at one point or another they’re going to want to wield that spray bottle, just like the grown-ups. It is imperative to teach the importance of handing products with care, using them as directed, and keeping them away from our eyes and mouths. Finding family-friendly cleaning agents has gotten a little easier with Lysol’s new Power & Free line of products that use the disinfecting power of hydrogen peroxide. As Dr. Jana explained, it’s what we use in our offices and hospitals to clean because it works and it’s safe.
For information to help educate your kids about germs visit the Kids Zone at Lysol.com and the CDC’s Ounce of Prevention site. More cleaning tips and activities can also be found at Lysol.com where you can learn more about Lysol’s Power & Free products.
*University of Minnesota. Involving Children in Household Tasks: Is It Worth The Effort? http://www.cehd.umn.edu/research/highlights/Rossmann. Accessed July 19, 2012.
I did not receive any compensation for this review, other than free products, and the opinions expressed are my own. I don’t know if I can even call this a review ‘cause I didn’t share my before and after photos. Okay, you talked me into it…here they are! This is soap scum covered ledge in my shower before a spray of Lysol’s Power & Free.
And this is it afterwards. I apologize for the lighting, my bathroom wasn’t made for close-ups. I let the product sit for a few minutes before I literally just wiping it all away with a regular rag…no scouring pads required.