3 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Spring Clean

Spring cleaning is an annual task that almost everyone dreads. Fortunately, spring cleaning can be the perfect time to help your kids develop a good work ethic and enlist extra hands for the job.

Try these ideas to get your kids involved in your spring cleaning efforts and teach them the importance of hard work:

1. Play an Easter Game. It would be rather cruel to enlist the help of your kids on Easter Sunday. However, you can use the day prior to Easter or the day after Easter to entice them into spring cleaning by playing an Easter themed game.

  • Hide a few chocolate Easter eggs under piles of clothes and shoe boxes in their closets and tell them that if they can neatly pass folded clothes to you to put into the storage bins, they’ll find several Easter chocolates to munch on.
  • To your kids, it will be an Easter egg hunt. To you, it’ll simply be a way to start a new spring cleaning tradition while creating a mutually beneficial situation for both you and your children. Ensure that all the candy is accounted for, lest you have a surprise during next year’s cleaning.

2. Be honest. Older children, especially teens, won’t be tempted by a few pieces of chocolate. Rather than dressing the day up as an Easter egg hunt, be honest. Tell the older kids that you need help getting some spring cleaning done and offer a fun ending to your busy day of cleaning.

  • Offer to end the day by getting their choice of takeout and renting a movie of their choosing. Not only will this give your family time to bond, but you’ll also get some spring cleaning done. In all aspects, this is a winning situation!
  • Refrain from approaching your teens the day of your spring cleaning. They may already have plans. Approach them a few days in advance and set up a day that is convenient for everyone involved.
  • Older children can handle bigger tasks. It’s best to let them choose a task (from a list that you’ve created) and tackle it on their own. By doing so, they’ll feel as if they had a say in the task at hand.

3. Rewards. Kids of all ages respond well to rewards. As mentioned above, a piece of chocolate or a slice of pizza will help entice your kids into spring cleaning. However, a larger reward will have your kids jumping for joy on the day of your spring cleaning adventure.

  • Offer to purchase your child a game for their gaming system if they help you spring clean the house and keep their room clean for a month thereafter.
  • Sweeten the deal for yourself by offering them a subscription to GameFly, a game delivery service which operates much like Netflix. Offer the subscription in exchange for spring cleaning, and offer to keep the subscription active as long as their room is kept tidy and their chores are done.
  • A subscription to GameFly can cost as little as $5.95 per month. Younger kids may enjoy a subscription to Pogo.com (also $5.95 per month) or even a personal subscription to Netflix ($7.99 per month).

Remember, there’s a difference between bribing and incentivizing. Incentivizing consists of providing a reward as motivation for completing a safe and beneficial task.  In psychological talk, we call it contingency management.

Kids respond tremendously well to all types of rewards and only you can judge what rewards will properly motivate yours. Treat your kid to a reward and earn yourself an extra set of hands for spring cleaning.

Avoiding Overwhelm

avoid overwhelmAvoiding the feelings of overwhelm is something that is not only necessary for our health but to our mental state of mind as well.  When we actively and consciously avoid those feelings we can ultimately avoid the burn-out feeling.  We all know what that feels like, exhaustion both mental and physical, short temper, sad, anxiety and sometimes depression.  Before we experience these feelings let’s look at some ways that we can avoid them all together.

  • If you sense the feelings of stress or anxiety coming on it is important to analyze what you do on a daily basis.  All too often we get up and go and don’t take time to truly focus and determine if we are doing too much.  Consider taking out a pad of paper and writing every detail of our day on this pad.  You will be truly amazed at what you do on a daily basis! If removing some items from your long list are impossible, then consider stretching out the tasks throughout the week.  Do you truly have to wash several loads, cook dinner, clean the floors, take your child to baseball all in the same day? Break down your tasks and you will automatically feel the sense of relief.
  • We as women, tend to believe that we can do everything on our own, which of course will lead to burnout.  It is perfectly acceptable to ask for help.  If you are married, ask your spouse to help with the daily activities.  If you have children, teach them tasks that will help you throughout the day and week.  Remember they are never too young to participate in family activities and that includes chores.  Ask a friend to help or simply be there to vent. Yes, it’s okay to vent!  Keeping all those feelings of overwhelm inside is not healthy.
  • Learn to incorporate breaks into your busy day.  It is important to take breaks to refresh your mind, and get the second wind which is needed to continue.  Take a nap or to rejuvenate yourself, consider going outside to inhale the fresh air.  Take a 10 to 15 minute walk and feel totally renewed.  It is important to simply step away from whatever situation or activity is causing you stress at the moment.  Once you take the necessary break, you will beat the burnout stage before it occurs.
  • Ultimately no one knows your body better than you!  Don’t ignore the signals that surface when your body or mind is feeling overwhelmed.  Headaches,  for example are not normal and are signals that your body gives you to signify that something is wrong and many times it’s because we have taken on too much.  Be careful and listen to your body.  Just as the oil light goes off in your car as a sign that it’s time for a maintenance check, your body will give you signals too.  Be aware of them and you will ward off the burnout stage and enjoy life to the fullest.

These are just a few tips that will help you stop the feeling of burnout in its tracks.  Begin implementing some of these tips today and you will enjoy getting up each day to a brand new day full of greatness.