It’s been a long, cold winter, and for the first time in a long time, some of us are actually looking forward to spring cleaning…mostly because it has the word “spring” in it. And although spring cleaning is a great way to herald in the new season, traditionally the bulk of the chores fall on mom (or dad).

My advice? Spread the chores around by getting the kids involved.

Even kids as young as five or six can pitch in so that when the temperatures do finally warm up outside, you won’t be tied down and tired from too many chores inside.

But how can you get the kids to help?

1) Find out what they like doing (or what they hate doing). Many kids actually like cleaning the floors or wiping down glass. Let them pick the chore they can own not just at spring, but on an ongoing basis.

2) Allocate appropriate chores for appropriate age groups. Even a five-year-old can handle a Swiffer (they even have a product that acts like a vacuum, but isn’t motorized). Encourage young ones to clean up their own spilled cereal, or chase the family pet while picking up loose fur.

3) Turn it into a game. Whoever finds the hidden dirt…wins! Spaces under and behind fridges and stoves sometimes only get cleaned when appliances are being replaced or repaired. Challenge them to turn a white cloth dirty as a fun cleaning game.

4) Make it easy for everyone. Set out the cleaning supplies, with instruction cards or a check list attached. Make sure your kids know what they’re doing. Pre-measured cleaners like Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle ensure they won’t use too much product and have your kitchen full of bubbles.

5) Encourage kids to take responsibility for their own things. A 15-year-old hockey player knows exactly what their equipment smells like at the end of a game, let alone the end of a season. Refreshing these smelly items only takes a quick spray of Febreze to remove odours — even a teenage can do that.

6) Reward them. Different things motivate different kids. Some are looking for straight cash, others for time with mom or dad, a drive to the mall, or earning some coveted screen time. Choose rewards that are right for your family and reward them for their cleaning efforts.

Starting the kids off with chores when they’re young will reap rewards when it comes time to send them off to college, university or to live on their own. As they get their university acceptance letters, congratulate them with a toilet brush, plastic gloves and a bucket to call their own. They won`t necessarily thank you now, but when they’re the only ones on the dorm floor not being charged a fine for extra housekeeping services, they’ll appreciate the extra cash for other indulgences.

This article first appeared in Huffington Post and can be found at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathy-buckworth/spring-cleaning-tips_b_4998678.html

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