In our house I am the one who cleans and tidies everyday, I do the big cleans and clear outs while I boss daddy around telling him that he needs to do this and that. This is because daddies pretty useless at actually cleaning it the way I want it cleanedinunder 3 hours (per room!). What will usually happen is that I clean 2-3 rooms while daddy does 1 (usually the livingroom) in the end I will give up and go behind him to do it the right way.
D loves to help us clean and tidy, I am quite glad of this intrest if I am honest. While daddy does help a lot I do prefer to do smaller daily things alone and will tend to do these while daddy gets a bath/shower or while he is out. D seems to love this time and as soon as he sees me start to get the things I need he’s over like a whippet! Without this intrest I would get nothing done without daddy around. We have now started to turn our daily cleaning into games and I thought it would nice to share these with you incase anyone could use them or would like to try. The games teach and aid in the learning of many things but in a new way.
Firstly I should say that I don’t have names for the games but I can say they are great fun and time efficient for me, it does take a little longer to complete the tasks however you aren’t constantly stopping to occupy a toddler.
Hangers! – we have a lot of hangers, none of which are sharp or of a danger when supervised. Most are made of coloured plastic bent into a triangle in various sizes for me and daddy then for D’s clothes. You will need a few different colours of hangers for the game to work. It’s quite boring if they are all the same. This I must say is D’s favourite game and as soon as I get the washing basket he’s running for the stairs! Basically the game is D gets all the hangers that don’t have clothes on in front of him on the bed. I start to take out the washing and ask for hangers of a certain colour and size ie. Small blue or orange and D will give me the hanger if it’s not right I just say opps silly billy that one is… then ask again for the right one. I must say this game is great for colour recognition and D even learnt to say and recognise blue from the game. At the start it will take a little bit of getting used to for your child and will take longer but it’s a great habbit and learning tool to teach. They will remember how fun it was and that time spent together doing something.
Home time for toys – at regular points throughout the day we have to tidy away for toys that just get left after boredom arrives. D used to hate this bit but now he loves to say bye or night to his toys. Each has a home and has to go in the right place! I will ask D to get certain toys and bring them to their ‘house’ (usually the toy box) but they have to go in order or they don’t all fit! I actually love this game, there’s nothing cuter than a toddler giving hugs and kisses to a fish bowl toy because it’s their turn to say night night. Yes this does take a while longer than of you did it yourself but it teaches them to love, care and tidy up their toys on their own. D has started to now put a toy away before he gets another, so I can tell you it does work.
Sorting your washing – I like most people wash certain clothes separately. It’s probably best to keep delicates in a pile behind you for this one! Basically I empty the washing bag in the kitchen and put down a piece of clothing from each pile. Then D will be given one at a time and asked ‘what does this one match?’ Although he’s now getting good at this, when we started he almost always got it wrong but again I just said ‘oh I don’t think that’s right! ‘ if they are good at it and sometimes get one wrong or walk over instead of changing the pile it was in then just pick it up and move it. They don’t mind and think your playing too!
The final game is where does it go? – This is the most adaptable game and is regularly used in our house for many things. It’s also probably the easiest. While cleaning up lift random item’s and ask ‘where does it go?’ Give it to them to put away. I use this for our fridge shopping and fruit. Just be prepared to find things in a few random places from time to time! We can now put washing, rubbish, shopping, toys and shoes away. I know a lot of you will say ‘well obviously’ to this but NEVER play this game with cleaning products or anything that may be a danger and do not use this with dishes unless plastic until your child is of an appropriate age!
Remember to have fun too! All the games are also giving your child a good idea and understanding of how to clean and starts good housing habits that will stick as it’s fun and your not constantly repeating ‘tidy up please’. Regularly playing these games and adapting them to age will allow your child to develop a like for tiding and playing at the same time.