If you’re a parent then you know just how tough it can be to get your kids to do anything, let alone things they don’t want to do.
So, imagine how hard it is to get them to do a household chore like vacuuming!
To make a success of it, you need to incorporate some strategies to make your kid want to do it.
In this article, we look at ways that you can make vacuuming a fun experience.
Why Your Kids Need to Do Chores
There are a whole raft of studies that make it clear that children who do chores end up being better adults and better citizens.
In fact, according to a study out of the University of Minnesota, the best predictor of young adults’ success in their mid-20s was whether or not they did household chores when they were aged three or four.
In her book, How to Raise An Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims put it this way . . .
By making [kids] do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life.
It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I’m part of an ecosystem. I’m part of a family. I’m part of a workplace.
Vacuuming Through the Ages
Having established that kids of all ages will benefit greatly from doing chores like vacuuming, let’s consider how children at different age groups can tackle the fundamental task of vacuum cleaning.
Elementary School Kids
Elementary school is the age to instill in your kids the concept that the whole family pitches in when it comes to doing the household chores. At this age, children are eager to mimic mom and play grown up.
So, you should capitalize on this by having them follow you around the house and do the chores.
When it comes to vacuum cleaning, you should consider investing in a child’s vacuum so that your youngster can take ownership of the task as they emulate your work with the real thing.
Allocate them a small area to vacuum and allow them to take pride in the job they do.
Praise them liberally and when the job is done, show them how to empty the bag and store away their vacuum cleaner.
By the time your kid gets to middle school, they are big and strong enough to handle a full sized vacuum cleaner.
Kids at this age thrive on competition.
So, why not turn the job of vacuum cleaning into a game?
If you’ve got two middle schoolers in the house, divide the house in half and allocate one half to each of them.
Have a criteria checklist of key performance indicators and them do a post chore inspection during which
you rate them on each criteria point to allocate a winner.
Your KPIs could include:
- Movement of furniture
- Putting equipment away when done
Another little game you can organize with your middle schooler to motivate them to do their vacuuming chore is to plant a small treasure somewhere around the house.
Don’t tell them what room it’s in, but do tell them that they can only search for it once each room has been thoroughly vacuumed.
At this age you can also link your child’s allowance to the performance of specific household chores.
When it comes to high schoolers, you’re going to have to work a little harder to get them to maintain the vacuuming habit.
However, if you’ve brough them up from elementary school with the vacuuming habit, it should be well enough ingrained that it becomes as natural as brushing their teeth ( assuming that your teenager is still brushing his teeth!).
Still, you’re probably going to have to resort to a little bribery to get the job done.
So, what is the one point of leverage that you, as the parent, have got over your teenager?
That’s right – their social media time.
While they are still living under your roof, it’s likely that you’re the one paying for wifi – and probably their phone.
That gives you the right to dictate when they are and they are not online. So, all you have to do is to stipulate that the phone is out of bounds until their vacuuming chore is done.
If you can’t trust them to comply, simply switch off the wifi a few mornings in a row – they’ll soon get the message!
Have you got any other ideas on how to turn kid’s chores in to fun games?
Your options in terms of turning boring chores into fun games for your kids is only limited by your imagination.
Here are a couple of ideas to get your creative juices flowing . . .
- Hide special treats, such as chocolate coins, under nick nacks that your child will discover as they are doing the dusting. They can only enjoy the treat when the chore is completed.
- Set the timer after dinner for a 10-minute tidy up. Everything must be put away with the dinner table cleared, clothes picked up and sorted and games put away before the timer goes off.
At what age should a child start vacuum cleaning?
It is a good idea to buy your child a toy vacuum cleaner when they are around 3 years of age. This will get them into the habit of vacuuming as a game.
The age at which they can advance to a real vacuum really depends on the weight and complexity of your machine.
If it is relatively lightweight and simple to operate, they can start using it at around six or seven.
Heavier vacuums may require a couple more years of development before the child can confidently control it.
Getting your child to do the vacuuming isn’t easy. You can make it more palatable by presenting vacuuming as a fun game.
Try out the ideas presented here on your kids and you’ll be able to share the household chore load while also instilling a valuable work ethic in your child.