Homeschooling to Adulthood: Teaching Kids to Clean

So many blogs lately have been running features about cleaning less and having kids do more chores, I finally realized one area in which I have been slacking.  I haven’t been having my “little kids” ( who are rapidly turning into big kids) do their fair share of the chores around the house.  While they clean out the dishwasher, set the table and fold laundry for me, I have not had them do the more demanding chores like washing dishes or cleaning bathrooms.

Part of this is on purpose.  I have a fear of cleaners and children combined.  Ever since I dropped an open bottle of toilet bowl cleaner on my bedroom carpet and melted it! I have had an inordinate fear of what  cleaners could do if used incorrectly.  My older kids didn’t begin cleaning bathrooms until they were about 10, and even then it was under supervision for some time.  But Lulu is nearing that age, and I haven’t even begun teaching her how to clean the bathrooms.

This is also partly laziness on my part because I have two such wonderful older helpers that out of four bathrooms in the house, I only ever have to clean one of them (and not that one if I can pawn it off on Daddy!)  I have been thinking about how unwise this is, however.  After all, the purpose of having children do chores is not just to have help around the house.  That is one very important reason, because a large homeschool family cannot operate successfully if the mom has to do all the chores.  But the real, important reason to have children do chores is so that they are well equipped as adults to run a household.  Cleaning is an important part of that equipment.

So even though I had to force myself past my laziness, Lulu got her first bathroom cleaning lesson last week on the half bath, and this week did her first supervised cleaning.  She did very well.  She remembered to wear an apron so that she wouldn’t get bleach spots on her good clothes.  She remembered the order in which to clean.  And she did not do anything silly with the cleaners.  All in all, a good first session.

Do you teach your young children to clean bathrooms?  Which chores do you save for older kids to do?  Please leave me a comment.

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2 Comments

  1. My younger kids do not clean the bathrooms; in fact, I really need to get my 12 year old doing more in this area! My youngest (6ys) works alongside her bigger sister in cleaning windows/mirrors, tidying the basement, emptying the dishwasher. She likes to help mop, sweep under the table and do bits of vacuuming. The older kids do their own laundry, do more vacuuming, dusting, shredding, recycling, yardwork, and my oldest cleans the basement bathroom. My middle daughter also regularly bakes which we all appreciate.

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