Family Cleaning Guide: Get the Kids Cleaning During Summer Vacation

Setting the Stage

It's pretty obvious to an adult brain why it's important to keep your home clean. The reasons may not, however, be as clear to a child, who may have no problem whatsoever with dust collecting in corners and a floor so covered with toys and clothing it's not visible.

Many children find unpleasant activities a bit less so if they know why they're being told to do them. So sit down and do a little explaining -- a few minutes will do, lest the explanation become as potentially boring as the deed.

Clean is better than dirty

Why bother cleaning? For one thing, it makes a space look nicer. Doesn't the living room look prettier when the glass-top coffee table gleams? And then there are the practical concerns: How much easier is it to find your favorite shirt when all of your clothing is in the closet instead of in a pile? And of course, an unclean home just isn't healthy. Keep it simple: Germs can cause sickness, and mold and dust can trigger allergies.

This approach may get a positive reaction. Or your kid may have tuned out when he or she realized he does not, in fact, care at all if the coffee table gleams. In either case, you'll do well to explain why you want your child to help with all of this. And it's not, wink wink, because it teaches responsibility. It's because if he or she helps you clean, it will take so much less time -- and because cleaning can be fun when you've got a partner.

And it actually can, especially if you surround it with the trappings of fun-ness …

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