Daily cleaning checklists are a great way to teach kids about cleaning house, maintaining the house and getting chores done in a timely and efficient manner.
Daily Cleaning Checklists for Kids
Parents often seek to involve their children in chores around the house as they get older. For young children, daily cleaning is often focused on learning to pick up after him or herself. Chores may include putting up toys, putting trash in the trash can and putting dirty clothes in the dirty clothes bin. About age six, children begin performing other household cleaning tasks. By age 8, most children are old enough, tall enough and responsible enough to handle daily cleaning checklists.
Children become familiar with cleaning checklists in school. In Kindergarten classrooms, teachers will typically post a list of chores they expect students to do when they arrive in class and when they are preparing to go home. In first grade, teachers may add a reward or punishment phase to encourage children to obey the checklists without prompting. For example, on Fridays all desks should be cleaned out and left neat. Students who perform the task receive a reward on Monday - a punch in a punch card or free time in the reading area of the classroom. As children progress in school, the expectation of their instructors and their daily checklists also increase.
Implementing Daily Checklists at Home
The first rule of implementing a daily checklist with a child is to involve the child in making the list. Kids like to know exactly what is expected of them and a list gives them a very clearly defined set of chores to complete. The rules of the checklist need to apply to both adults and children. If it's not on the checklist, parents need to not assume that the kids will perform the task. Sophisticated problem-solving and associating tasks is part of the educational process.
Example Checklist for Ages 8 to 9
When creating a checklist for children ages 8 and 9, be very specific. Most checklists will begin after school, but may also include items associated with before school.
- Make bed
- Eat breakfast
- Brush teeth (wipe up bathroom counter when done)
- Pack lunch
- Dress for school
- Pack backpack
- Hang up school clothes or put in dirty clothes hamper
- Change into play clothes
- Eat snack (apple, banana, sandwich)
- Do homework
- Take out trash
- Empty dishwasher
- Clean up after self
Some chores are assumable, such as cleaning up any mess that the child creates. Be sure the child understands this.
Example Checklist Age 10+
Children over the age of ten are more experienced with checklists, chores and expectations. They are also better able to find the loopholes. Expectations should be clearly defined for both parents and children.
- Get ready for school
- Put trash out on trash days (Tuesday, Friday)
- Empty or load dishwasher as needed
- Do laundry (Thursday)
- Do homework
- Take the dog out for a walk
- Vacuum (Tuesday)
- After school activities
The difference in the checklists for older children versus younger children is that older kids should know all the breakdowns for getting ready for school and coming home from school. They shouldn't need it parsed on a list. Older children should also be capable of taking responsibility for their own projects, homework and needs.
Keep the lines of communication open. Be ready to make changes to daily checklists as needed. Flexibility is important. Parents may also engage children in the creation of a parental daily checklist so that kids can appreciate responsibility from both sides of the coin.