For parents whose tweens like to keep things tidy, giving them chores is sort of like giving them something fun to do. There is nothing wrong with that, of course; it's just that typically parents have the opposite problem. It's not every day you come across someone who enjoys cleaning, adults included.
Tweens who like to be responsible for keeping their rooms cleaned up may enjoy different cleaning activities too. What is great is cleaning teaches and provides children with a sense of responsibility and accountability. In the long run, instilling this duty in children at a young age can help them become self-sufficient, capable adults. In fact, the University of Michigan did a study concluding that children who grew up in organized clean homes may be more successful in school and at work.
Tweens are very capable. They can do a lot more than when they were in their toddler years. Practically any household chore that adults can do, tweens can do too. However, they may need direction and guidance to make sure they are doing chores correctly.
For example, if a tween cleans the bathroom but doesn't do it in a sanitary manner, it could be a teachable moment. Below is a list of activities for tidy tweens to do after school, versus being on their devices.
10 Organize Bedroom Closet
This may not seem like much for a child who already keeps their things neat, but a full clean-up is good occasionally. Purge the entire closet. They can pick out things they don't wear anymore and/or position summer clothes in the back and winter in the front. Wiping down the shelving, if there is any. Some kids may even want to color-coordinate their closets. Just getting everything in an orderly manner, minus any dust.
9 Brushing The Dog
Brushing the dog is indeed a cleaning activity. The more dogs are groomed, the less hair sheds all over everything else. As much as they may love their four-legged friend, do they love having their fur all over their clothes? Getting all the hair picked up/swept up afterwards is important too.
8 Cleaning Out The Fridge
This is a daunting task that doesn't get done nearly enough, but it's the single most important appliance in your home; your refrigerator. It needs consistent upkeep including a deep clean every 3-4 months, says the USDA. That means putting all the food in a cooler, turning it off, removing the shelves and drawers, and washing them with hot soapy water. While they are putting things back, they may want to check for anything past its use-by date.
Properly dusting surfaces is one thing. Add to those objects, the tv, the top of picture frames, window sills, even the shades might need dusting. Have your tween walk around with a dusting cloth and get it all.
Mopping the floor is a good time for a parent to step in with some guidance. It's more than just pushing a wet mop around. In fact, that is the worst mopping technique according to the Public Medical Center. Pushing the mop around without direction is what most people do, spreading dirty water and bacteria all around. The proper way to mop:
- Get the mop wet : Dunk the mop head into the bucket of cleaning solution. Wring it out to remove some excess water.
- Do Figure 8's: Use swiping figure 8 motions to cover the floor space.
- Wring out the mop often: Ideally before the water on the floor turns grimy - to avoid spreading it and other bacteria.
5 Organize Drawers
Organizing drawers is a great activity for tweens who enjoy being neat. This can be a major decluttering project depending on how many junk drawers are in the house. Taking everything out, throwing away things that are not needed, and wiping down the inside of the drawer. According to Restoring Order, organization is like therapy. It's very therapeutic and helps people feel better about themselves.
4 Organize Food Pantry
Tweens don't have to organize like The Home Edit, but arranging things in order and wiping down the shelves helps. Parents could even have their tween get a box together of non-perishable foods that aren't getting eaten and take them to a homeless shelter or food pantry.
Tweens are young and full of energy; having them vacuum the stairs can be a big help for parents. Vacuuming in general is a big help. Getting under the furniture might be more difficult; parents may need to step in and help, so they don't hurt themselves by lifting anything.
2 Wash The Windows
Tweens can put together a window cleaning kit easily. What they need:
- Newspapers: Newspapers can clean window glass wonderfully. They may need to collect a few depending on how many windows there are.
- Paper Towels: Paper towels work if a newspaper isn't available. Paper towels are also great for wiping window sills and tracks.
- Cotton Swabs: These are invaluable for cleaning the nooks and crannies of the window sill and window tracks.
- Window Cleaner: Whether it's store-bought or a homemade recipe, make sure the tween is mature enough to use this safely, and they should be all set.
1 Organize Front Hall Closet
It may not be a front hall closet; maybe there is a back hall or mud room. Wherever the shoes and coats are kept. Tweens can organize shoes, hang up coats, and sweep the floor.