You may not be Mary Poppins and able to whisk clothes away with a charming hand gesture, but you don’t need magic to make cleaning fun for kids. There are a variety of methods you can employ to help children enjoy cleaning, especially when they’re younger. There are also a few things you can do to help encourage older kids to do their chores or housework without complaint.
First, bear in mind that most children, especially when they’re young, see grownup jobs as something terrific and mysterious. An attitude that children get to do chores instead of having to do them may help make cleaning fun for kids. Instead of assuming that they are going to hate cleaning, try to assume that they may like to try something new, like vacuuming the floors or putting away clothes neatly. Don't teach them how to do everything at once. Rather, you may want to present one or two cleaning tasks as things they get to do now and save other cleaning jobs as things they get to learn when they're older.
Perhaps you can’t sell this idea well. Children, especially older ones, may not buy the argument that it’s a privilege to clean. Working alongside them can help make cleaning fun for kids when they’re skeptical. Getting parent time instead of being “sent to work” may be more enjoyable, especially if you are not overly critical at first.
Another idea to make cleaning fun for kids is to consider having something going on simultaneously that kids enjoy. Play a game, like a toy race, to see which child can put away the most toys. Turn on favorite kid music and take one minute "silly dance" breaks throughout cleaning tasks to amp up fun. Try surprising kids by having them clean in costume or while speaking only in accents.
If you make cleaning fun for kids by doing something special, silly or entertaining, any task is likely to fly by and be more fun. Another tactic is to offer rewards for cleaning. Rewards and incentives may work for more reluctant or willful children; build in extra privileges when cleaning gets done. This way even if the cleaning isn’t fun, there’s something to look forward to immediately afterwards.
Learning to associate fun times with houses that sparkle with finished chores may encourage kids to view cleaning positively in later life. For this to work, make rewards for cleaning occur right after a cleaning session. Rewards don’t have to be big, the family that cleans together before playing a board game or getting to rent a special movie may help kids view cleaning as more fun than work.
Use your imagination to make cleaning fun for kids, or at least to get them to do it without complaint. Think about what your kids enjoy, and your options for making chores pleasant. There is usually some way to help your children clean without viewing chores as essentially negative.