Friday, February 15, 2013

Teaching Kids to Sweep

Lately I've been feeling those usual overwhelming feelings when a new baby comes along and takes over life for awhile. I can't seem to stay on top of even the absolute basics around the house. I know I need to enlist my older kids to help more, so I'm trying to train them when I have a chance. Right now it's very challenging for me to have 4 kids 6 and under. Those years before you have anyone old enough to really help around the house are sure tough to survive! But, I hope that if I can train my kids even just a little here and a little there, that eventually I'll see the fruits of my labor. I envision kids that know how to cook and clean and help with their siblings independently. Ahhhh.....someday.

So for now I'm working on some basics. Sweeping the floor is a fairly simple task, but tricky for young kids to master. I had Tabs sweep the other day and she really missed quite a few of the bits on the floor. I was trying to figure out how to help her. When she was younger I taught her to sweep and she'd done quite well. I remembered that she was sweeping up paper bits before because she used to cut things up all the time and make a paper mess everywhere. I realized bits of paper are easier to see than other things on the floor, so maybe that is why she did better. 

Kids have a hard time sweeping in straight lines so that they cover every bit of the floor. For now, while that is a problem, I came up with something to help my kids "see" where they need to sweep. 

Going with the bits of paper idea, I made a bunch of "confetti" by making a zillion little hole-punches:
Then I did something that seems crazy, but stay with me....I threw them all over the floor!

Sounds nuts right? But once I did this, she could SEE where she needed to sweep. I made sure to spread them all over the areas that needed to be swept the most. 

Let me show you the difference between what's really on the floor, and what you can see from standing up:

View from floor level:
 Standing up view:
Notice how you can't see much but the little paper once you stand up? When I put the papers down she couldn't "sweep" and then come to me complaining that she did sweep because it was so blatantly obvious where she had missed spots. YAY!

The best part of all this? When I went around throwing confetti everywhere, she got excited and said, "Mom! I'm going to pretend we had a party and threw confetti everywhere! Now I get to clean it all up!" Ha ha. Now I've got her convinced this is super fun. Mwah ha ha!

After making all those dratted bits of "confetti" I thought of an easier way to get little paper bits to strew around for her. Our paper shredder is a cross-cut shredder which makes lots of lovely paper bits! Now I have a nice supply of paper to help her learn to sweep using this method.  Don't chuck those shredded bills- toss them under your kitchen table instead! ( ;

One last tip for sweeping is to mark an area where the child is supposed to gather all the floor gunk. See THIS picture for a fun way of doing that.

 Good Luck!


  1. I like this idea! I may have to try it with my own six-year-old . . . although I think my three-year-old, who is more domestically inclined, might actually do better with it.

  2. Teaching kids to do chores is such an important thing to do. Good for you for thinking of a fun way to do it! :)

  3. Smart idea! I thought I was being smart by buying a light weight floor vac because handling a broom is so tricky for little ones. The big kids do well, but the littles are afraid of the vacuum!

  4. Such a great idea! I might need to use this with my six-year old. He has the hardest time with sweeping.

    On another note, who made your header? I'd like to find graphics in a similar style to create a button and image to use with my new homemaking series but don't know where to even start looking for them.

  5. This has got to be the most wonderful /fun idea.. What 6 yr old , could resist , sweeping up from a party.. fun,fun..
    Plus, it teaches her to sweep all over.. She will always remember this.. SUch a great learning lesson.. Great job Mama.

  6. Sounds like a brilliant plan! Not only are you delegating tasks so you won't have to do things all by yourself, you're also teach your kids to be responsible. And you did a great job coming up with a way to make sweeping the floor exciting to your six-year-old.

    Bo Tolbert @


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