After-school (screen-free) activities for tweens who like to be groomed

For parents whose tweens like to keep things tidy, giving them chores is like giving them something fun to do. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course; it’s just that parents usually have the opposite problem. It’s not every day that you come across someone who enjoys cleaning, including adults.

Tweens who like to be in charge of cleaning their room can also enjoy different cleaning activities. The great thing is that cleaning teaches and gives children a sense of responsibility and accountability. In the long run, instilling this duty in children at a young age can help them grow into capable, self-reliant adults. In fact, the University of Michigan conducted a study concluding that children who grew up in clean, organized homes may do better in school and at work.

Tweens are very capable. They can do so much more than when they were little. Pretty much any household chore adults can do, tweens can do too. However, they may need direction and guidance to ensure they are performing their duties properly.

For example, if a tween cleans the bathroom but doesn’t do it hygienically, that could be a teachable moment. Below is a list of activities tidy tweens can do after school, rather than being on their devices.

Related: After School Checklist for Middle Schoolers to Complete Before Dinner

10/10 Organize the bedroom closet

This may not seem like much to a child who already keeps their things clean, but sometimes a thorough cleaning helps. Purge the entire closet. They can choose clothes they no longer wear and/or position summer clothes in the back and winter clothes in the front. Wipe down shelves, if any. Some children may even want to coordinate the colors of their closets. Just get everything in a neat, dust-free way.

9/10 Dog brushing

Brushing the dog is indeed a cleaning activity. The better groomed the dogs are, the less hair falls on everything else. Even though they love their furry friend, do they like having their fur all over their clothes? Getting all the hair picked up/swept up afterwards is also important.

8/10 Clean the refrigerator

It’s a daunting task that doesn’t get enough done, but it’s the most important appliance in your home; your fridge. It needs constant maintenance, including a deep cleaning every 3-4 months, the USDA says. This means putting all food in a cooler, turning it off, removing shelves and drawers, and washing them with hot soapy water. While they’re putting things back together, they might want to check anything that’s past its expiration date.

7/10 Dusting

Dusting surfaces well is one thing. Add to these objects, the television, the top of the frames, the window sills, even the blinds could need to be dusted. Have your tween walk around with a dusting cloth and get it all.

6/10 Mopping the floor

Mopping the floor is a good time for a parent to step in with some advice. It’s more than just pushing a damp mop. In fact, it’s the worst cleaning technique according to the Public Medical Center. Pushing the mop without direction is what most people do, spreading dirty water and bacteria all around. The right way to clean:

  • Wet the mop
    : Immerse the mop head in the bucket of cleaning solution. Squeeze it to remove excess water.

  • Do figure 8s:
    Use figure 8 sweeping motions to cover the floor space.

  • Wring the mop often:
    Ideally before the water on the floor becomes dirty – to avoid spreading it and other bacteria.

5/10 Organize the drawers

Organizing drawers is a great activity for tweens who like to be neat. This can be a major decluttering project depending on the number of junk drawers in the house. Take everything out, throw away unnecessary things and wipe the inside of the drawer. According to Restoring Order, organization is like therapy. It’s very therapeutic and helps people feel better about themselves.

4/10 Organize the pantry

Tweens don’t have to get organized like The Home Edit, but getting things in order and wiping down the shelves helps. Parents might even ask their tween to gather a box of non-perishable foods that aren’t eaten and take them to a homeless shelter or food pantry.

3/10 Vacuuming

Tweens are young and full of energy; vacuuming them on the stairs can be a big help for parents. Vacuuming in general is a big help. Getting under furniture can be more difficult; parents may need to step in and help, so they don’t hurt themselves lifting anything.

2/10 Wash the windows

Tweens can easily create a window cleaning kit. What they need:

  • Newspapers:
    Newspapers can clean windows wonderfully. They may need to collect a few depending on the number of windows.

  • Paper napkins:
    Paper towels work if a newspaper isn’t available. Paper towels are also ideal for wiping down window sills and rails.

  • Q-tips:
    These are invaluable for cleaning the nooks and crannies of the window sill and window tracks.

  • Window washer:
    Whether it’s a store-bought recipe or a homemade recipe, make sure the tween is mature enough to use safely, and everything should be ready.

1/10 Organize the hall closet

It might not be a hall closet; maybe there is a back hallway or mud room. Wherever shoes and coats are kept. Tweens can put their shoes away, hang up their coats, and sweep the floor.

Sources: University of Michigan, USDA, Public Medical Center, Restoration of Order

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