One of the best things we can do to prepare our kids for adulthood is teaching them how to run/take care of a home. Chores don’t just give children an awareness that they are one of the occupants of the home and as such need to chip in on taking care of it; chores also teach kids valuable skills they can use when they are all grown and living on their own.
A great skill for any older child to learn (that some adults are unaware they do incorrectly) is how to properly operate a vacuum cleaner. We say older child because they need to be capable of pushing and carrying the vacuum on their own to properly work it by themselves. Most parenting advisors suggest about the age of 10.
Before you bring out the vacuum cleaner and show your kids how to operate it, you may want to put together an instruction card that they can reference every time it is their turn to vacuum. This way they can look back at the quick tips to ensure they don’t forget anything. Make it fun by decorating it and using color.
Some great items to include on the reference card:
- Reminders about the proper way to handle the vacuum including:
- – checking to make sure the canister is empty
- – make sure the vacuum is at the right floor setting
- – safe plug in procedures
- – hold the cord so it does not get run over by the vacuum
- Pick up any larger pieces of garbage or small items from the floor that are too big for the vacuum to suck up before starting up the vacuum.
- Slowly run the vacuum across the floor in rows making sure to overlap the row just vacuumed. Start with one direction and then switch directions and do it again.
- Try to avoid bumping into the furniture. Use the fun tools and attachments to clean under tables and furniture.
- Wind the cord put the tools back and properly store the vacuum back where it belongs.
- Enjoy the finished work! Great Job!
A great place to keep this reminder card is on the wall next to where the vacuum is stored.
Now that you have the reminder card finished you are ready to teach your kids how to operate the vacuum. A great way to do this is to sprinkle some baking soda on the floor. It is easy to see and helps kids to realize that the vacuum in not properly working by just running it over the floor as quick as they can. Have them run the vacuum over the baking soda quickly and then show them how there is still baking soda left behind on the carpet. Then show them how to slowly move the vacuum in rows overlapping the row they already vacuumed and then switch directions.
When they have mastered basic vacuuming show them the attachments/tools and how to use each one. Once they are familiar with the machine and the room is clean show them how to wrap up the cord and store the vacuum back in its place, and then go enjoy a treat or fun activity together after telling them they did a great job!