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I come from good solid farming stock and my husband’s family is Italian American. We both believe that families should support each other and work together at life, which includes working together on chores. As the mother of three and a parent educator, I believe that every chore we do together as a family is a learning experience and can even be a fun learning experience. Breaking the task of window washing down into age-appropriate chores for kids and for the whole family means we spend time together, working together, having fun together and simply being a family together.
As a military family, we’re often stationed thousands of miles away from our extended families. We purposefully work to build strong familial bonds within our family of five since no matter how many times we move and how far we are from our family and friends, we always have each other. Combine our love of family with my love of washing windows in the spring and you’ll find our entire family outside cleaning windows together every spring. It’s a wonderful time of year to get outside after being trapped in the house all winter. Cleaning windows together allows us all to be outside enjoying the lovely weather and still get our work done.
It’s always been important to us that we do chores and tasks together as a family. You know the saying, “Many hands make light work.” And as a parent educator, I know that having your children do chores together with the family teaches them responsibility and teamwork. Plus, why should my children be stuck inside on some type of technology when they could have the opportunity to spend a morning outside on a warm, sunny day working and playing together with the rest of the family? You can make it a fun family activity by singing, running races, having good-natured competitions, telling jokes, taking a fun break in the middle of cleaning and having a picnic. You can also celebrate completing the window cleaning by going out to a family movie together later in the day.
Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids – Cleaning Windows
Cleaning Window Screens
Removing the screens from the windows and cleaning them is the first step of washing windows.
13 Years and Older – They can remove dirty screens from the windows and replace the clean screens. Take the time to show children how to remove and replace the screens correctly and then supervise them doing it on several windows. After they feel comfortable with the task, they can do the remaining windows on their own while you go on to another task.
10 Years and Older – They can clean dirty screens with the spray nozzle on a garden hose. Demonstrate how to use the hose to clean the screens and how to adjust the water pressure on the nozzle. Supervise the cleaning of several screens until you see that your child can handle it on his or her own.
Five Years and Older – They can carry dirty screens from the window to be cleaned and then return the clean screen back to the same window. If you have windows and screens of different sizes, have the child take one screen at a time, wait for it to be cleaned and then return that screen to the same window so that screens don’t get mixed up.
Newspaper is the best product for wiping windows. It’s absorbent, inexpensive and is more earth-friendly since you’re using a repurposed item that can be recycled.
Four Years Old and Older – Separate the newspaper into individual pages. Separating the newspapers ahead of time makes the actual window cleaning go more quickly. If it’s windy on the day you’re cleaning windows, use a large clip to hold your newspaper pages together so they don’t blow away (ask me how I learned this one).
Eight Years Old and Older – Clip the individual newspaper pages together neatly and securely.
Put Together Your Window Cleaning Kit
Putting together a kit means you have all the supplies you need to clean your window in one portable kit. I recommend you create a cleaning kit for each person old enough to clean windows.
Seven Years Old and Older – Have your child put the supplies together in each window cleaning kit. They can also be responsible for replenishing the supplies such as newspaper and paper towels as needed during your cleaning time. *Do not have children handle cleaning supplies.
Recommended Window Cleaning Kit Supplies
Newspapers – Newspapers are free and clean window glass wonderfully. You’ll need to collect about a week’s worth of newspapers depending on how big your newspaper is and how many windows you have.
Paper Towels – I use paper towels to wipe the window frames, tracks and sills.
Cotton Swabs – These are invaluable for cleaning the nooks and crannies of the window sill and window tracks. You can use the inexpensive cotton swabs since you’re just using them to clean gunky dirt.
Windex® Original Glass Cleaner – Do you remember the father from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding who puts Windex® on almost everything (tell me that I’m not the only one that could see my husband’s family in that movie family!)? Well, I’ve always used Windex® for cleaning all parts of my windows: glass, tracks, sills, frames and handles. So, if you’re cleaning windows in my family, put some Windex® on it (said in an old man voice). Of course, Windex® is great for cleaning all types of surfaces inside your home, too: mirrors, shower doors, chrome bathroom fixtures, tile, plastic, vinyl, aluminum and more.
Cleaning Windows (the glass and frame)
Fourteen Years Old and Older – Show your child how to clean with Windex® and newspapers and to wipe until the streaks are gone. Also show your child how to look for streaks from different angles. I’m a bit of clean and absolutely no-streaks-on-the-windows freak when it comes to cleaning windows. If you’re not as particular as I am, then you may have a twelve-year old tackle this task.
Cleaning Window Tracks and Window Sills
Some people clean the window glass, but leave the window sill and window tracks dirty. I clean the screens and windows each spring so that I can open the windows and let fresh air into my home. If the window sills are dirty, then that dirt will just blow into the house with the fresh air (which doesn’t seem so fresh anymore). I’m a bit particular about cleaning the window sills and tracks until you could eat off them or at least until they’re clean.
Fourteen Years Old and Older – Show your child how to spray Windex® on the window sill and tracks so they can wipe the dirt away. Take care to show your child how to spray onto the sill and not in the open window onto the furniture inside (ask me how I learned this tip). Show your child how to spray Windex® into the nooks and crannies of the window tracks and use cotton swabs to clean the gunk out. With the combination of Windex®, paper towels and cotton swabs, you’ll have window sills so clean that they look new.
Pick Up Trash
Four Years Old and Older – Give children a bucket and have them pick up the used cleaning supplies. If you or your child are worried about the dirt you can have them wear rubber gloves to pick up the trash.
With warmer spring weather just around the corner (and my oldest “baby” home from college next week to help), I dropped by Harris Teeter to pick up all the window cleaning supplies we’ll need for a fun family activity day. I found the Windex® Original Glass Cleaner in the cleaning supplies aisle.
Right now if you purchase a participating Windex® Glass Cleaner product at any Kroger or the Kroger family of stores between 2/1/2016 and 4/30/2016, you’ll receive a Reward Code valid for a movie certificate good towards one admission to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, in theaters March 25th and rated PG-13 (I loved the first movie and am excited to see this one and share it with my kids). Learn more about how to get your free movie ticket at the movie microsite.
Looks like window cleaning will be even more fun this year for our entire family when we get to go to the movies together and laugh hysterically at another big eccentric family that loves each other (you know, like my husband’s family, my family is entirely normal!). You can learn more about the new My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 on their website and about Windex® on their Facebook page.
So with the incentive of seeing a movie together after cleaning windows, who else is excited to spend time together building family bonds with age-appropriate chores for the whole family?