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7 Ways to Get Kids to Clean Up
“Clean your room!!” shouts every mom, everyday. Am I right?!
Are you tired of nagging your children to clean?
You know you are.
You know you already have to nag your husband to do anything; not that you’re meaning to, or even think that you are. But, he may be a lost cause; you didn’t raise him.
Your kids, on the other hand, you are raising. Meaning that you need to instill a good work ethic in them. Teach them to clean up after themselves and possibly even others (gasp).
You know what, though?
Getting your kids to clean isn’t as easy for some, as it is for others. Your child may argue with you about it, get overwhelmed with the huge mess they made, and then guilt you into cleaning up their mess for them.
Please don’t tell me my 5 year old is the only one who does that to their mom!
If you have a hard time convincing your child that they need to clean their room, or other areas of the house to contribute to the household chores, keep reading to find out seven smart ways to get your kids to clean!
For suggested chores, based on children’s ages (age 3 to 12), check out this household chores for kids printable!
First way to get kids to clean up: Simply Ask Them to Clean
Ha! If only, right?
But, if you don’t start by simply asking them, how will they know you want them to?
Simply asking your child to do simple tasks around the home can lead to big result, sometimes without your child even realizing it!
‘Please take care of your dishes.’
‘Please put your shoes where they belong.’
‘Please put your dirty clothes in the hamper.’
Asking your child to do these things daily, without fail, is helping them create a habit, without them even realize it. A habit that will hopefully stick with them through life.
Just remember to ask them in a way that’s polite and respectful to them.
Second way to get kids to clean up: Turn Cleaning into a Game
If simply asking them doesn’t work; try turning it into a game.
‘Who can pick up faster’ and ‘you can’t pick up faster than me’ games will certainly work with some kids! But, it won’t with others.
Turning it into a competition between siblings could potentially work, just be careful about increasing the sibling rivalry; it can get intense.
Another way to turn cleaning into a game is to turn it into an actual game. Give them a squirt gun with soap and warm water or a DIY non-toxic all purpose cleaning detergent) and a rag; have them wash the windows and the floors, or anything else that needs a scrub down.
Be as creative as you like here, invite your kids for ideas!
Third way to get kids to clean up: Entice Them ‘Only ‘big kids’ Get to Clean’
Little kids love being considered ‘big kids, or being given real responsibilities and think that they are older than they really are.
Ever hear of a twonager or a fivenager? It’s when a 2 or a 5 year old act like they’re teenagers. I have both.
If you have some, as well, remind them that if they act like a teenagers; they get to have the responsibilities of being a teenager. It’s just part of growing up. Of course, you get to choose which chores your ‘teenagers’ do.
Fourth way to get kids to clean up: You Do As You Say
You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?
Telling your children to do something or clean up after themselves is one thing. But, having them watch you do the same for yourself and them from the time they start forming memories to right now; that’s how they latently learn to clean.
Plus, monkey see, monkey do, right? Not saying our kids are monkeys, but they sure do love to copy everything we do. The good and the bad.
So, why not be a good example and do what we want them to do?
If you’re able to do this with your first child; it’ll get easier with the more children you have. They tend to copy each other, as well.
Fifth way to get kids to clean up: Teach Your Children How to Clean
Maybe you’ve done all of the above, but your child still will not even pick up their room. They simply refuse to even pick up one toy.
It could be that they get anxious picking up, overwhelmed, or maybe they aren’t quite sure how.
This has certainly been the case with my 5 year old. She makes such a mess and gets overwhelmed by it. She doesn’t know how to pick up such a large mess without me sitting in her room tell her what to pick up and where to put it. This can seem exhausting to do for a child. But, if you don’t teach them how, then they’ll never learn.
So, instead of letting them skip picking up their room today, and you just picking it in 5 minutes or less; take the 20 to 30 minutes teaching them what goes where and how to pick up their room so they can do it on their own in the future.
Be patient and reap the rewards of hard work, and lengthier cleaning sessions to start off with. At some point or another, you’ll simply have to ask them if their room is clean!
Sixth way to get kids to clean up: Clean Side by Side
Maybe your child doesn’t like having to clean when they see you doing something more fun.
Remember, they like to copy you. So, if you’re off playing games or on social media on your phone while telling them to go clean their room; no wonder they aren’t listening to you!
GET OFF YOUR PHONE!! And, go get some household chores done, too. Help them clean their room. Have them help you do dishes, or sweep, or do laundry.
Teach them how to clean, apprentice-style. Let them clean with you, not for you.
Seventh way to get kids to clean up: Turn it into a Business Transaction
If all else fails; make a business transaction.
Ever watch Boss Baby, the Netflix original series?
Well, BB, aka Boss Baby, treats almost everything in the show as a business transaction. His big brother wants him to eat his green beans; his brother is going to owe him for it.
Nothing is free in life. This isn’t saying that you have to give them an allowance or bribe them. But, as Boss Baby would say ‘I do’sy, you do’sy’. Meaning, if your child does something for you, you do something for them. This could be as simple as reading them an extra story at bedtime, or letting them choose a movie to watch before bedtime.
Whatever it is, you need to make it seem like they chose it and wouldn’t be something that they could get or do without doing something for you.
You both need to benefit from the ‘transaction’.
Even with all of these smart tips for helping you to train your children to clean up after themselves; it can still be a challenge.
But, hey, there were seven tips, and seven is a lucky number. So, I wish you luck in your venture on having your kids clean their rooms, or other areas of the home!
If you’re unsure what your child is capable of cleaning up by themselves; the best way to find out is to experiment.
Give them some space and time and see what they do.
And, don’t forget, they’re human, too. Don’t expect their clean up job to be perfect, or even close to it!