How To Get Kids To Clean Up: Best 8 Ways
Do you have a hard time getting your little ones to clean up after themselves? Do they enjoy making a mess then complain and whine about having to tidy it up? We've got you covered with the help of a few moms.
1. Discuss the value of why they should help out.
From time to time, I make a point of talking to my kids about how it’s important to contribute to the household when you’re in a family. Then we will talk about different ways they can help out and what I do for the family too. Since starting this, I’ve noticed my daughter will paraphrase our discussions when it’s time to clean up.
2. Help your kids dress the part.
They say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In an article on Parents.com, writer and editor Madonna Behen says, "Kids 5- and 6-years-old love to role-play, so try encouraging them to start 'Cara's Cleaning Company' or 'Henry's Helping Hands.' Outfit them for the role with a hat, apron and child-size rubber gloves. You get to play the part of the appreciative customer."
3. Don’t ask. State your expectations for clean up.
When I ask my kids to do something they don’t want to do, the majority of the time their answer is, “No.” Instead, I state, “It’s time to clean up, please.” If they say no, I clarify that it wasn’t a question and that it needs to be done.
4. Work at the mess piece by piece.
If your child's playroom looks daunting to you, imagine how your child feels. In her Huffington Post column, writer Susan Stiffelman advises breaking down a big job so the task isn't too overwhelming. She suggests telling your kids, "Start by putting away anything with red on it ... or anything made of plastic ... or whatever is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand."
5. Work together.
A request as simple as, “Clean up your toys,” can seem overwhelming to a child. When they don’t want to clean up, I work with my kids. The downside of this tactic is that I can’t go into autopilot and keep working on what I want to get done. But it is much more effective than repeating myself endlessly and nothing getting done.
6. Summon the Toy Fairy.
Carrie, a blogger for Crafty Moms Share, tells B-Inspired Mama, "We have the Toy Fairy visit each night. She is a fairy that loves toys but does not have any of her own. She is not allowed to take toys that are put away, but if they are left out she thinks they are for her. We have yet to take toys away, but there are nights where we ‘contact’ the Toy Fairy and tell her not to come if our day is spinning out of control.”
7. Avoid using, “You took it out. You put it away,” as a reason they should clean up.
This one is hard for me. I’m trying to avoid doing it is because I’ve had it used against me. Specifically, my kids will say, “But he/ she did it,” when I’ve asked them to clean up. Part of being a family is working together regardless of the source of the mess.
8. Add a soundtrack to the chore.
On their People.com blog, actresses Ashley Williams and Alysia Reiner write that their children are training to be sous chefs, but it's turning out to be one messy journey. Their advice: "During cleanup, most 2-year-olds will love to sing a cleanup song while they pump the all-purpose spray to the beat. Following along behind the trail of sprays with a dishtowel will leave your kitchen cleaner than when you started. Win-win!"
👇Comment below with your favorite ways to get you kid to clean up👇