Get Kids To Clean Up - 9 Easy Hacks To Get Them Cleaning

communication grade-school (5-12) preschool (3-5) teen (12-18) toddler (1-3) Dec 20, 2018

So I make weekly videos and each week we have to come up with a topic that we want to cover here.  We review questions that people ask me, postings on social media, and research what people are searching for. Then, every once in a while, I selfishly do a video about something I am really eager to learn about or know I need to learn more about.  This happens to be one of those videos. Admittedly, I don’t think I have done a great job in teaching my children to clean.  So I decided to do some research and have come back to you with the 9 best parenting hacks to get your child to clean.  Let’s learn together.

I have said to my kids many times that if there was a competition for how fast a room can be messed up, I think they are at an elite olympic level. We only have 2 kids.  We often have 4-5 kids at our house when their friends come over and as you know, the struggle is real.  If my kids aren’t cleaning up after themselves, I surely can’t expect their friends to do it either. I have come to the realization and have accepted that my children’s lack of cleaning prowess is my fault, and my wife’s too. So let’s learn some new parenting hacks to get our kids to clean:

#1 – Lead by example – You can’t expect your kids to clean if you aren’t cleaning yourself.  Monkey see, monkey do.  I’m sure in most cases, parents who are wanting their children to clean, do so because they are sick of cleaning everything themselves.   Just be sure you are modeling the behavior so you can lead by example.

#2 – Make it fun – There are a lot of different ways to try and make the cleaning fun for your kids; when they are young you can sing cleanup songs.  I know we used to have one.  “clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere”.

You can play musicuse a timer to see how fast they can do it, pretend someone is coming over, or make it a competition among multiple kids and see who can put away the most items. The idea is to make it fun.  For most of us, cleaning really isn’t fun.  But if we can change our attitude about it, they will help them change their attitude too.

#3 – Participate – While this is often used when a child is younger because you need to show them how to clean, participating in the cleaning with them does show you are in it together. If you are doing something fun or relaxing while you are telling them to clean, that is not usually an easy sell.  So see if you can participate with them.

#4 – Be specific – Using the words “clean up your room” is pretty broad.  You need to be specific and say “please make your bed” or “clean your clothes off the floor and put them away.”  Being specific is important for them to be clear about what it is you expect from them.

#5 – Make it easy – One of the things we did was to have a specific play area in our house.  This area was designed as a play room.  We had to give up the room but it helped keep the toys in a somewhat contained area rather than finding them all over the house. The other important thing in making it easier for children to clean is to have specific bins or drawers where things go.  If you can label them, even better. This way, kids know exactly where things go when cleaning up but also know exactly where things are when they are looking for them.

#6 – Get them their own cleaning tools –  I love this idea.  Get them their own broom, mop, step stool, etc.  Help them make a “kids cleaning kit” which has all of the things they need to use for cleaning.  You can even decorate them or let them personalize them.

#7 – Make specific times – The attention span of kids is pretty small and they work best in short bursts.  Ideally having 2 or 3 quick cleaning times in a day is better than one really big one. You have to figure out what works best for your schedules but maybe it’s 10 minutes before dinner and then 10 minutes before bed.  They then get into the routine of cleaning up after themselves regularly.  If you can’t do that or don’t want to, then maybe designate a specific cleaning day each week.

#8 – Manage expectations – While kids are usually a lot more capable than we give them credit for, we do have to make the cleaning age appropriate.  More importantly, we have to manage our expectations of them. The cleaning is our issue.  We are the ones with the desire for it to be clean, not the child.  Most children are totally ok with a complete mess around them.  Just be aware of what you are expecting of them and make sure it is realistic.

#9 – Positive reinforcement – You need to make a big deal when they do clean, especially if they do it without you asking.  “Hey, I saw you put away your toys earlier.  Thank you so much for doing that.  It is really appreciated.” Positive reinforcement goes a long way.  Kids want to repeat behavior in which they get praise.

I hope these parenting hacks will get your kids to clean up after themselves. I’m going to stop by the store on my way home, get some cleaning supplies for the kids and turn on some cleaning music when I get home. I’d love to hear from you.  Have you used any parenting hacks to get your children to clean?  Leave your feedback in the comments below.


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