When it comes to cleaning a home, most everyone in the family can pitch in, even the toddlers, who love to feel like they’re helping out mom and dad.
But your kiddos don’t always see it that way. If it were up to them, they probably would never put their things away. Parents know all too well how difficult it can be to get them to take responsibility for their messes and help, but it is possible.
How To Begin
The first step is to make a list of clear directions along with the consequences for not following them. Children need to know the realities of what happens when clothes are put away or dishes aren’t cleared from the table.
It’s hard to allow them to fail, but one morning I chose not to step in when I noticed my teenager decided to skip her kitchen duty that day. She told me she wanted to wait until later. When lunchtime came, we didn’t have clean dishes for lunch.
We all pitched in to wash dishes by hand and were able to sit down for quick soup and sandwiches, but my daughter said it helped her understand the importance of staying on top of a task.
So, once everyone knows the rules, use the four ways below to get your kids to help you clean:
4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help You Clean
1. Make it easy. Kids won’t clean up if they have to sort through their toys to figure out where they go. It’s much easier if there are only three or four large baskets or a big toy box where everything goes. Use this time to teach them the importance of decluttering and only having toys they love.
2. Make it fun. Put on some fun music for your kids to sing along to while cleaning their room. ALL of my children love this–from my toddlers to my teens. Turn it into a game by seeing who can pick up their toys the faster or see how many toys you can put up in five minutes. Sometimes I’ll give them a bag and tell them whoever can pick up 5 pieces of trash, toys, etc., first wins the game.
4. Establish a routine and stick with it. Routines and habits are important. Have your kids clean up their room every day while you’re cooking dinner or a couple of hours before bedtime. This gives them plenty of time to follow their nightly routine and be ready when bedtime arrives.
One final word of advice:
Follow through on whatever rules you put in place. For example, if you tell your child they can’t have computer time until their room is clean, mean what you say. If you don’t follow your own rules, they probably won’t take you seriously. Be consistent.
Need more ideas? You may find this book helpful as you encourage your children to help around the house:
What about you? How do you make doing chores fun?
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