I keep a VERY tidy home, but I do not do it all by myself. I have worked with my kids since they were young to pitch in and so today I am sharing 3 easy ways to teach your children to clean up without complaining.
Easy Ways to Teach Your Children to Clean
Yes, my kids clean and they do not complain about it. I remember after we had our son, my friend telling me I would not be able to keep up with the house anymore and I remember thinking, she is probably right. Fastforward 9 years later and my house is still very tidy and my kids absolutely help with that. Honestly, our entire family contributes.
That does not mean that there are not moments where we have crap strewn about and dishes in the sink or dirty floors, it just means that we work together each day to make sure that our home is picked up and we take pride in the place we call home. So how on Earth did I get my kids to clean without complaining? Well, 3 pretty easy things that you can put in place today!
1. Start Now
We started having them help pick up and clean as soon as they were able to understand directions. We made a game out of it and they were always eager to participate. I also modeled cleaning up with them and we ALWAYS do this together. Now with that said, I do not make my kids do anything that uses chemicals just yet, but as they get bigger, you can bet they will have chores.
If you have young kids, my advice to you is to start having them help now. 1-3 is a great time for you to make a game out of clean up and have them help you pick up. When our kids were little we also really tried to work on playing with only a few things at a time and not dumping out entire bins. Not that it didn’t happen, but it was all just a process and eventually even if they did dump entire bins, they would put all the toys back in the bin.
If your kids are over 4 they can easily help with organizing toys and other smaller tasks. About every 6 months we go through the kids rooms and play areas and they choose toys they want to keep, donate and sell. Then we reorganize everything and they are responsible for keeping it all together. This means that my son has bins for just his Nerf toys and Transformers and my daughter has one that is only for her dolls and Barbies.
They like it because they can find things easier and because it is easy for them to clean up and I like it for the exact reasons. In addition, when I am doing the main cleaning of the house, we toss on music as we always have (I let the kids choose the jams which motivates them) and they grab those Swiffer duster things and just start dusting a bit. My son will even grab the vacuum now that he is older and help out there. Every little bit helps and they have no issues jumping in because they have always helped and they find it fun now.
2. Everything Has Its Place
Since the kids were tiny, everything has always had its place. What this means is that we have toy boxes and within those toy boxes, the toy sets are in different bags. Everything has its place and it makes it very easy for the kids to get the items they want out and know where they go back to without destroying entire spaces just to find one thing.
We have HOARDS of toys people, we are not the understuffed by any means, but every level of our home has organizational toy boxes and we keep them organized. My kids will go into the toy bin with the specific toy they are looking for in mind, they will get it out, play with it and then when they are done, all it takes is me usually saying “can you clean up so and so” and they bag the toy right up and place it right where it goes, no complaints.
My kids helped create these bags, they helped organize them and they take ownership in the toys and everything having its place. By creating these spaces with your kids, they will be able to be active members in your home and your home will stay cleaner and more organized.
3. Make It Routine
The biggest reason my kids clean without complaining is that it is just part of our routine. Do they destroy things? Absolutely! However, they clean those messes up because it is just part of their routine, just like bedtime and homework time. Our routine is pretty consistent and they really need very little prompting to pick up.
My kids will come home from school and play with all the things, but as soon as I tell them that dinner is almost ready, they will start picking up the messes they had out in the living room. If we are leaving somewhere, they pick up what they are playing with and put it away. When we send them upstairs to get ready for bed, they both know that in addition to baths, brushing teeth and getting in their PJ’s, they need to pick up their bedrooms and put their laundry in the hamper.
We set those routines early and we have been consistent with them. We have not had to punish our kids for not picking up and we know that there will be days that they are just not going to get it done, but for the most part, they are really great about putting away the messes they make and falling into their routines.
Are you ready to try these easy ways to teach your children to clean up?
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