Remember how easy it was to clean your house before you had kids? Unfortunately, children don’t grow up with an instinctual ability to put their toys away, pick up after themselves or even not run through the house with a glass of grape juice. They have to be taught these behaviors and habits as they develop.
Because of this fact, it’s a good thing that one of the amazing characteristics of kids is that their minds are like sponges, meaning once they’re old enough, they can quickly pick up on these tasks and start to help around the house.
Learn how to get kids to clean their rooms using some of the following tips.
Make a Clean Room Checklist
Telling children to clean their bedrooms or pick up the living room can overwhelm them. Rather, make a specific checklist of small tasks for them to follow. For example:
- Put storybooks back on the shelf
- Put stuffed animals on your bed
- Put building blocks in their container
If you have younger children who don’t read, give them one of these chores at a time. When they are finished, they can come to you for some praise and smiles, and then you can set their next task.
Tip: To help very young kids figure out which toys go where, label containers and shelves with images of the items they hold.
Make Picking Up a Habit
Teach your children to put things away as soon as they’re finished using them. Sure, once they get really deep into a game of make believe, all bets are off. But you can still make it a routine to put all their trucks away before dinnertime or make sure their stuffed animals are in the bed or toy box before they get tucked in for the night. Soon, you may find that you don’t even have to ask.
Add Some Excitement to Cleaning
Being a kid is all about having fun, so it should come as no surprise that tedious chores, such as tidying up, will bore them to tears. Keep them engaged by creating clean-up games for preschool kids and older kids, too. There are limitless ways you can do this, including:
- Making it a roleplay game in which you and your child are professional housekeepers
- Playing a silly song and challenging kids to put all their toys away before the last note
- Having your kids put away items by color
- Holding a contest in which the first child to put away all his or her toys gets to pick what movie you’ll watch later
Use a Reward System
Sometimes figuring out how to keep your house clean with kids calls for some positive reinforcement. Like many adults, most children like working towards a goal and feeling as if their efforts are being recognized. Here are a few ways you can reward your kids:
- Allow them 15 minutes of screen time for each task they complete, such as making their beds, loading the dishwasher or walking the dog.
- Change the Wi-Fi password daily and provide it after they’ve ticked all the boxes on their clean room checklist.
- For younger kids, hang a chore chart on the wall and let them place a fun sticker next to each completed item. (You can find plenty of chore chart ideas on Pinterest.)
Don’t forget that one of the best ways to get your kids to clean their rooms is to praise them, rather than going behind them and redoing tasks or telling them what they did wrong. With a little encouragement — and a bit of patience — you might find yourself giving other parents tips on how to keep a house clean with kids.
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