Getting Kids to Clean Up

One habit that is worth encouraging children to get into from an early age is cleaning their own bedrooms. You can start with a simple rule of tidying away toys and clothes and slowly add in other tasks as they get older, such as making their bed, dusting and even hoovering.

Kid's cleaning kit
Kid’s pretend play cleaning kit |

It is a good way of giving them some independence while fostering an understanding into how to help out. And anything that they do will be one job less on your never-ending list. So how can you encourage your children to get cleaning and tidying?

Show them the ropes

We are our children’s greatest role models, so if they see us cleaning on a regular basis, they are likely to want to help or have a go.

This doesn’t mean that you need to be cleaning every minute of every day, but a regular clean will make them see that it is an important part of family life.

Take time to show them what to do, don’t just expect that they will do it properly if you haven’t shown them. Living in a tidy environment also helps to create the right mindset and hopefully this will encourage them to want the same level of cleanliness in their rooms.

Work together

If you have a routine for your own cleaning, try and encourage the kids to work alongside you with their chores, not only are you leading by example but it can be quite fun doing it together.

Provide the right tools

Give them their own space in the cupboard or a box with their name on it with a few cleaning essentials, you never know, if they enjoy it, they might want to do some cleaning in other areas of the house too.

Toy vacuum cleaner
Little Henry, a miniature version of the best-selling vacuum cleaner |

Make it a game

You can turn most things into a game if you put your mind to it, so why not do the same with the cleaning.

If you have more than one, make it into a race or ‘who can have the cleanest bedroom’ competition or get them to race against the clock.

If there are lots of toys to put away, put the boxes a distance away and get them to try and throw them into the box.

Make it manageable

If you are expecting your six-year-old to clean their entire room, it is quite unlikely to happen, however willing they might be. Make the list of age-appropriate tasks and give them a little help if needed at first.

A place for everything

Tidying away toys is a lot easier if everything has a place to go. Using storage tubs, boxes, baskets or buckets, labelled with the name or a clear picture of the contents makes it easy for children to know where everything goes.

Keeping it all at a reasonably low level will also help as they can get things out and put them away without too much help and without the risk of hurting themselves.

It is also a good idea to get them to put things away as they go along, to make the tidying easier and to get them into good habits.

Give them a list

If they have a check-list of jobs to do, it helps to remind them and they can tick them off as they finish them.

For younger children, make visual list with symbols or pictures so that they can clearly see what they need to do.

Offer a financial incentive

If all else fails, bribery works wonders. Why not have a job jar? Every time a job is done, put some money into the jar. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe 10 or 20 pence for smaller jobs and 50 pence or one pound for something that takes more time and effort.

It is surprising how seeing their pile of money grow can motivate them to get their jobs done each week and often it can lead to them wanting to do more jobs around the house to earn even more money which is a win win situation for any busy parent.

If the children are younger, why not try a reward system where they earn a points or stickers towards a treat each time that they do some tidying in their room.