How to encourage children to help with cleaning at home

  • By: Bee
  • Date: July 21, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

How many times have you ventured into your child’s bedroom only to be met with such a mess that it resembles a burglary scene from a crime drama? The washing basket you placed in the room was a waste of time as it’s far easier to toss dirty clothes on the floor, and it’s no wonder your child can never find anything with the amount of clutter that resides in their bedroom. Or rather, bomb-site.

So. How do you get your children to clean their room and pitch in and help you clean around the home? Many parents opt for the easy option and offer money or treats. This may get the job done, up to a point. The trouble is, their main focus will be on the end-prize rather than doing a good job. They will likely rush the job so they can quickly get their hands on that hard cash.

So what’s the secret to getting your children to pick up that duster, maneuver that hoover, and put things back from where they came?

Here’s our top tips to get your kids helping to clean around the home.

Don’t Ask

It may sound a bit harsh. But if you ask your kids to clean up, you’re likely to be met with a child and teenager’s favorite word, No!

Instead, tell them it’s time to clean up. Not in a harsh tone. Just in a matter-of-fact way. If they still insist on telling you no, inform them that it’s not a question, more a statement that it is time to clean up.

Quickly inform them that you will be joining them in their cleaning crusade. Otherwise, they may see it as a punishment rather than giving a helping hand. Besides, regardless of what you’re doing together, it is still quality time and as much fun as you’re prepared to make it.

Turn it into a Game

Kids are competitive. It’s in their nature. So it makes sense to turn the cleaning ritual into a fun game. To be more precise, a race. Kids love winning against their parents and meeting their challenges. Their competitiveness will see them go at the cleaning with great gusto. You could maybe split a room into two and take one side each and see who finishes first.

Before commencing with the cleaning game, it’s important to emphasize that the job must be done properly and not in a haphazard way with clothes, toys, books, and whatever else being stuffed out of sight.

If you’re unable to help with the job at hand due to other household commitments, you could set a timer. You can set a designated time that you both agree to and challenge them to beat it.

Are We There Yet?

How many times have you set off in the car with your kids for a day out to be met with those immortal words, are we there yet every thirty minutes or so? Quite a lot, I’d imagine. It’s because the majority of children, especially younger ones, are impatient. They’re not interested that it takes so many hours to get to the seaside. Instead, they just want to feel the sand between their toes as fast as possible.

You can use their impatience to your advantage and get them to help your clean around the home. How? Well, let’s say they have a party to attend at a friend’s house at midday. They’ll likely be up and ready fairly early as they’ll be excited. The time between them waking and setting off for the party is a window of opportunity.

Use the opportunity to get them to help you around the home. Talk about the party as you clean. Build up their excitement. Tell them how much fun they’re going to have while they’re there. The chances are, they’ll be that excited about the party; they’ll forget that they’ve got a duster in their hand and probably won’t even hear the hoover they’re pushing around.

Praise

Always remember to praise the work your kids are doing. You have got them this far. Please don’t ruin it by picking faults with their cleaning skills. If you do, your helping hand is likely to down tools and walk off in a huff. If they did happen to make mistakes along the way, which is very likely at first, mention them after the cleaning has finished. And remember, make your feedback sound like a tip rather than a criticism.

Plan

Plan ahead, that is. Nobody likes jobs or tasks dropped on them unexpectedly. Letting your child know it’s time to clean the home the minute they walk through the door or letting out a yawn after just getting out of bed is not going to be met with much enthusiasm. Schedule your cleaning, select a day in advance so that everyone can be prepared.

T.V. off Music on

Cleaning to music not only seems to make the task go quicker, but it can also be fun. Grab one of their favorite albums and sing along together as you dust and declutter.

If the T.V. is on, turn it off. Unlike music, T.V. is visual, so it can easily distract a child from the task at hand.

Depending on the child’s age, other distractions that need to be out of arms’ way while the cleaning is full swing are smartphones, tablets, and any other technology that is libel to distract.

One in One Out

Children love getting toys out. They are not so keen on putting them back. Instill responsibility into your child by insisting that before any new toy is taken out of the box, those already out should be put away first.

Explain to them that leaving toys all over the floor is how they get broken and parts get lost. Ensure the boxes or baskets where the toys go are of adequate size. Younger children especially will become frustrated if they can’t fit a certain toy in a particular box or basket.

Finally

Start them young so that it becomes standard. For example, you can begin to teach children to put their toys away as soon as they’re able to walk. Of course, it’s you that will be doing most of the work at this early stage. But remember, children, are very impressionable at this early stage of life. Their inquisitive nature will more than likely see them joining in with what you’re doing.

And remember, don’t expect too much, especially at the beginning. These things take time. Kids who start putting their toys away from an early age often grow into the sort of teenagers that have a meal on the table for their parents when they get home from work.

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