Paula Scott

Paula Scott

Jul 13, 2024. 3 mins read


6 Parent-Proven Strategies for Getting Your Kids to Clean

Research suggests that there are various benefits to including chores as part of your child’s daily routine. From cleaning up their toys to putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, children who learn to clean from a young age may exhibit more responsibility, higher self-esteem and improved emotional regulation. But even when you’ve set great goals at the beginning of the year, by now it may have gone a little… well….south. So when you’ve asked your youngest to tidy up their toys for the umpteenth time without much success, actually making it happen is easier said than done. And doing it yourself just seems brutally unjust doesn’t it? (But…. if you must succum to doing it mostly yourself, here’s how).

Little child using vacuum cleaner at home - Little boy cleaning floor in apartment - Kid doing housework having fun - Side view full length on summer day - Child development

So how can you get your kids to clean without the stress? Here are our top 6 parent-proven strategies for getting your kids to clean.

1. Create a routine

Shall we emphasise not underestimating this one. Let’s be honest, very few people enjoy a spur-of-the-moment “surprise clean” – adults and kiddos alike. Instead of asking your children to tidy up at random moments, try establishing a routine. For example, set the precedent that it’s time to tidy up before dinner or at 5 pm. Once your children get into the routine of cleaning up at the same time each day, they’re more likely to avoid the tantrums and clean out of habit instead. Trust us. 

2. Harness the power of music

Who doesn’t love some feel-good clean-up tunes?! Create a fun playlist of fun and upbeat songs (bit of Tay Tay?) that you only play when it’s tidy-up time. As time goes on, your children will start to associate the songs with cleaning, helping them not only clean up their toys but to have fun while doing it.

3. Incorporate games into your routine

Making a game out of anything is a fun and enjoyable way to tackle chores. Here are some fun games you can incorporate into tidying up time to make the process stress-free for all:

  • I Spy: Use “I Spy” to help your children spot items that need to be put away. For example, “I spy a pair of dirty socks on the floor!” This will then prompt your child to locate the socks and put them in the hamper.

  • Goodnight Game: Lots of children grow attached to their toys and struggle to put them away at night. Create a game out of saying goodnight to the toys and putting them back in their designated spot so they’re ready for action tomorrow.

  • Parents vs Kids: Who doesn’t like a bit of friendly competition? Try a game of Parents vs Kids to see who can complete their chores first.

4. Recognise the importance of proper storage

If you find that your child is simply throwing all of their toys willy-nilly into their toy chest, it may be time to up your storage game. Try clearly labelling your storage bins. Whether you use labels or pictures, this can help children know that their toys have designated spaces. But don’t keep the bins out of reach. Instead make sure your toy storage is low to the ground, helping your children gain more independence when it comes to tidying up.

5. Don’t associate cleaning with punishment

An old-school parenting method included cleaning as punishment. When children got in trouble, they were then made to scrub the kitchen floor, sweep the leaves - whatever! And while this did get the job done, it didn’t do a great job of getting children to actually want to clean. Instead of making cleaning this negative, sad activity, turn it into a positive experience and highlight the importance and opportunities that stem from tidiness. Remind your child that clean storage helps them find their preloved toys quicker when it’s time to play.

6. Give them options

As our littles grow up, they struggle with being told what to do without being able to have any say in the process. A reality every parent knows! Relinquish a bit of control when it comes to tidying up and give your children the gift of choice. For example, they can tidy up dirty clothes or sort out their blocks. By giving children options, they’re much more likely to get on board with tidying up instead of throwing a temper tantrum.

Getting your kids to clean doesn’t have to be this gut-wrenching process that ends in tears. When using the above tips, you may be able to squash any negative feelings your children have towards cleaning and instead turn it into a fun, repeatable task instead. Helping busy parents declutter while helping their children develop a sense of responsibility, establishing a daily cleaning routine can transform both your home and your sanity,

Paula Scott

Paula Scott

Active mum of 2 . Wife . Research Nerd . World Traveller . Adventure Seeker

Loves writing about fashion, travel, parenting, must-have products, and music. She can be found chasing her children, playing tennis, at the beach, or at a concert. Loves to eat. Hates to cook.

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