Children are so beautiful…until you tell them they need to clean. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a meaner face than one on a child who learns that they have to clean before they can go anywhere.
Learning to clean and be organized is just one of those painful things about growing up. Nobody really likes to clean–even most adults–but it’s a necessary evil. If we don’t clean and organize on a regular basis, then chaos can ensue inside. Plus, it’s just so much nicer to come home to cleanliness rather than cluttered, dirty, or even stickiness. (Seriously, why is everything always sticky when you have kids?)
I’ve gathered five of my favorite tips to get your child cleaning without any yelling (from either of you.) Warning: the sight of your children cleaning may cause uncontrollable tears of joy.
1. Make a game out of it: Set up a basket for each child and tell them they have
ten minutes to gather as many of their belongings in the basket as they can.
Whoever has the most things at the end of the ten minutes wins a prize.
2. List things specifically: When you say “It’s time to clean your room” most
young children don’t know where to begin. By giving a specific list of things
they need to accomplish, it gives them manageable goals. Say things like,
“Put all your toy cars in their home.” or “Pick up 10 things off the floor and
then you can go play.” If something has a specific beginning and end, it’ll feel
less like they’re in prison. (Which is what they might tell you cleaning on a
Saturday morning feels like.)
3. Make sure everything has a place: This is where moms and dads come in. If all
the stuffed animals have a place but the puzzles and dress up clothes don’t,
then how do you expect them to get put up? Really efficient parents can never
have enough storage bins, hooks, and anything else you could possibly buy at
The Container Store or other organizational stores. In my experience, kids
respond well to color coding and labeling for older kids who can read.
4. Let them redecorate their own rooms: I know it might be a scary thought, but
allowing your child to personalize his/ her space is a good motivator to deep
clean the whole area. The rules? Let them pick a paint color and rearrange the
furniture any way they want. By painting the whole room, you’re forced to
gather all their belongings and sort through everything. This is also a really
good time to get the carpets cleaned or fix any repairs.
5. Set a good example: Like most tough subjects in parenting, you need to lead
by example. Cleaning is no exception. You can’t sit on the couch and watch
your kids clean. The whole family working together not only teaches your
children a valuable lesson about teamwork, but it also saves a lot of time!
I hope these tips will work for you. Do you have any other useful hints when it comes to getting your kids to clean? I would love to hear them!