10 FUN WAYS TO GET KIDS TO HELP CLEAN UP
- Sing a clean-up song. There are actual clean-up songs that you can find on the Internet that come complete with music, but you can also make up your own song. Here’s an easy one to sing: “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.” Kids typically love repetition, so feel free to keep singing the same song over and over until the task is done.
- Make it a game. The game will change depending on what it is that you are cleaning, but an example could be seeing how many blocks can you put into the box. Tell her that you both can count them as the blocks are being picked up. Another one is to see how fast she can pick up her dollies and put them away. Give her a basket and have her run around the house and pick up all of her stuff and bring it back to her room while you time her.
- Set a timer. Almost everything is more fun when a timer is set, and a timer means that there’s an end to the task. Tell everyone that you are turning the timer on for 15 minutes and they need to see if they can get everything picked up in that amount of time. Make sure that everyone knows what your expectations are so that they know what to do and aren’t wasting valuable time running to you to find out what they should be doing.
- Give a reward. If you have more than one kid you can offer a reward to the kid that did the best job or finished the most cleaning related tasks. Or better yet, you can give a reward to all the kids if they got everything accomplished without complaining and did a good job. It doesn’t have to be a competition, unless that is what works well in your family. Some people thrive on competition, whereas others are completely turned off by it.
- Award stickers. Create a chore chart and let the kids put a sticker in the box when they have completed it. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and most kids love stickers.
- Keep cleaning time short. To keep cleaning fun it has to be completed in a short amount of time. The fun will wear off if you keep them cleaning too long. Teaching them to clean up as they go will make sure that they don’t create such a huge mess that it will take a long time to clean it up.
- Crank up the tunes. Most kids love to dance around and sing, so if you crank up the tunes everyone can sing while they work. Play the Disney song, A Happy Working Song while you are working to encourage the kids to get into it.
- Money hunt. Hide a few quarters or dollar bills in certain places that the kids typically miss cleaning. Let the kids know that they might find some money if they do a thorough job cleaning. This may or may not work for the little ones because they may not really care about money yet.
- Use pint sized tools. Often, cleaning tools like brooms or mops are not really comfortable for kids to use because they’re too big. Get the kids their own pint-sized cleaning tools, or try to customize your own. On some Swiffers you can pull out the middle section and make the handle shorter. Kids will probably be swiffering so much you will run out of swiffers, but at least your floor should be clean!
- Pretend to be a maid. Have everyone pretend to be part of a cleaning crew that has come in to clean this house. Put handkerchiefs on everyone’s head and give them gloves. Take on a funny accent and say funny things like, “Wow, the kids that live here sure are messy!” or “Peeeeeee-You! These kids have stinky socks!”
Doing something out of the ordinary is often all it takes to make cleaning fun and not such a chore. The most important thing to remember is that they are still kids and their cleaning isn’t going to be perfect, but any help you can get will be that much less you have to do. Teaching them the importance of cleaning while they’re young also means that you will have given them useful life skills that they’ll continue to utilize as they get older.