Kids cleaning up? Sounds like a tall order, but you can teach your kids to clean up after themselves and pitch in around the house, and it’s easier than you think no matter what age they are. With 4 kids in the house we have a ton of stuff, and it’s not always easy to keep up with the tornado that is 4 kids in the house.
Start them young
While we don’t always ask the kids to clean up, having them start when they are able to move around is key. While toddlers can be major forces of destruction, they can also help by directed destruction. For instance in our house the laundry room is downstairs, and from the age of 15 months my youngest child has helped throw all the dirty clothes down the stairs. They especially love to ride down the stairs with a towel or something similar under their bottoms.
Other ways toddlers can help clean up:
- washing dishes-they love soap bubbles!
- watering plants
- getting clothes from the washer and dryer
- feeding the pets
- getting out silverware for dinner
- putting toys away when they are done playing
A great product for helping around the house is the Little Partners Learning Tower. While it is pricey at $199, I can not tell you how many times this saved my back and arms. When my kids were all little 3 of them could fit on it at once!
Make chores a part of your day
While I don’t whistle while I work, chores are a part of my day. I try to make it just something we do. So when it is time to make their bed, or put clothes away, it’s just something that needs to be done so we can move on to playing. If it helps use a chore chart, or a schedule. If your kids are old enough for a family meeting have them sit down and talk about the chores and divide them up.
15 minutes a day keeps the clutter away
Spend 15 minutes a day with your family decluttering. While we haven’t done it recently (and we should!) you can put on some fun music-maybe even make a 15 minute playlist with fast, fun music and have everyone work until it’s done. Having a goal in mind, and keeping it quick can help little people stay focused.
My most popular post on keeping clutter at bay: Sell it, give it away, or donate it?
Make chores pay
For older kids you can entice them to work more by paying them extra. In our house daily chores are not related to pay, but extra chores are. So picking up a bucket of pine cones in the backyard would be a quarter, while cleaning the cat litter box is worth $2.50 a week.
Other families chose to dock allowance money if daily chores aren’t done. Losing $1 for not making your bed can be great motivation.
Whatever ways you choose to motivate your kids to lend a hand, please remember not to act as maid. While it’s tempting to clean up after your little tornados as they play, it doesn’t teach them to take care of themselves-something that will surely come back to haunt you later in life when you get phone calls from college about how to do laundry.
How do you motivate your kids to clean up?