Family Cleaning – Teaching your children how to clean up

Children helping with home cleaning

Teaching children to help with chores around the home is an important part of their overall development. This is how they attain skills that they can use later on in their adult life. Children can carry out certain specific duties depending on their age and interests. While some children are eager to help with cleaning around the home, some just aren’t and it is upon you as the parent or guardian to figure out how you can motivate them to clean. Here are a few tips which may come in handy.

Use a reward based system

Kids, especially the younger ones do not enjoy cleaning up after themselves. They can play with their toys and leave them scattered all over the place. To motivate young children of this age to clean up, attach a reward to the chore. For instance you can tell your child that if they clean their room within a certain period of time you will buy them the new toy they have been asking for or take them to the park. They will clean up in anticipation of the reward. For this to work, always withdraw the reward if the chore is not done to make it a learning point. The chores should become progressively harder as the child grows up.


Use sticky notes and duty rosters

Teenagers know how to do their chores and they may even be willing to do them but they tend to be very forgetful. Sticky notes on the fridge and duty rosters in the kitchen can help them remember when to do their chores. A duty roster is great when dividing responsibility amongst many children. It teaches them that cleaning and other chores are a shared responsibility. Again, some reward-punishment system should be applied so that the children learn to associate helping out with reward. It soon becomes second nature even when the reward does not follow.

Make cleaning time fun

Cleaning is boring for most children and truth be told even for adults. The best way to make children want to help with the cleaning is by making cleaning time fun time. One way of doing this effectively is by involving the whole family. Clean with them and think of fun things to do in the process. Have competitions about who can do a given chore within a certain amount of time and give them a prize afterwards or put on some great family music that you can all sing along and dance to as you work. If cleaning is made fun, children will always want to help out.

Break down complex duties

The easier a job is, the more likely your child will be inclined to help out with it. If a certain cleaning chore involves many steps you can break it down so that each child gets to do just a little bit of it at a time. You can even include yourself in the line up too! For example with dishwashing one child can scrape off the left over food from the plates, the other can scrub another rinse and the last wipe them dry. You can take out the trash after they are all done. This way it is a combined effort that is fun. When you give children huge chunks of work they feel picked on and encumbered and will definitely hate to do the chore again. Make cleaning fun and your children will be asking for work to do. Remember though that when you reward your children for cleaning it must not seem like a bribe. Children know when they are being bribed to clean up. Instead of a payout, make it a celebration of sorts such that if we clean up today we can go out for ice cream or pizza later.


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