It’s 4:00 in the afternoon and you are getting ready for dinner, practice, and homework time… You look up to see that the living room is a disaster, but your kids are nowhere in sight. They have started on yet another mess, in another room, building with LEGOs. *sigh*
Let’s talk about getting the kids to clean and how to make chores fun for kids and the whole family!
How to Make Chores Fun
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“I’ll time you!” Kids love playing games, so when you turn anything into a game, they’ll love it! Announce that you are having a race to see which team can clean up the fastest. Or, use a timer to see how long it takes them to clean up different toys.
Use clean up bins. When I worked in a daycare, this worked like a charm! Each child gets a little bin, and they clean up as much as they can. When the bins are filled, the kids dump them into the toy box.
Give a warning. This is especially important for younger children. About 10 minutes before it’s cleaning time, just announce that it will be time to get started in 10 minutes. It’s not such a jolt to their routine, when they know it’s coming. We do this with our friend’s kids before a play date ends, too.
Dance Around! Whenever my kids complain about cleaning, I turn on some music! It’s fun to see how many songs it takes them to clean up a designated area. Our kids have their favorites, so we turn them up and dance and sing as we clean.
Get into the routine of cleaning up. As moms, we can so easily just do it ourselves, but that really does not teach our kids anything about tidying. It will be a challenge at first, but the more you do it, the more they will see it as part of their everyday routine.
Sometimes I say, “Clean up and then we will go outside.” This reminds them that we will move into another place for fun play, after the work of cleaning. If you are consistent, it will always be normal for them to do clean up after themselves before moving onto the next fun activity.
Help them out! Every now and then, get down on the floor and help them clean. Or, work on one of your chores, close by the area they are tidying. Share that families work together as you clean!
Assign “special” jobs. Kids love to feel special, and you can do this while cleaning. Tell your little one that he/she is in charge of cleaning up the dolls, and then share what your job is going to be. Plus, sometimes the words “clean up” can be so overwhelming and generic, so giving specific tasks is much easier, and they do a better job.
Change your wording. Instead of saying, “Clean up your room,” say “Okay, let’s clean up the cars first.” When kids look at their messy room or play room, they can feel overwhelmed. Breaking it down into specific zones is helpful and makes the job more manageable for little ones.
Chalkboard Apron. Kids love costumes, and an apron (like this chalkboard apron) just might make other chores more fun, too, so why limit it to the kitchen?
Have cleaning tools that are just for them. My kids love helping to dust because we use the little Swiffer Dusters. It is so simple! You can also use custom made name decals to personalize a stylish cleaning storage bun with a handle to store their own cleaning tools!
Get Organized With Your Family Chores and Cleaning Time!
I don’t know about you, but my family thrives on a tight schedule!
Once I was able to figure out that my kids understood cleaning better, after I broke each specific cleaning job or tidying area down for them so that it was more manageable, things really changed in our household!
This printable zone cleaning chart for kids was my secret weapon in bringing some organization into our chaos and clutter!
Let’s Talk Family Life…
Raising kids seriously takes a village, and cyber villages totally count! Come and “hang out” with us any time you want by reading our parenting and family life posts, such as these ones:
- Summer Learning Ideas for Kids
- Camping with Kids (Tips for Families)
- How to Get Kids to Clean
- 10 Things Only the Parents of a Threenager Would Understand
- How to Sleep Better (When You Have Kids!)
How does your family make cleaning fun? Comment below!