3 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help Clean…and not moan about it

Every night (well most nights) I do what I call a “power blitz” clean up in my house. I motor through the house picking up items and putting them where the belong.

I shut closet doors, push dining room chairs in, put shoes back in shoe baskets, hang up jackets…that kind of thing. It’s so damn satisfying to see how much better (cleaner) everything appears after just 10 minutes.

Often I ask the children to help with the tidy up process. They groan (and moan and complain) and I ignore it.  Rushing by them with a ‘whoosh’ I give them simple requests such as:

“Just tidy up the bathroom and put stuff back where it belongs.” {like putting the toothbrush back in the basket instead of leaving it on the counter…}

“Make sure all your dirty clothes are in your hamper and not stuffed under a couch.” {true story. the sock is purple. I refuse to pick it up…}

“Empty your backpacks completely so I can get all the Tupperware back that currently lives in the bottom of them.” {thank god for Menchies spoons or my kids would be eating pudding with their fingers.}

Simple stuff. But the moans and groans always come…

Now I  get that they are kids. I get that they don’t wanna clean up. I get that they will cut corners to be able to go back to playing whatever they were doing before I so rudely interrupted.

But seriously…how hard is it to hang up your damn jacket when the hook is LITERALLY right above the place you chose to drop it? Apparently pretty hard.

So here’s what I’ve started to do to get them to do their part and feel good about it:

Be an Example

If I don’t make my bed everyday why do they have to make theirs? If I leave my shoes sitting out why would they put theirs away? If I leave my dirty dishes on the counter.. You know where I’m going with this. Be the change you want to see in your home.

Set realistic goals

Remember that kids have varying capabilities based on their age. My girls are 3 years apart and yet I often find myself expecting the same of my youngest as I do her older sister. Setting realistic goals for each individual child will help everyone feel accomplished.

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Follow Through

This is one I really need to work on. Like most parents I’m really good with saying “if you don’t do this then you wont get that…” and then not following through. Often it’s because taking away a luxury like TV time will make my life harder and so it’s easy to give in. And my kids were on to me. Now I’m taking a harder line and following through on punishments and – surprise, surprise – things are getting done.

By sticking to these three rule I’m finding it much easier to get my kids to help around the house with a smile on their face.  I hope they work for you too!

Good luck!