You just spent all day getting your house in tip-top shape, only to have the kids come home and immediately create a mess. Messy bedrooms, toys everywhere, dirty dishes, and discarded clothes are just some of the many ways children can cause a mess. Luckily, it is actually easier than you would think to get them involved in household chores. This not only helps keep your house clean, but also teaches your kids the importance of being organized and how to maintain a household, which are incredibly useful skills down the road.

Set Targets

You need to do more than simple say “clean the dishes” to get your children involved, however. First, you need to set targets. When setting targets, it is important to have realistic expectations. For example, one of the targets may be for your children to make their beds every morning. If you have one child who is 2, however, it is not realistic to expect them to be able to do this. Instead, maybe they should just pull the blanket to the top of the bed. You also need to be specific. Instead of saying “clean your room”, which can be an overwhelming statement, try asking them to put all of their clothes away or place any toys on the floor in storage bins. Setting realistic and manageable targets is a great way to help get your kids started at a young age.

Add Fun

All kids want to have fun. Luckily, it is possible to disguise cleaning as fun by incorporating fun activities into your daily chores. For starters, turn up the music. If your daughter loves Katy Perry, put on a Katy Perry mix, and watch them sing while also cleaning. You can also turn the cleaning process into a friendly competition. This is an especially useful tool for kids who are a bit older. Have each kid keep track of how many toys they put away or how many dishes they clean. The one who does the most wins. Or, whoever cleans their room the best wins. If you are worried that the competition may turn nasty, however, you can have the kids either compete against you, or work together to achieve a common goal. For example, you could have a 10 minute time limit for the basement. If they are able to clean it within the time limit, everyone gets ice cream. You could also turn cleaning into a game of hide and seek. Hide some items, such as coins or candy, around the area that needs to be cleaned. Have your kids look for the items while also cleaning. These are just some of the many ways you can make cleaning a fun activity for your kids to partake in.


Mother and son folding sheet together

Mother and son folding sheet together

Of course, if you really want to get your kids to help clean the house, offer them a reward. While some may call this bribery, it can also be considered positive reinforcement. Set a time limit and have the kids work together to try and clean a certain room in that time limit. If they can, they get a reward. If they are able to clean every room within the time limit, perhaps they receive a larger reward, such as a day trip to an amusement park or the movies. Ideally, you should reward all your kids as opposed to just one or two. You may want to avoid individual competitions, and instead focus on accomplishing a goal as a team.