by • October 29, 2015 • Family, Green Living, Tidy TipsComments (0)2312

10 Ways To Get Your Children To Clean Up The Mess

Oh the mess! Juice spills, toys scattered all over the floor, food dropped, crumbled and even thrown…  it’s all a part of having kids.  But, does having kids mean that your house is always a mess?  Every time you clean up one spill, it seems like another mess magically pops up in its place. It is almost like a mythical monster that re-grows two heads after one is cut off.
There is an easier way. You don’t have to be the one stressed out and frustrated with cleaning all by yourself. Children can clean up their own messes. Yes it’s true – they can!  The hard part is convincing them to do it.  It may be difficult; but it isn’t impossible.  Your kids can be convinced to clean up their own messes. Here are 10 ways to get children to clean up the mess: 

1. Break Down Big Jobs

A mess you may look at and think “oh this should only take 3 minutes,” is going to make a little kid shudder with fear. After all, they are a lot smaller than you and what looks like a tiny drop to you can look like an entire ocean to them. Break tasks into smaller steps that they can remember and use to make the job go faster. For example, if you are asking them to clean a spill, walk them through each step individually. This will make the task look smaller and stop their panicking, making them more agreeable. 
Even middle schoolers and teens may find cleaning their bedroom too big a task. Instead, break the job into manageable bites like:
1. put dirty laundry in the hamper
2. get all trash in the garbage can
3. stack books on shelves
4. etc.

2. Give Them Their Own Cleaning Cabinet

Kids always want to feel like they are grown up and the best way to do that is to give them items that make them feel like they’re doing the same job that you are. When it comes to


all-purpose cleaner, thyme + fig leaf

cleaning, however, giving children, especially younger ones, traditional cleaning products can be dangerous. That is where Grab Green comes in. With a line of green, eco responsible products that are safe for kids and pets, you can feel at ease handing your child a bottle of any cleaning product. From countertop cleaner, to glass cleaner, and even all purpose; Grab Green allows you to let your kids help out without worry about their health. Although you should never leave your children unsupervised with ANY cleaning product, you can feel more at ease knowing your kids are using products that are made with naturally derived ingredients and that are free of harsh chemicals and fumes. 

3. Make It Fun

Start a dance party by blasting some music; turn room cleaning day into a big game; or just be goofy with your kids while they clean. Cleaning up doesn’t have to be boring. By making it fun, your kids may actually start looking forward to cleaning up their mess. 
  • Try using your laundry baskets as basketball nets. Or pretend you are bulldozers and bulldoze the clothes into the basket.
  • Make it a race and see who can do it the fastest.
  • With colored masking tape, tape out a one foot square and have the kids sweep everything into that square.

kidsCleanUp_extra_itchySkin copy 3


  • Super soft socks are great for sweeping. Or get them a little soapy and skate on the hard floors.
  • Play Clean Up bingo! Make a bingo card with chores and give them stickers over the squares when they get done with one chore. First to bingo wins! Set fun together activities as a prize!

4. Be Cheerful

Want your kids to love cleaning? You have to love cleaning too! Alright, if you’re honest, cleaning is probably your least favorite thing to do, but kids love to imitate the adults in their life. If you have a cheerful, happy, and excitable attitude when you clean, your kids are going to want to be happy and cheerful too. Plus, the happier you try to be during cleaning, it isn’t just going to make your kids happy, it is going to make cleaning more enjoyable for you too. Kids are messy. And those messes need to be cleaned. As a parent, you know this better than anyone. However, if isn’t difficult to get your children to help clean up their own messes. You just have to get creative and make it fun for them… instead of such a chore.

5. Set Some Rules

It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with a three-year-old or a 15-year-old (although they often act the same), children need some discipline, especially when it comes to cleaning up messes. Although it probably isn’t the most fun thing to do, make sure you set rules about cleaning early.  Your toddler “forgets” to put away that toy? Put it away for a day or two.  If your teenager “forgets” to feed the dog, take away their computer until they do.
When chores go undone, be sure there is a consequence. Otherwise, you will be cleaning up after those kids even after they are adults. Taking away privileges is very  effective and it shows kids actions and consequences. It may not be fun, but eventually your kids will clean up after themselves with no problems – or attitude.
The following tactics were suggested by you, our readers!

6. Tell them they absolutely can’t help

Reverse psychology. They’ll want to help!

7. Create a task & reward chart

There are many ways to create a fun job chart kids will love. List out the chores in the first column and the days of the week in the next. Each time one of the chores is completed the child gets to pick out a sticker to put in that space. After 10 stickers are earned, kid gets to pick a gift from a treasure chest of stuff you bought at the dollar store like coloring books, magnets, tattoos, nail polish and other toys.

kidsCleanUp_extra_itchySkin copy 2

Or you could write a specific chore on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge with a couple of dollars behind it. When the chore is done, the child get to keep the money!
These types of charts are REALLY motivating. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing stickers lined up across a page. Even for adults! My gym had a fitness challenge during January. If i went for 30 days i would get a free month. Every time I came to a class they gave me a sticker to put up there. I was determined not to miss a day, and I didn’t. I got the free month!

8. No Internet

 One of our favorite tactics a reader told us was “With 4 kids, this one always works: Change the password of the WiFi and I tell them that WiFi will be back after the house is clean. You won’t believe how fast the house gets clean. ????”

9. Toy Removal

Set a time everyday that you are going to go through the house with your big bag. Any toys left on the floor are going in that bag and will stay there for 3 days. The important thing is to stay consistent, which is often difficult.

10. Behavior Bucks

Set up a  ‘behavior bucks’ system that also rewards helping others, good grades, good deeds and more. You set up a store every week/month where the kids can redeem their bucks for things you have purchased. The trick here is that your store has to have things the kids really want!

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