Motivating Kids to Clean

Motivating Kids to Clean

Any parent can attest to the fact that most children have no problem making messes, but absolutely detest cleaning up when they are done. Sometimes it can feel like fighting and losing a constant battle. While cleaning is necessary, it does not have to be a boring chore for your child. It is more likely that your child will cooperate with cleaning if you can make it a fun and engaging experience.

Here are a few ideas, tips, and suggestions that may help motivate your child to clean:

Be clear before you start: Tell your child what needs to be done, and how you would like it done. Set realistic goals and even demonstrate for him. Keep his age and ability in mind when explaining, and be sure to explain in a clear and concise manner.

Add visual cues: Most kids are very visual learners. Creating a cleaning or chore board with pictures or a picture schedule might be a useful way to set up a long-term cleaning plan. Setting boundaries and using tools such as a timer may help your child realize what is expected, by adding structure to the event.

Make it a game: Cleaning can be very mundane and boring. However, turning it into a game can add fun and excitement to what would otherwise be a chore. Get creative and mix it up by creating simple games. If you have more than one child, you can turn it into a race, or you can time your child doing the task, then encourage him to try to beat his previous time. Other games like “I Spy” can be easily adapted into cleaning versions.

Show appreciation: Saying “thank you” or “good job” goes a long way. Don’t oversell it, but showing that you are appreciative of what your child has accomplished will help motivate him in the future.

Use kid-size tools: Cleaning tools hold a certain allure for most children. Almost any cleaning tool out there has a child size or smaller version available as well. Getting a special set for your child, that only he uses, can be a great investment and a wonderful motivator to clean.

Be realistic: There will be times when the mess is too big for your child to do alone. Depending on his age, set realistic expectations. It may be necessary to help your child and/or break it up into smaller sections.

Be consistent: Expecting your child to clean only on certain occasions is an unrealistic goal. Making it part of your daily routine will get you better results. That way, your child will better know what is expected of him.

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Motivating Kids to Clean
Shandy Marso, Contributor

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