10 Simple Ways to Help Children Clean House

Sometimes children have a hard time cleaning the house. While there may not be an exact method to getting every child to clean up their messes, these tips will help.

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Teach Children to Clean

Mom and daughter cleaning house
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Nearly every job has a training period. Just like with adults and their jobs, children need to be trained to do chores. If you really want your children to be able to clean, you will have to teach them how to do it. Start by allowing them to watch you as you talk them through some tasks. Progress to allowing them to help as you give feedback. Finally allow them to work alone with you checking their work and providing direction. Remember to give positive feedback and not expect something that their age or maturity are not capable of. They will get better at doing their chores as they get more practice.

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Have the Right Supplies

Cleaning supplies
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The right tools to do a job make all the difference. If you truly want your children to be successful at their chores, provide the right tools. Keep your cleaning supplies simple and kid friendly. Don't expect a child to vacuum with a heavy duty vacuum cleaner that is nearly as tall as they are. Do not allow children to work with chemicals that could put them at risk. Remember that water and/or a microfiber cleaning cloth can work wonders on most messes.

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Remove the Chaos of Clutter

Kitchen clutter
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Cleaning house can be impossible when clutter exists. Clutter is confusing. It usually gets stacked somewhere. Cleaning clutter usually means dusting it off and restacking it somewhere. If you're a child, it can be hard to distinguish piles of clutter from other items. For kids to truly be successful at cleaning, they need a clutter free environment. Until clutter is under control, cleaning will be difficult. It's a good idea to teach kids how to eliminate clutter. Since most kids naturally love sorting things, sorting clutter into categories is a great chore to involve them in.

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Select Chores Appropriate for Age

A boy helps his mum put out the washing
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One of the best ways to make sure children do not succeed at chores is to assign chores to them that are beyond their abilities. It can be really hard to figure out what chores kids are actually able to do. These lists will help you find a starting point for chores that are developmentally appropriate for your child. Keep in mind, however, that all kids are different. Use your best judgment about what your child is truly capable of.

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Create a Schedule

Mother Working From Home And Holding Her Baby
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Families are busy these days. Kids are busier than ever, too. With a busy schedule, it can be difficult to make time to clean. One major thing that can help, is to create and stick to a schedule. Scheduling everything out makes it much more likely to happen. For my family, we've made a 15 minute period in the morning and the evening for completing chores. Other chores are scheduled during the week. Be sure to balance free time and work time.

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Use a Chart

Mature father and son washing dishes together at kitchen sink
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Now that you've made a schedule, you need to assign chores to each member of the family. But how will you keep track of them? A chart may be the perfect answer. There are hundreds of ways to create a chart that will work for your family. Don't be intimidated into thinking that there is a one size fits all chart. Some families do well with printable charts. Others use dry erase boards. Many families are opting to use digital chore charts.​ Still, for others, more decorative charts may motivate children to use a chore chart. You may need to try a few different types before you find one that works well for your circumstances.

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Use a Timer

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Most of us can endure a lot if we know it won't last forever. For a lot of kids, this principle applies to chores. Using a timer is one of my favorite tricks to motivate my kids to clean. They like to try to beat the timer by finishing their chores before it goes off. And even kids who hate chores the most feel like it's possible to work hard for a limited amount of time. Try setting the timer for 15 minutes to see how much can be accomplished.

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Eliminate Excuses

Children Helping Rake Leaves in Backyard
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Kids can come up with a lot of excuses for why they can't help out the way they are expected to. Nip those excuses in the bud. Many times an excuse could actually be a symptom of a real problem. Get to the root of what is really wrong and find ways to overcome those challenges. If kids don't have enough time to clean, clear out some of their schedules. If our expectations aren't clear, find ways to clarify them. Get rid of excuses by dealing with real problems.

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Motivate Children to Clean

Young woman cleaning surfaces with green cleaning products
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Does it seem impossible to motivate your children to clean? Maybe you feel like you have enough on your plate motivating yourself to clean? The truth is that some of the same things that motivate you, motivate your children. The same child who groans about folding the laundry may change their tune if they are allowed to listen to music. Find the things that motivate your kids and use those things as tools.

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Change Things That Do Not Work

woman vacuum cleaning in smallscale living room
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The bottom line is that your family is unique. What works for your next-door neighbors may not work for you. Don't feel tied to one system or style if after giving it a fair chance it just doesn't work for you. While consistency is important, finding a style of cleaning that fits your family is just as important.

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