How To Motivate Kids To Clean Up

Kids don’t like to sit still, so motivating them to do important chores can sometimes feel like a burden.

Growing up, everyone needs to learn the importance of cleaning up.

So how can parents help encourage and motivate their children to do their part and clean?

With a few simple steps, it’s quite simple and easy to do!

Here are a few easy but effective ways to motivate kids to clean up:

  • Offer simple rewards
  • Invite and compliment them
  • Introduce negative consequences
  • Create and maintain a routine
  • Challenge and inspire them
  • Make the benefits clear
  • Be patient
  • Be a good role model

Motivate your kids and teach them about responsibility

Some of these things might seem like common sense.

However, parenting can be challenging, and sometimes it is hard to implement the things we know we should.

Hopefully, these simple tips will help you motivate your kids.

Simple Rewards

Sometimes stating a reward can go a long way.

If a child wants to do something, it’s worth dropping the classic “not until you’ve cleaned your room” response.

This works as a quick and easy motivation tool, rewarding a child after a task.

Of course, over time, this also shows another more complex idea; that cleaning is an obstacle on the way to better things.

This is especially useful for younger children, helping to give them purpose when they can’t understand the larger concepts.

Invite and Compliment

While rewards work most of the time, there’s nothing wrong with inviting children to participate.

This way, we can see cleaning as a group activity (and not just another terrible chore set by mum and dad).

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Little ones should be thanked and complimented when participating in this process.

This is true for everyone—people of any age feel better when they’re recognized for doing a great job.

Introduce Negative Consequences

Some parents might be against negative results or punishments.

However, doing so in balance with positive rewards helps enforce the results.

Let’s say we ask a child to clean up their toys.

They will see this as an open option if there is a reward.

However, if there’s also a consequence, like “clean up your toys, or you can’t play with them later,” there’s extra motivation.

This way, children will see cleaning as something that needs to be done, not just when they want something.

Create and Maintain Routine

A big part of cleaning is doing it regularly.

After all, it’s easier to clean up a little at a time than wait for things to get out of hand, right?

Children rarely understand this concept—especially at a young age—so it’s up to mum and dad to implement something.

Keep a chart of cleaning routine duties, ticking them off when done.

Not only does this show which child has what responsibilities, but it can also chart ongoing progress to ensure completion.

Challenge and Inspire

Kids can get bored easily, especially with housework!

If parents want to motivate their children, they should try challenging them.

As they become adept at simple tasks, they introduce more complex ones.

Let them learn how to sweep the floor, use the hoover, and clean the table.

This keeps their brains active and engaged.

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Similarly, what’s wrong with a little creativity or inspiration?

Rather than simply showing a child how something is done, they can figure it out for themselves (with a little help, of course) if they know the result.

This helps get their brain involved, ensuring their attention is right where it needs to be.

Show How It Benefits The Family

When faced with a task, many younger individuals only focus on the work they must do rather than the benefits it brings the entire household.

For children, this means helping them understand the benefits.

If they understand, for instance, that cleaning the kitchen means food gets served faster or everyone cleaning one room means they can save time, it helps to reward kids through family bonding.

Of course, if it means parents get to put their feet up, too, so nobody should complain!

One of the major benefits here is that it shows interconnectivity, and children might see the advantages of working together rather than focusing on just their assignments.

Be Patient

As adults, parents have different perspectives than children.

Sweeping the floor might be simple from an older point of view.

However, it’s an abstract, alien concept for someone still learning—they shouldn’t be expected to get it right on the first try!

A calm and wise parent will know this, encouraging them to try even when the results aren’t perfect.

This often means redoing the task (at least at first) or touching up a missed area when the little ones aren’t looking.

Keep them happy, and children will get into their stride.

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Comment on their abilities, however, and they simply grumble their way through every task you give them.

Parents Need To Do Their Part Too

Finally, as stated earlier, one of the more effective ways to motivate children is to show how it benefits the wider family or household.

Yet part of this also means parents need to get involved and be prepared for some quick-fire answers if they don’t.

What would be the point of motivating kids to keep their room clean if their parents simply leave things lying around?

“Why do my toys need a home if yours don’t?” is an all too often-heard question in these situations.

Avoiding this is easy—lead from the front and set the example!

Get started right now

Many of these will be more useful depending on any child’s age, focus, and personality.

However, these all represent quick and effective ways to encourage motivation.

Children can pick things up easily.

The key is limiting distractions and implementing reward systems, progress charts, and negative consequences.

This will encourage your kids to do their part and help get them in the right frame of mind.

In a short while, they’ll be cleaning up without being told to do so!

Let us know if you have any other tips in the comment section below.

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  1. Tina Puth

    September 26, 2023 at 1:33 PM

    Thank you for these great tips! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely try these things to motivate my kids to clean. One thing I do to keep my kids rooms clean is I get professional carpet cleaning done once a year. It keeps everything looking and smelling fresh!

    • Danielle Dahl

      September 27, 2023 at 1:25 PM

      That is a wonderful suggestion! Thanks for taking the time to read the article and comment! We hope you enjoy some of the other content on the site, too!

  2. Kostas Chiotis

    May 14, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    Jessi, you’ve got some great tips here. Just a little thought, if a kid really feels a sense of belonging to space they will enjoy doing things with it. So get them involved in designing, picking furniture, artwork so they know that it is all theirs

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