How To Get Kids To Clean Up Without A Fight

Do your kids hate cleaning up after themselves? Try these 10 practical tips and get your kids to clean up without a fight.

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Kids and messes go together like peanut butter and jelly.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn to clean up after themselves.

Keeping the house put together is a big job, and we shouldn’t have to do it alone. So bring in the reinforcements!

Of course, we all want our kids to help out. But if you’re constantly fighting with your kids about cleaning up, you’re in the right place.

Scroll down for 10 tips that will get your kids to clean up better, faster and without a fight.

Side note: Are your kids home from school right now? Ours are. And believe me when I say the messes have quadrupled in frequency and size. Getting our kids to help clean up has been a huge lifesaver for my husband and I. Here are a few more tips to help parents out during this crazy time.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

One of the best ways to help our kids clean up, especially without a fight, is to make it easy for them to do so. 

Declutter whenever possible. Donate unused toys and throw out ones that are broken or missing pieces. 

Create a home for everything. Make sure everything has a box, a bin or a shelf to be put in. As a bonus, add labels.

Make everything easy to reach. Cleanup will go much smoother (and happen more often) if they can do everything themselves. 

These three tips will set the stage for your kids to get better at cleaning up after themselves. Now, here are 10 tips to help make it less of a battle for everyone!

READ NEXT: How To Teach Kids To Clean Up Epic Messes

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HOW TO GET THE KIDS TO CLEAN UP WITHOUT A FIGHT

To help your kids get better at cleaning up after themselves, try these tips:

1. GIVE WARNING

If there’s one thing I know about kids, it’s that they don’t like an abrupt end to playtime.

Before telling kids it’s time to clean up, give them a warning. Somethings simple like “5 minutes until it’s time to clean up” will make the transition much easier for everyone.

2. CLEAN UP MORE THAN ONCE PER DAY

Small messes are always easier to clean than big messes.

Of course, we always want our kids to put one thing away before getting out another. But in real life, that doesn’t always work.

So to prevent messes from building up, have “clean up time” more than once. Once before lunch and once before bed might be all they need to keep it manageable.

READ NEXT: How To Reign In The Playtime Mess

3. SET A TIMER

Help create a sense of urgency by setting a timer – but keep it fun.

Kids love racing to beat a timer, so make it a race, rather than a countdown to a punishment. Add extra incentive by having them try to beat you, or offering something fun for them to do if they beat the timer.

4. TURN ON MUSIC

Chores seem to go by faster with good music, don’t they?

Keep things fun and upbeat by turning on something the kids love. Then they can focus more on their favorite songs – and less on the fact that they’re doing a chore.

5. MAKE CLEANING UP A REGULAR PART OF THE DAILY ROUTINE

Kids will be less likely to put up a fight if cleaning is just a regular part of life.

Of course, you might still get the occasional eye roll or two. But help them understand that being in a family means that everyone contributes. It’s not a punishment, it’s just how it is.

READ NEXT: How To Create The Perfect Daily Routine For Your Kids

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6. STAY CONSISTENT

Along those same lines, be as consistent as you can by making cleaning up a daily habit.

Of course, we all have crazy days where no cleaning happens. But if cleaning up happens more often than not, it’ll be easier to make it a habit.

7. PROVIDE OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO CLEAN

Help reinforce cleaning skills by giving your kids other opportunities to contribute.

Toys aren’t the only things they can clean up. Find a simple chore system and work it into your family’s schedule.

8. MAKE YOUR EXPECTATIONS KNOWN

Kids always do better when they know exactly what’s expected of them.

When it comes to cleaning up toys and other playthings, make sure they know exactly where everything goes. Help them understand what the area looks like when it’s cleaned according to your standards.

9. LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Let your kids see you clean.

Sometimes, we do all of our cleaning when the kids are otherwise occupied. They often don’t realize how much works goes into keeping the house clean! So let them see that you clean too.

READ NEXT: 30 Quick And Easy 15-Minute Cleaning Tasks

10. GIVE GRACE

When it comes to getting kids to clean up, it’s important to set our expectations high. But it’s even more important to support them in their growth.

Help them understand that all you expect is their best effort…however that may look.

As they grow, their skills will improve – as will their endurance. So give them grace as they learn, especially on days when they’re feeling overwhelmed with the task.

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SO TO RECAP, HERE’S HOW TO GET KIDS TO CLEAN UP

  1. Give warning
  2. Clean more than once per day
  3. Set a timer
  4. Turn on music
  5. Make cleaning up a regular part of the daily routine
  6. Stay consistent
  7. Provide other opportunities to clean
  8. Make your expectations known
  9. Lead by example
  10. Give grace

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for this advice, I love the idea of getting my kids more involved with cleaning up after themselves without any arguments! As a single, working mom with 3 kids, I often just hire a maid or carpet cleaner to clean my home so I don’t have to deal with it or grumbling kids. But, I’d like to spend more time cleaning with my kids and teaching them how to be responsible.

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