5 Ways to Get Kids to Clean and Clean Properly

Getting your kids to help out around the house may seem like an impossible task. It isn’t, though! Any child can learn to clean, and clean properly, with a few simple steps and tips – for you and them!

5 Ways to Get Kids to Clean and Clean Properly

Know the Limits

Are you comfortable with your child folding laundry? Are you confident they can handle the dishes or feeding the dog? Know what your limits are before you start writing down chores for your kids. If you’re constantly interrupting them simply because you’re afraid they aren’t doing things right or to your specifications, and then you’re wasting their time and yours. But it isn’t just about your limitations. While kids two years old and older can do chores, they can’t all do the same chores. What your five year old daughter is capable of may not be the same as what your 10 year old son can do. What your three year old niece can do may be more advanced than your five year old daughter. Know your child, know their abilities, and know what children their age should be able to do in regards to chores.

Use Visuals

With all people, visuals help. This is particularly true with children. If they can see a picture of the chore, or if they see their progress with a chore chart, they will be more likely to do chores because they understand what it is that they’re to do, what they’re gaining form the chore, and what they will lose if they don’t complete the chore.

Make it Fun

Chores are boring- and you know it! Make it fun for everyone. Put on some music, make it a race, make it a game, but don’t make it “work.” You don’t want to fold laundry any more than your child wants to clean their room, but it has to be done. It doesn’t have to be boring, though. Get creative and you will see your gets getting things accomplished.

Think Child-Sized

When organizing a child’s room, you should use child sized and kid-friendly storage devices. Things like heavy drawers or doors could make it difficult for your child to clean up after himself, so make the furniture and storage easy for your kids. One great tip is to take the drawers out of a dresser you already own and place wheels on the bottoms so that they can roll under the bed easily. This brings the storage solution to your child’s scale.

Make a Color-Coded System

Don’t just toss toys in a toy box or bucket- that leads to messes. Instead, ask your child to sort toys into color-coded boxes for better organization. For example, they can reach in a large toy box and pull out their blue shoe box or blue storage bin and they know blocks go in there. The purple box is for dinosaurs, the yellow box is for dolls clothes, and so on until all toys have a place that neatly stores them. If they aren’t good with colors, yet, place pictures of the item that goes in the box on the front of the box.

Are your kids toys driving you crazy?

About Catherine

Catherine is a self-proclaimed "organization junkie" living in Los Angeles. She blogs about family, entertainment, food and anything else that pops into her mind.


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    I like all your ideas. I do try to make a game out of it when they clean. Usually I am up there with them to supervise and they usually do a decent job if they are entertained while doing it.

  2. I think being organized is a great way for kids to learn. Like you said, instead of just letting them put everything into one huge toy box it’s better have multiple smaller containers that certain toys go into (trains here, Barbies here, blocks here).

  3. I can get my kids to clean (usually) but cleaning properly is a different story. I really do need to get them a chore chart, that would help them get things done without asking…maybe. They’re both in their early teens and I need to get them started doing their own laundry.

  4. Great tips! I always need to make it a fun game for my son when we clean.

  5. A color coded system sounds perfect for my son’s closet. Thanks for the ideas!

  6. My son is very visual. Sometimes I forget that things I think of as easy tasks, are new to him. Showing is easier than trying to explain, for him.

  7. Janeane Davis says

    These are good tips for getting a child to learn to clean and do it well. These are ideas that will translate into many adult chores as well.

  8. Making cleaning fun I think it is the best. It works for me – I love to Spring clean because I know when I get the room clean I always buy something to add a little new color to the room.

  9. Great ideas to get your kids cleaning! Once our kids were older, we told our kids all the chores that needed to be done and let them choose the ones they wanted. Then they took ownership of those since it was there choice instead of being told what to do.

  10. hahaha. my kids toys always drive me batty when they aren’t picked up. I have strict rules and make them accountable or their toys go away and don’t often return.

  11. My toddler does well cleaning, we’re still working on the ‘properly’ part. She is getting there though.

  12. I couldn’t agree more on the use of visuals. They work GREAT for my son!

  13. I like the tip to think child-sized. That’s a good one that we use all of the time here (even for the teen, thinking ‘teen-sized’) though the latter is just a tad different (but it works). :)

  14. Terin Garrett says

    These are great tips! I really need to make chore charts for my kids and make them stick to them!

  15. Right now my teens do the laundry and do some of the cleaning. The youngest get the smaller chorses of the house but have to help out.

  16. I think making cleaning fun is a great way to get kids involved AND to enjoy it. My mother always turned on the music and blasted it while we cleaned the house. We would dance around while we swept, vacuumed, and did the dishes :)

  17. We try to count toys as we place them back into the bucket but it doesn’t always work. My little one is four and he’s tough…tough to teach!!

  18. the color coded system is a great idea. I wish I had thought about that when my kids were smaller.

  19. what a great post! We’ve just started having my four year old help with cleaning the house, and, fortunately, he loves it. and, he might be more meticulous than I am.

  20. I color coated all the kids toy buckets and some had pictures on them. This always made clean up time so much easier! Now that my kiddos are 10 & 13 I have a list and we use a check mark type system. It seems to be working, but you are very right in that you have to know the child and a chore they can complete so that they DO complete them!

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