“Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere,” may be the song you sing all day long in your house if it is filled with small children. But getting those tiny humans to pick up their messes has been noted as one of the most difficult things about parenting. It’s a constant uphill battle if you ask the moms in our #Momforce by Chatbooks Facebook group. They shared their favorite ways to get kiddos helping out around the house.
Make it a game. Get the timer out and see how many toys (or spilled goldfish) they can pick up in 10 seconds. Keeping the time short will keep them motivated. Longer times may be discouraging and overwhelming for them. The trick they won’t see coming is when you say, “Let’s do it again,” and reset the timer! Add some tunes to the pickup and when the song ends they can be all done. Bonus tip to get the little hands movin’: hide a hidden object, maybe under another toy or blanket, and they can only find it by picking up the entire floor. Before you know it, they’ll be cleaning pros! (Just kidding, but a mother can dream.)
Conjure the magic scrap. Pick one item in the room that is a “magic scrap.” When someone cleans up the magic scrap, stop to celebrate—maybe even throw in a prize! The best part? Since you pick the magic scrap, you can choose for it to be found when the cleanup time is almost over 😉
Make it rewarding. Most tasks can be instigated with just a little bribery. Keep the reward small and relevant to the amount of work they do to encourage them to be productive. Sometimes all it takes is M&Ms, chocolate chips, or stickers.
Let the countdown begin. Why not throw in some education while you work? Tell the kids to pick up 10 things, and when they finish have everybody start again and see if they can do it faster. Have them count sometimes in twos and threes to spice things up.
Race for the finish line. Kids love a good competition, so have them race you or a sibling to see who can pick up the fastest. If they throw a fit because they didn’t win (and you know that’s going to happen now and then) say, “Don’t worry, we’ll play again!” Trick’s on them because playing again obviously gets more stuff picked up!
You got this, mama! At the end of the day, even if it’s difficult getting your kids to clean, the better habits they form now will help them improve their cleaning along the way. Your kids will thank you one day—even if it’s a very far, distant day in the future.