Cleaning with Kids

Watch as Aubrey Degn uses some creativity and a lot of fun while teaching her children to empty the dishwasher and put away their toys.

QUESTION: What tips do you have to make cleaning with the kids a fun activity?


  1. Patti Jo says

    My kids seem to naturally think that cleaning is fun. It is my attitude that I have to work on. I remind myself that it doesn’t have to be done my way and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Also I try to be ready with lots of different little jobs that they can do because they don’t like waiting if they finish their job before me and have to wait. Also I don’t redo their job after they do it – I try to re-instruct while they are doing it, teaching them, but just leave it as is once they are done because they are trying their best and I don’t want to send a message of disappointment or discouragement. And then I try to remember to teach and model again as they start the job the next time, to try and correct the problem from last time. I like to say “I’ve found that doing it this way makes it easier” and then let them have another go at it. Little improvements all the time.

  2. danielletaylor.porter says

    Oh that is darling…I need to be better at making it fun. :) We have done the ‘gunny sack’ from the Eyres joy school ideas. This isn’t super fun but my girls know that if they want to do something fun or special (play a big new thing, watch a show, make a new mess, do a project) then something has to be done first. They are pretty good at taking care of the earlier messes before starting a new one. We also like to turn on music, and we like to have fun rewards. Even if we were going to eat popcorn and play a family game, sometimes it is nice to use it as motivation to get the bedroom cleaned up anyways. :)

  3. Mary Jenkins says

    Oh my, the Robot idea is just the cutest thing ever! I bet my 3 year old would think that was so fun. Thank for all the great tips and ideas!

  4. jeremyandkendrajohnston says

    That was fun! It’s nice to see a peek into another mother’s world. :) Thanks for posting that. I like the robot idea too – and music and timers always help! When we are almost done cleaning up sometimes we bust out our “I spy” goggles (old pair of sunglasses that the lenses have popped out of) that our kids put on to give them “super powers” and be able to find all of the toys left (that they may not have noticed need to be cleaned up – like that last puzzle piece, another duplo behind the chair, etc…). We also try to turn it into a game by saying “Can everyone pick up one train track?” (they drop it in the bin) “Now try to find TWO train tracks this time” (and keep increasing the number each time). Or we also do that with colors (“Everybody start cleaning up by finding a BLUE block… Now a GREEN one”) etc… Anyway, not all of this works… especially not all the time – but at least we are trying!

  5. ziff130 says

    The robot idea is awesome! With my kids, I normally ask, “How long do you think it will take you to clean your room?” They respond with a time, my 4 year old is always 100 minutes. LOL! Whatever the time is, I leave them alone and they do it then I come and check on them. However, morning chores we do all together and I have music blasting, we dance and we sing as we clean. It’s fun! Sometimes, when cleaning the floor, we pour soapy water all over it then we all stand on towels and clean it while dancing to the music. The kids LOVE that one. 😉

  6. Tammy says

    Love the robot idea! As well as the Ispy goggles another poster wrote! On our cleaning day, where we do the bulk of our cleaning, we have a special outing that keeps the kids going. Right now, it is to go swimming. I also make sure to spend the remaining part of the day doing things with them, as it usually takes 4 hours to clean the entire house (including dusting blinds, etc.). They each (almost 3 and almost 6) have set jobs. For example, my 3 year old empties the contents of a bathroom while I’m doing something else. After I clean it, the 6 year old puts everything back. They do this in bathrooms, and emptying rooms to be vacuumed, like the playroom. This gives them short spurts of things to do and they can play during other times. If it’s a ‘rough day’, then a movie will be played for the last hour so I can finish up. LOL But, for the most part, they want to help clean via dusting and vacuuming. I don’t redo their jobs either as the act of them doing it what’s most important!

  7. Dawn says

    When my 7 year old daughter has made a really big mess of the playroom I’ve come up with this game to clean up. I make a list of clues describing the items that need to be picked up in the playroom. For example I’ll write “It’s flat and square and you can do this anytime but especially at bedtime?” (Answer: a book). Then I cut this list of items into separate strips of paper, fold them up and put them in a bag. We then take a strip of paper out and put away that item based on the clue. It only takes me about five minutes to set this up and we have a lot of fun playing this as a way to clean up.

  8. jeni says

    Thanks for the ideas! Lately I made a busy bee helper chart so each child (2,5,&7) rotates each night being the busy bee helper who helps with dinner and dishes. I try to make it fun by helping the child and talking about their day. Also they get to choose their favorite music to listen to and get a small treat when they’re done. I like your idea of stopping if one of us is grumpy because that happens sometimes and then I’m not as nice as I should be and it’s no fun for anyone.

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