7 ways to get your kids to clean up

How do I make sure my child cleans up his things? It is a very logical question, especially when you just finished cleaning everything and your lovely offspring is already turning around the next toy bin. They do need it (especially those preschoolers) to browse through all those toys. You really do not have to walk behind them with a basket, every time toys are left lying around. Here are a few tips to keep it productive and cozy, for everyone :-):


It all starts with a system. If have said it here before, but it is true! Everything has it’s own place and explain to your kids how that system works. Also ensure a clear storage system that is clear, easy to handle and accessible. Large baskets, trays or drawers are ideal for small children. You can also stick pictures or labels on the boxes or boxes that make clear what belongs in them. Teach the child that everything has a place: the coats belong at home on the coat rack, the shoes in the shoe rack, and also the toy has its fixed place.


Children who have learned from childhood that cleaning up is necessary, are more confident and happier as adults than children who grew up in a messy and disorderly home. Research shows that people who live in an ordered environment usually also have their lives and their heads in order. That is why it is important to involve children as quickly as possible in cleaning up their toys and in household tasks at their level.


Go step by step and let the child do chores that it likes. Small tasks that are clear and feasible for his / her age. The child will be satisfied and motivated to continue working with it. Be realistic in this and do not forget that it still needs to learn. Practice makes perfect.


Give your child clear and simple guidelines. Describe exactly what is expected of him or her step by step. For example: ‘First put your lego blocks back in the box’. Once that task is finished, you give a new assignment such as ‘put your coloring books and pencils back in the drawer’. That works better than ‘clean up your toys’.
Until the age of about four years, a toddler usually needs help with cleaning up. Learn how to deal with it by telling you what you’re doing while you put everything together in order: ‘we put the dolls back in the basket, and now we put the blocks in the box’ … Do not assume that a small child knows how to clean up. It is a matter of learning step by step.


Make sure you clean up together at fixed times of the day. That way everyone knows what he / she is up to and what needs to be done. For example, before the afternoon nap and before evening bedtime. Accept that it can be a bit messy, before those clean-up moments. This way they can play undisturbed and you have your ‘own’ living room back when they sleep. Let your child know in time that it is almost time to stop playing and start cleaning up. Do that five minutes in advance and in a clear message. For example: ‘It is almost bedtime. You can continue playing for five minutes, but then it’s time to clean up ‘. Once those five minutes are up, you tell your child that it’s time to start cleaning up. You can also start those clean-up moments with a clean-up song to make sure it’s working for the little ones. And they often use these kinds of songs at daycare to, so it’s extra clear to them what’s going on. Because at daycare, they most certainly help out, when needed:-).


Children under the age of 4 can help with household chores. Some can do it independently and sometimes you have to accompany them. But, often they find it super to help mom / dad with those big-people chores. Think of watering the plants, clearing the dishwasher, clearing the drying rack, removing the paper from the mat, vacuuming etc … Of course you can do it yourself, but it’s about getting involved with the household and being responsible.

From the age of four, the child can carry out small work independently, although of course this still happens in his / her way. In other words: adjusting and monitoring is still necessary until the child is about eight years old. The range of tasks can be extended with the table cover or clearing, just dusting, giving the pets food, harmless handling in the preparation of the food (stirring, mixing, rolling balls …) etc …

From 8 years it goes all the way and a child – if it is open to it – can really be a help at home. The possibilities are many: vacuum cleaning, cleaning up their room, throwing clothes in the laundry basket, filling and emptying the dishwasher, taking care of pets …. It is important to make firm agreements about what is expected. Put in humor if things do not go smoothly or if the child forgets something.


The most important one I keep for the end and that is: give the good example! If you immediately put your coat on the coat rack and put your shoes on the shoe rack, they will automatically imitate you. But, if you always leave your jacket on the couch, you can not expect them to do it properly. In short; children look at their parents to see what they should do, in that case literally. Give the good example and they will follow!

Good luck and have fun doing so!

Ciao, Eva.

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