(aka – Ideas To Get Your Kids On Board With Cleaning Up Without Going Crazy Yourself)

Apparently, one of the most painful things for our boys is to clean the playroom and bedroom.  Sometimes, the clutter is so bad that it trickles into the living room, and that’s when I know the mess in our playroom must be BAD.  And, it is time for some intervention.  Here are some ideas to try to motivate your kids to clean up (let me know if they work for you!).

  1. Baby (timed) steps – sometimes, the mess can be quite overwhelming.  So, I set a timer and have my boys clean what they can before the time runs out.  I usually set the timer somewhere between five and ten minutes, although you can set it for any amount of time.  My boys love to “race the clock”, and they also appreciate the fact that they are guaranteed a break when the timer goes off.
  2. Scavenger hunt cleaning – my older son is very motivated by money (and my younger one as well, by default), so I will sometimes hide pennies or other coins under a few toys in a cluttered area.  The boys love looking for secret change, but the rule is that anything they look under must be put away, whether money is there or not.  When the money is all found, I let them “buy” a special snack or treat as a reward.
  3. For a while, my boys’ definition of “clean” and MY definition of “clean” were two completely different concepts!  So, after one massive cleaning effort, we took pictures of the finished area…pictures of the bookshelf, the toy cars, the train track, and even the inside of desk drawers.  When it is time to clean up, we take out the pictures to remember what “clean” really means.  My boys have a model to follow, and I get the “clean” I expect!

What’s your favorite way to motivate your kids to clean?  Leave a comment and share your ideas!