Guest Post, Parenting

Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Clean Up

Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Clean Up

This is the ultimate challenge, isn’t it? How do I make cleaning “fun”? Some kids may start out enjoying their clean-up task but give up after a few short minutes. Others might be hard to get motivated and you just can’t find anything to get them excited about cleaning. Well, some parents have started making cleaning a literal game. Here are some fun, creative ideas that work for many different ages and can be modified depending on your needs. These are sure to get your little ones pumped about cleaning!


Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Clean Up


Make Cleaning a Game

You can tailor this tip to whatever style of game you’d like of course, but my personal favorite is is a “leveling system” styled game. It works by creating your own customizable cleaning chart with points attached to each task. For example, making your bed might give your child five points and mowing the lawn could give them 50; it all depends on how you want to do it. Give them some tasks and let them get started. Once they rack up a bunch of points, you can set a “level”.

Let’s say your first level ends at 100 points. That means, once your child gathers up 100 points, they can move on to level two, then they will start back at zero and have to get more points the next time. At level two you might want to give them a prize. They can be very simple prizes, but they should be worth working up towards. They should feel like they’ve accomplished something. A good example of this would be to start with something small, like an extra five minutes of television, computer time, or tablet time.

As your child levels up, the levels get harder to achieve, but the rewards should be greater. Perhaps level two takes 500 points instead of 100, but they get to have a special sleepover with some friends if they get all the way to 500 points. Then, level three might take 1000 points and so on. You might even want to come up with some cool titles for each level, like they do in video games. Incorporate their favorite shows, movies, or games to give it an extra element of fun. You can absolutely change it around and make it work however you feel comfortable, but the basis of this game is simple, clever, and quite effective.


Play Pretend

I am a huge mystery nerd, as such this game sounds like an absolute blast to me. Think of your favorite, kid-friendly mystery (like scooby doo or something similar) and break that story down into pieces. For example, your child might be informed that someone has stolen all of the candy from a chocolate factory. Their goal is to be a detective and figure out “whodunnit”. If I was playing with a younger child, I might choose something silly like a dog ate all of the candy. I would then hide clues around the house and they must clean every spot in order to get them all. Once they have all of the clues together they can solve the mystery. One clue could be a paw print, another could be a collar, then maybe a squeaky toy and so on.

Sometimes you might want a little bit simpler game just to get them going. A great idea is to pretend to be maids or butlers. This is a simple idea that is easy for any kiddo to grasp onto quickly and stay with it long enough to get the job done. Another great idea is to ask them to play Mission Impossible. They can be a secret spy that has to get all of their missions done in order to successfully complete their entire mission. Lastly, if you’re a fan of Cinderella, you can dress them up with scarves or hankies over their heads and have them clean like she does. There are so many great characters in movies that like to be clean. The possibilities are endless. Let their imagination run wild.


Make it a Speed Race

If you have more than one child, kids can race each other in order to see who can get done the fastest with all of chores. You can even come up with a fake trophy or reward that gets passed onto the winner each time that they win. Maybe one gets to keep it for a day or two or maybe even a whole week. They have to make sure that they do a good job too or else they won’t be the winner.

You can also start a similar game in which they will be trying to beat their own best score. Have them set a goal and start the stopwatch. Once they get done with all of their assignments, as long as they did it in the agreed upon time, they get a prize. Next time, you can show them how great they did and they can work on beating that time in order to get an even better prize.

A great way to get multiple children to cooperate is to give them a trash bag or other large bag and set a timer to see who can grab the most items that are not in their place. They have to work together and grab any and all items that are not in the right place, even if they aren’t their own. Some parents like to use pennies or nickels as rewards once the item is returned to the right spot. The child that puts the most toys back in the correct spot will end up with the most
coins at the end of the game. Once they play the game a few times, they can buy a prize from the store. Even better, they can pool their coins together and get a great prize to share.

All of these games are simple and easy to customize depending on the age of your kids and how many you’ve got. Motivating kids to clean can be really tricky and trying to get everything done by yourself is sometimes just not an option. Hopefully these games will help get your mind going with ideas about your own household and how kids can learn fun responsibility lessons as well as make things a bit easier for you.

*Written by Trisha Miller of

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