Dad Podcast

Getting Kids to Clean Up – Dudes To Dads Ep 97

Kids live in the moment.  Cleaning takes them away from the moment of fun they could be having.

We don’t cover “chores” or giving kids money for doing things they are supposed to do.  Many parents get so frustrated with the topic, they just end up doing everything themselves.  The reality is that kids are way more capable than we give them credit for.  It is also up to us to teach them how to clean up after themselves and take care of things.

We suggest establishing some overall cleaning ideas and rules:

  • As a family we are a team.  We all help each other.
  • Positive attitude.  We take pride in our home and appreciate the things we have

Define clearly what is expected  – how often, define exactly what needs to be done.  Like “Make your bed, put clothes in hamper, etc.
Keep things organized – It is easier to keep clean when things have designated places.  For example, there may be a large toy bin where certain toys go.  Or all stuffed animals are on a shelf.  Whatever it may be.
Set a good example – not putting my computer case or lunch bad away would not set a good example.  also try to pretend like it’s not that bad…maybe that you even enjoy it.
Verbalize your appreciation – “Thank you so much for cleaning up your food”
Be direct – Don’t be needy or anxious

I think there are 4 categories:  Food, Toys, Clothes, & Room


  • Establish a favorite cup and/or plate.  Use the same one for every drink/meal.
  • All trash must be thrown away before anything else is eaten
  • If they are old enough to walk, they can bring dishes to sink.  At 4-5 years old, they should clean the dishes and put in dishwasher.

Toys – Put one toy away before taking another one out.  They are like little pack rats.  They have little figures, dolls, cars, balls, yoyos, whatever


  • Determine if the clothes are dirty, if so, put them away.  for example they may not have to put pajamas in the hamper.
  • Experts say 2-3 years old should be able to do this.
  • Only what is in the hamper gets washed
  • Don’t fold
  • Have a lot less

Room – This is really an individual decision.  How clean are you versus how much freedom you want to give them.
Must have a clear path to walk
Making the bed

Overall you have to figure out what works for your family.  The bottom line is that everyone needs to contribute no matter how old they are.  It is up to us as parents to teach our children how to be effective team members within the home.

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