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Life Lessons 101: Teaching Kids to Clean Up

Summer means the messes kids make are going to be daily occurrences instead of weekend occurrences.  How do you manage or balance the chaos?  How do you get your kids to pick up after themselves?

Daily chores are the worst as an adult.  They seem to be never-ending, but what happens when little people are trailing behind your cleaning train and making a bigger mess?  We get frustrated, we yell, and then we clean that up too.  I don't know about you, but that is not my idea of fun.

When E was young, I made a point of letting him know that he needed to clean up after himself when it came to toys and games.  Everything has a home and the middle of the floor is not that home.

How to Get Your Kids to Clean

1. Lead by example: when you are done using something put it away yourself.  Don't leave items where they don't belong.

2.  Make it fun for them: Play music and make it a party.  Give them a reward for doing what they need to do.  Make them feel like they have the power to make a difference.

3. Don't give them a choice: If E didn't clean up after himself, he was handed a garbage bag and made to "throw out" the toys.  I would then donate them to teach him the lesson of being grateful for his things, and that I meant business.

What do you do to get your kids to participate?


  1. My dad was notorious for the garbage bag threat. We always cleaned everything right up. I'm noticing now that I am the same way with my son. My husband thinks it's mean, but it's effective, for sure. It's for motivation more than anything.

  2. Love the music playing. That gets ME in the mood to clean for sure.


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