How to inspire your kids to clean

I am sure that your kids are adorable, but I bet that they are not the tidiest. This becomes abundantly clear when they are at home for prolonged periods of time, like during the coronavirus lockdown. Some helping hands to prevent the home descending into chaos would be a boon for busy parents. But how do you get your kids to do cleaning when we find it such a chore?

It is not as difficult as you might think, and your kids will surprise you on what they can do. Children love to be kept busy and challenged. In this article, our friends at TidyChoice give their top tips on making cleaning fun and inspiring for your children.

Why get your kids to clean?

Your kids will learn some lifelong domestic skills. They will learn to take responsibility for tasks and the discipline required to do them well. They will also get a sense of satisfaction and pride when they are praised and rewarded for a job well done. And of course, the best reason of all is that you get some help and don’t have to do all the cleaning yourself!

Appropriate cleaning tasks

The cleaning tasks need to be age appropriate. Make the tasks short, say up to 20 minutes, otherwise they may become boring. Remember to keep harmful chemicals such as bleach well out of reach of young children.

Younger children can get involved in lots of activities, such as

  • Tidying up bedrooms
  • Putting books and toys away
  • Making beds
  • Dusting and wiping surfaces
  • Tidying up desks/tables
  • Straightening out the living room
  • Sweeping or hoovering floors
  • Putting away groceries
  • Folding and putting laundry away
  • Cleaning the family pet’s food and water bowls

Older kids can also help with

  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Mopping floors
  • Cleaning windows
  • Washing and putting away dishes
  • Washing bikes
  • Bathing pet dog

Kids love being outside so tasks like sweeping the yard, raking up leaves and simple garden tasks are also good for them to do.

How to motivate your kids to clean

Kids will respond differently so you need to tailor your approach. Some will love a challenge and to compete against siblings. Others will like doing a checklist or have a schedule. All like to be rewarded but will respond differently to the type of reward.

The most important thing is to make cleaning as much fun as possible and to encourage them to do the jobs they enjoy. We also have some tips and tricks to help you inspire your children.

1 Dressing up

Young children love dressing up. You can spark their imagination and make them feel important by giving them some special clothes to wear. A uniform, apron, gloves or hat may get them in the zone for cleaning.

2 Pump up the music

Kids are energised by music just as much as adults. Get them to sing along to their favourite songs as they do their tasks. This “whistle while we work” tip makes cleaning seem like fun.

3 Gamify tasks

Create games to make cleaning tasks fun. Use a timer and challenge your kids to get tasks done before time runs out. “Get all the toys in the basket in one minute? Go!”. This is a great way to increase motivation. Remember to keep a close eye on quality and award marks out of ten.

4 Have a competition

Children are naturally competitive. Healthy competition can be very motivating and spur on siblings. Create cleaning games. Give them an empty bucket each and see who can tidy up the most toys or who can do a cleaning task the quickest. For an only child, compete against them and it is good to let them win.

5 Create a checklist or weekly schedule

Some children love using checklists. Ticking off completed tasks gives them a sense of accomplishment. You can use a checklist as you go through tasks so your child can learn what needs to be done. Make the checklist as fun and colourful as possible.

6 Reward their hard work

Kids like to be rewarded for good behaviour and hard work. Let them know exactly what they’ll get when they finish. You can vary rewards according to ages. For little ones, keep the rewards short term whilst financial rewards work well for teens. Rewards could include media time, TV time, new toys, a favourite meal for dinner, trips to the park or cinema and of course sweets.


We hope that these tips get your kids cleanings. Make cleaning as fun as possible and if all else fails, use bribery! We would love to hear about any tips that you have. Please leave your comments.

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