Getting kids to clean up {without whining!}

If there’s one thing our kids are awesome at, it’s turning our neat and clean house into a disaster area in mere minutes. They haven’t quite mastered the technique of playing with toys and then putting them away before moving on to the next thing. And it drives me crazy! What’s really hard though, is when I want them to clean up the disaster and nobody wants to do it. (With all the snow days we’ve had recently, the messes have been piling up!)

I got tired of nagging and listening to whining, so I came up with a really simple way to get my kids to clean up! I just ask them to each put away ten things. To my kids, putting away ten things is WAY more manageable than cleaning up the whole house. And if we all put away ten things each, we can make a sizable dent in the mess very quickly. Then, we do it again. Sometimes I’ll have them switch rooms or look for specific toys to put away (ten cars, ten books, etc).

It works REALLY well for our kids and my sanity! What about you? Do you have any secret tricks to get your kids to clean up without whining? I’d love to hear them!

get your kids to clean up without whining - 10 things at a timemessy house

Josh Solar (624 Posts)

I am a: Joy Seeker. Big Dreamdoer. Family Adventurer. Connoisseur of fine music. Practitioner of Gratitude. Painter of Watercolors.


7 comments
Kim Ryden
Kim Ryden

Oh and...dirty clothes on the floor and under beds and such is one of my pet peeves. So if I were to walk by Brooke's Room (age 4) and see that there are dirty clothes on the floor (which happens almost daily) I would say, "Brooke it looks like you need to come and take care of some things in your room. Make sure your books and clothes are in the right places." That's really all we have in our bedrooms...books and clothes. Which is nice but not always doable for every family. In our new house (of one year) we have the luxury of a play room! But we still clean it up every night! :)

Kim Ryden
Kim Ryden

We have a CD of songs we use...3 songs. We clean up once a day. I'm not a stickler about the clean up before you get something else rule and I only want to clean up once a day too! We give verbal warnings that it's coming...5 minutes till clean up, 2 minutes till clean up...then we just start the music. We dance and clean up. The song is a mental cute to the kids that it's time to clean up....when they hear it and Mommy and Daddy are overly exited about dancing and cleaning to...they naturally Dahl in line and do the same! If there is any time remaining, we run around the house...our house is a circle. If we don't make it in time, the toys go in a tub for 24 hours!

Jennifer Hurlburt
Jennifer Hurlburt

Last week we did something a bit extreme because we were so tired of the not picking up. They get distracted and then start playing (almost 5 and 3 years old). So we set a timer and told them whatever was left on the out in the play room when the timer went off we were going to donate to my classroom (I teach pre-k). They are used to donating piece because they do it a few times a year anyway. It worked great! It quickly got two tasks done - picking up and sorting out toys for donations. Of course this won't be an everyday clean up tactic so we will definitely try 10 toys at a time next time and see how it works!

happyfammvmt
happyfammvmt moderator

@Kim Ryden I love that! Thanks for sharing!


happyfammvmt
happyfammvmt moderator

@Jennifer Hurlburt Isn't it amazing that by using a timer, you can get the kiddos to do something?