Kids and Chores

Kids and Chores

Do your kids have chores? My house is never as clean as I would like, and I’m working on getting closer to my ideal by getting my kids more involved with day-to-day cleaning. It’s more work for me in the short run, but will hopefully help in the long run – both by raising kids who know how to clean, and by making my children more aware of how much work running a house really requires. Here are a few things I’m doing with my six, four, and three-year-old – at this point, the one-month-old mostly helps by sleeping!

  • Get kid-friendly cleaning supplies. We use non-toxic, green cleaners that are safe (vinegar and water is a favorite) for kids to be around. I took the middle sections out of our Swiffer Sweeper to make it the perfect height for my kids to sweep and even mop the floors!
  • Clean with kids. All chores are more fun when there is someone to do them with!
  • Turn cleaning into a game:
    • See who picks up the most blocks.
    • Stack DUPLO bricks into a tower before putting them in the bin.
    • Hide an object in the room in such a way that the kids can only find it by putting away their toys (this last one was inspired by All-Of-A-Kind Family, one of my favorite childhood books).
  • Preface fun and exciting activities with a mini cleaning session. My kids are much more willing to clean efficiently if they know that there is something exciting to do once they are finished!
  • Make sure chores are clearly defined. My four-year-old especially handles “please put the blocks in their bin” much better than “ please clean up the playroom” – or even “please put away your toys”.
  • Make clean-up easy. Our toy storage solution is to keep nearly all of our toys in identical bins – so my kids can simply grab the closest bin, fill it with one type of toy, and put it on the shelf.
  • Downsize when clutter gets overwhelming. We’re in the middle of that right now!
  • Assign ownership. Right now, I’m focusing on kids putting clothes away where they go and making beds, but I hope to extend to responsibility to other areas within the house soon.
  • Express gratitude for help and a clean house. It’s always nice to get positive feedback – and what goes around comes around. I recently spent an hour cleaning the living room while Mike and the kids were out, and when they walked in the front door three-year-old Lily said, “Wow, Mama, this room looks so nice!”
  • Organize. It’s hard to clean when things don’t have a designated “home”.

How do you get your kids involved with household chores?

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  1. says

    I need to be better about chores. Abby sometimes helps, but she always wants something. I’m not sure why, we do not pay her or give her things for helping. Maybe we should? I don’t know. I feel like they should just do stuff as being a member of the family.

    Anyway, cute idea to make the Sweeper smaller!

  2. Anu Ganesh says

    I do involve my 35 months old in day to day chores and as you have pointed out – expressing gratitude and praise works like a charm :)

  3. Nikki says

    This is a great list of suggestions. I have a toddler an we work on putting pj’s in the laundry basket, cloth diapers in the pail, and putting up bath toys. With kids I work with who have autism I am frequently looking for resources such as these. Thanks!


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