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How to Teach Your Kids to Clean Up Their Room + Free Printable

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How to Teach Your Kids to Clean Up @ AVirtuousWoman.org

When my kids were little they had a dedicated play area. We had a play room in our basement and all of their toys stayed in there. Let me just say – it always amazed me at how quickly that room could go from clean and organized to downright chaos. It was frightening.

They had no trouble getting the toys out, but putting them away? That was more challenging. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to helping kids clean up their mess and keep a neater space.

Later on, when we moved to our house here in Harlan, Kentucky, the kids did not have their own playroom and all of their toys and other belongings were kept in their bedrooms.

I had one son and four girls. Each of my girls shared a bedroom with a sister. That has it’s own challenges when getting your kids to clean up.

How to Teach Your Kids to Clean Up Their Room

In general, kids do not enjoy cleaning up their rooms. I mean, let’s face it. How many moms really enjoy cleaning the house? Okay, sometimes I enjoy cleaning, most other times I’d rather be doing something else. I do enjoy a clean house though!

Be sure to get your free printable checklist for kids at the bottom of this post! 

Make Cleaning Fun!

By making it fun, you are helping them learn how to clean but also showing them that it won’t be painful. You can teach them a cleanup song or read a cleanup book. Another way to make cleaning fun is to set a timer and race to see who finishes first.

On big clean up days, I like to turn up the music. Fun music puts everyone in a good mood and makes cleaning less of a chore.

Sometimes I like to bribe them with a reward, i.e. “If you do a good job we’ll have ice cream sundaes tonight!” Generally speaking, though, rewards for cleaning up their rooms should be only used from time to time. Kids need to learn to clean up even when the only reward they get is a clean space. Because in real life, adults don’t get rewarded every time they clean their rooms. Sometimes you just got to clean up.

Show them what a cleaned up play area looks like.

You’d be surprised how easy this one is to overlook. Kids don’t always know what you expect. It’s important to work alongside them and train them. By showing them what their space is supposed to look like, you’re teaching your kids what the standards are for this space. Showing them what a clean space looks like gives them a model to go by when they are ready to clean up their mess. 

It’s also important to “check” their work. Follow up to make sure your child is cleaning the right way and not shoving a whole bunch of stuff under the bed or in the closet…. or wadding their clean clothes up in their drawers – or worse, putting the clean laundry back into the dirty laundry basket.

Remember that the Bible tells us, “Train up and a child in the way he should go…” Proverbs 22:6. It’s our responsibility to teach and train our children how to clean so that when they are older they know how.

The Bible also tells us that, “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Proverbs 20:4. We don’t want to raise children who are loathe to work.

We also don’t want to raise children who don’t do a good job. The Bible says, “He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.” Proverb 18: 9. That’s why following up and checking their work is so important!

How to Teach Your Kids to Clean Up @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Teach Them HOW to Clean Up.

So, it’s really easy for adults to walk into a messy room and feel overwhelmed. Just think how kids feel when you tell them to go clean their room and it’s total disaster?

How to clean doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And kids need real direction to clean up a space that has been otherwise trashed. So I’m sharing is the system I used to help my kids clean their rooms when they were younger. Now that they are older, they make less of a mess and cleaning isn’t nearly as difficult. Plus, they know how to clean.

  • Make your bed.
  • Put everything that is out of place onto your bed. OR, sweep everything on the floor into one big pile.
  • Next, put everything on your bed or in the pile away.
  • Finish cleaning by sweeping or vacuuming the floor and dusting table and dresser tops.

Label toy bins.

While having beautiful color coordinated bins is perfect for letting you know what’s inside, it may not be so easy for our children. Include labels or pictures {for younger kids} on the outside of bins to help them identify what’s supposed to go inside which bin. This will not only help them feel more confident when they start to clean up, but it will help them know they’re putting things in the correct place.

Be sure to teach consequences.

Be sure to teach  your kids what will happen if they don’t clean up to help get them more motivated to keep their space tidy. Appropriate consequences for not following your instructions are beneficial and help teach your children to be responsible.

Teaching your kids how to clean up doesn’t have to be painful! By showing them how to do it, making it fun, and teaching them the consequences, you can have your children picking up on their own in no time!

Free Printable Checklist for Kids

How to Clean Your Bedroom Checklist for Kids @ AVirtuousWoman.org

How to Download & Use

Just fill out the form below to get your free printable checklist for kids: How to Clean Your Bedroom. This free printable checklist for kids teaches your child how to clean their bedroom in four easy steps.

Print out the checklist on card stock. You might want to laminate the checklist too! I would hang this in your child’s bedroom on the wall or on the back of the door so they have it to refer to when cleaning their room.

Go over the step by step checklist with your kids. When you ask them to clean their room, you may want to go over the steps again and even work alongside them a few times so they understand exactly what your expectations are.

Do you have any special tricks for getting your kids to clean up? Any questions? Let me know in the comments below!


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One Comment

  1. GREAT TIPS! I have a very independent toddler that LOVES to help. I've quickly learned that both of our lives are easier and much more enjoyable if he gets to help with the chores. He loves to throw things in the trash, dust, sweep, and I'll even let him put the pots and pans away from the bottom of the dishwasher.

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