Last updated on December 11th, 2022 at 11:10 pm
Whether you have one child or three like me, you know how messy the house can get. Years of birthday and holiday gifts add up to piles and piles of toys. They seem to take over every corner of the house! Every mother knows that messes equal stress, so here are some techniques I’ve used to get my kids to help me clean – without having to beg!
Bribe them with treats!
This has become my go-to when I want to get the cleaning done now- like at bedtime. I sleep better knowing that we’ll all wake up to a neat and organized home. So, I recently started what my sons now call the “trick-or-treat” clean-up.
After dinner, but before they’ve brushed their teeth, I pull out a bag of M&M;’s. For each task they do, they get an M&M.; Most tasks, such as putting a toy away, equal one treat. Bigger tasks, such as making their bed, get up to five.
The first night we did this I had to point out each task, but now they know exactly what needs to be done when they see that bag in my hand! If you don’t like the idea of giving the kids candy, try fruit snacks or something sugar-free as an alternative.
Give them points!
If sweet treats aren’t an option for you, why not try a “points equal rewards” system. Similar to the idea above, the kids earn points for performing tasks. This trick works best with older kids, as younger ones sometimes lose interest before they have earned anything.
To get started, use a notebook or poster board where you can keep track of points earned and spent. I carried around a clipboard and added points as they worked. I let them trade points in small rewards, like dessert, or save them up for bigger things like a one-on-one date night with mom.
This is one of the fastest ways I’ve found to get the job done. It works especially well if you have more than one child. Even if you only have one child, you can use this trick by playing along! Grab a few baskets or buckets and see who can fill theirs up first. Set a timer for five minutes and see who can get the most done before the buzzer goes off.
Who’s the boss?
All kids love being in charge! Why not let them take the reins once, in a while, it gives you a break and teaches them important leadership skills. We usually start from youngest and work our way up, that way there’s no argument about who goes first or next.
Start a job jar.
On sheets of scrap paper, write down small tasks the kids can do themselves. Put them all in a jar and let the kids take turns pulling out a job. If you find that they aren’t happy with the task they have selected, you may want to consider giving the kids a few minutes to trade amongst themselves to ensure happier workers.
If none of these ideas work for you, put on your thinking cap and get creative! Whatever you come up with, make it fun – and remember, everyone, wins when you work together!