I Offer... A Solution

Our children turned a perfectly clean basement into this, in less than an hour. To their credit, they had two friends over who helped. 

I am always getting questions from moms who want to know how to get their kids to clean up. It is hard to get kids to work. They would much rather play. Wouldn't we all?

We talked about kids and work not too long ago. 

I offer a few additional ideas to help you and your kids work better together.
  • Do you ever hear your kids say, "I don't know where that goesssssss?" Kids are very visual. Take pictures of the toys that go in each bucket or space. Post the pictures on the front of the storage spaces so it makes it really easy for your kids to SEE where things go. You don't have to take pictures of every toy, just a few of the toys that can represent. You can also include the name of the object for older kids who can read. If your child likes to draw, have them draw pictures of their toys. 
  • Is there complaining when you mention it is time to clean up? Children don't always feel like they are heard. So, listen to them for one minute. What do I mean? Give your children one minute to complain. Let them whine and complain as much as they want for those 60 seconds. Once the 60 seconds are up, it's time to get to work. 
  • MY FAVORITE! When it is time to clean up, I PICK A MAGIC/SECRET ITEM IN THE PLAYROOM (or in whatever space we are cleaning.) Our kids RACE to find and put away the MAGIC ITEM. Whoever finds and puts the MAGIC ITEM away gets to choose what's for snack or dinner, or which park we will visit. If it is Monday, the one who finds and puts away the MAGIC ITEM gets to choose what dessert to have for FHE. I always make sure that what they get to choose benefits and effects all the kids. They love this game. It is like a scavenger hunt. I have fun picking new MAGIC ITEMS every time we clean. If the room really needs attention, like the playroom picture above, then I will pick a few MAGIC ITEMS. Sometimes I announce the MAGIC ITEM right when it is put away. Other times I wait until everything is put away and then announce with a ta da. 
Remember, we can't expect our kids to work at the same speed as we do. The best way to get your kids to work and clean is to slow down and work and clean with them.



  1. Oh my goodness, I LOVE the "magic item" idea! My son will love this and I really think it will making cleaning up more fun (or at least easier! :)

  2. I am SOOO doing the magic idea. You're such a genius.

  3. I would love to hear how your kids respond to the magic item.

  4. Just have to say my kids LOVE the magic item game. Works like magic and I am not kidding. Thanks so much for such a great idea.


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