Most parents find that they have trouble getting their kids, especially the younger children, to help pick up messes or clean up after themselves. To put your kids in the mood to clean one of the easiest and most successful ways to accomplish this is to make a game out of it. Many parents find this is a great way to take the chore out of getting chores done.
You Never Know What You're Going to Get
As is common with a lot of adults tasks can become tedious for kids as well so try switching it up. A fun way to do this is by writing down several different chores that need to be done on individual slips of paper and mixing them into a hat or bowl and allow the kids to select a random chore. When you do little games like this it is important to make sure that the chores or tasks that need to be done are age-appropriate to your children's ages.
The Guessing Game
For some kids adding an air of intensity or distraction to daily cleanup can make the difference between whether or not it actually gets done and also how long it takes as well. If you have a timer at home when the time comes to pick up the house have your kids guess how long they think it will take them to complete their task. Once they make a guess; get your timer ready, give them a ready, set, go and start your timer. The kids will be so focused on trying to meet or beat their time that they rarely notice that they are cleaning and before you know it chores are done or rooms are picked up.
Sing-a-longs and Clean up Songs
Clean up songs can be extremely motivating for smaller children. Parents, you can create your own songs or borrow one of the many that are already out there. You can find DVD's, CD's and VHS tapes a plenty that feature songs designed to make cleaning fun for children of all ages.
Teach By Example
Children that grow up watching the adults and older siblings clean up after themselves are far more likely to pick up the habit of cleaning up after themselves. So making sure your habits are teaching your kids by example can be the key to getting your kids to help clean.
Rewarding Their Efforts
A reward does not have to consist of candy or a present. Simply words of praise and encouragement when they put their toys away or take on another requested or unrequested chore can make an impact on how helpful they want to be.
Sometimes it is not that your child does not want to help clean up - it is that they don't know where to begin or what is expected of them. Be willing to help them out and pick up a few toys or clothes yourself to get them on the right track. Another way you can help is by pointing out specific tasks that need to be done i.e. "pick up your blocks and put them in that bin over there (show or point the toy box or bin where the toys belong)".
Get your kids to help clean by making sure there is a place for everything that needs to be put away. A laundry basket for clothes, toyboxes or plastic toy bins for toys and a trash container for garbage.
Know When to Give Them Their Space
It can be helpful when kids are just getting started and used to doing chores to give them a helping hand however, once they know what they are supposed to do take a step back. You don't want the child to become reliant or expectant of your help and want them to be able to take on and complete the tasks themselves.