Help! My Children Won’t Tidy Up!

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Help! My Children Won’t Tidy Up!

child kid cleaning up tidying up

How to get my child to tidy up? That is a question many parents wish they had the answer to. Cleaning up isn’t the most exciting activity, whether it is for parents or children but it doesn’t have to be this way! These five tips will convince your child that cleaning can be fun.

1. Create a tidy up playlist

Tidying up shouldn’t be something they dread doing. Make it a habit, something that will come naturally over time. Make a playlist specifically for tidying up. There’s no better way than putting music on to make your child clean. This is the method nurseries use to teach children how to follow a routine with little effort! We even made a song about how fun tidying up can be! Give it a try and check the playlist we’ve made for you. Your child will get excited every time you put the playlist on. It will be more like a game than a chore.

“Play Benny Hill theme tune as the tidy up music. They love it.” Claire

“I use a tidy up song and my toddler tidies up as he sings.” Rhi

2. Make it a family activity

The easiest way to teach your children how to be tidy and to clean up together. Children naturally copy everything we do. If they see you cleaning up and trying to keep the house as tidy as possible then they will try to do the same. Try to make it a family activity. You could for instance spend some time on Sundays cleaning up the house all together, everyone has a different role. Not only will you teach them how to be tidy but you will also teach them how to be responsible and they will feel like an important member of the household.

“Give them an option so they make their own choice: would you like to tidy up your room or help me with the gardening? Would you like to load the dishwasher or tidy up the living room? Then I do the other one.” Stacey

“My son is two so I ask him to pick up his toys as we’re going to bed or nap or out. Then, if he doesn’t want to do it I offer to help. Mummy does one and you do one. That seems to work for us. We’ve tried to make it more of a routine so that he understands that it’s something that needs to be done. He’s pretty good, especially before bed.” Charlie

child kid cleaning up tidying up

child hoovering

3. Give everything a special place

How are they supposed to clean if they don’t know where to put it? Make sure everything has a designed spot and is easy to access. Children will be more keen on cleaning if they know where everything goes. Have a storage bin for everything and walk them through the whole room organisation. If your child is a pre-reader, put some pictures with the name on each storage bin.

4. Make it a game

Make it fun! We can’t insist enough on the importance to make it as enjoyable as possible. Turning it into a game is a clever way to trick your child into cleaning. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate, you could ask things like “Gather all the red objects”, “gather all the cars”. This will make cleaning less intimidating.

“We set a timer for a 10 minutes tidy session. And we have a race to put away as much as possible and they get a little treat. Basically a game and as much fun as possible.” Misty

“We put on a tidy up song and make it a game, the person who tidies up the quickest can help lay the table and choose where they sit (they love that).” Rhiannon

“Make a time lapse video of them tidying up! They LOVE it!” Emma

5. Say it positively and stay patient

We’ll never say it enough but patience is key. You need to be as supportive and encouraging as possible. If you seem to be annoyed and negative, there’s no way they will want to clean up and everyone will be upset. Start small and teach them slowly. Clean together and make comprises: "Do you prefer to clean the living room or your bedroom?". By giving them an option you make them feel more responsible and they will take the task more seriously.

“Make it fun! Give them stickers once they complete tidying. Ask them nicely and do it with them.” Katie

“Use a timer. I have 2 kids and we see who can do it the quickest.” Hannah

You won’t need a magic spell to make your child clean, although that would be quite useful and much easier. Your child won’t become tidy overnight but these tips are great to put them in the right direction. it's never too early to start teaching them. What tricks are you using to make your child clean? Let us know down below!

Make sure you check out our book, we've written a story about tidying up in the hope it would inspire children to be more tidy. We also have a free resource pack to learn Spanish from home!

dad and son cleaning up

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