How to Teach Your Kids to Clean Up


I’m going to provide some of the things I’ve been doing to teach my son about cleaning up. I’m hoping you can provide us with your own tips on how you taught your own kids about the art of cleaning up after you get through reading mine :)


He’s taken over the living room area!

My husband is such a neat freak that he has really been on me to make sure to be consistent with teaching my son about the importance of cleaning up as well. So far my little guy has been doing a great job! Here are a few things I’ve done:

1) Organize toys

I started by organizing all of my son’s toys according to how I think he would choose to play with them. Sometimes he’s in the mood to play with his cars and sometimes it’s with his trucks. Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it’s with his Toy Story toys. Sometimes he wants to play with his Disney Cars and Planes. You get the picture, right?

This helps him understand organization. If he puts them away in their proper places, he knows he can find them more easily.

2) Do not let your kid pull out more toys unless they’ve put others that are no longer being played with away

My son was getting to the point where he would just start pulling everything out at and before we knew it, there would be no room left for anyone to hang out. He seemed to have been taking over the entire house!

We used to have major temper tantrums about this part. No matter what, DO NOT let him win. If you allow his temper tantrum to get to you, he will use it to his advantage the next time you try this trick.

3) Make it fun.

Cleanup doesn’t have to feel like a chore or something that isn’t nice. My son learned a special song from Gymboree, where they sing “cleanup! cleanup! Everybody, everywhere! Cleanup! Cleanup!” that’s all I could actually remember from it and that’s all he ever sings, but you get the point. We sing this song every time we put toys away so that he can learn to appreciate it.

4) Share your enthusiasm

Kids love to get a reaction, especially from their own parents. Show a little excitement and let them know that what they’ve done is a really good thing. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to get your kids to do something because they want to please you. It’s a great way to get them motivated.

5) Avoid having the TV or other distractions around during the cleanup process

It’s important for your child to understand why they need to cleanup. Having distractions during the process will not only prolong the cleaning up, but it may also keep their focus away from the reason they need to do it in the first place.

Surely you’ve got your own special tricks and ways of getting your child to pick up their toys and things. Would you mind sharing?