How to Get Your Kids Happily Involved in Cleaning House

Do you struggle to get your kids involved in cleaning the house? Here are some suggestions to help them feel part of making their house a home.

When my first child was just 3 years old, I began having her help me empty the dishwasher. The plastic plates and cups were in a low cupboard where she could reach them and easily put items away. She emptied the dishwasher like this until she was old enough to reach the upper cupboards and handle the glass carefully. At that point, she was also able to load the dishwasher. She was probably about 8 years old at that time.

Once she turned 14 years old, she and her two sisters helped in the dish rotation. Each night, they rotated who loaded, hand-washed, and dried/put away the dishes after each meal.

In addition, I continue to train my younger children in different chores around the home. These are important habits to have, and we’ve learned a few things along the way.

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Here are two essential ingredients when training your children to help around the home:


There’s a difference between working side by side and working together.

Teaching our children to work as a team to keep house is a great way to teach problem-solving skills, help them learn to appreciate each other, and build their relationships.

In the book Cleaning House, the author, Kay, talks specifically about working together on projects outside the regular housekeeping duties.

I have seen my children rise to the occasion of working together toward a common goal, so I know they are capable. When my eldest daughter was 14 years old, she was a leader at heart and could naturally delegate and direct her siblings to specific jobs to help complete a project.

But how do we keep our children motivated? Threatening doesn’t work (trust me), and neither does yelling. One thing I have noticed in the past is that the satisfaction of having a clean room is a great motivator.

Children delight in a clean room and are more apt to play and spend time in it. A project that benefits them offers motivation.

Additionally, reminding them that we are a family, a team. We work together to make our house a home. Everyone has a vital part to fulfill.

Still, motivation isn’t always present, and in these cases, we must rely on discipline and duty.


If my kids don’t work happily (and often they don’t), I have no one to blame but myself for that. I have grumbled a lot about how I “just cleaned that up” or “I can’t keep up” or “can’t you clean up after yourself?” Children pick up on this attitude. The cleaning cycle never ends and we can choose to grumble or work with a good attitude.

Cleaning the house happily means it begins with me.

Put on some upbeat music and have fun!

Set a timer and race against the clock.

Offer to go out for coffee or ice cream with your teen at the end of the week.

I used to love cooking. My firstborn loved everything I put in front of her. At age 3, she was a salad eater—nearly unheard of at that age!

But as my family has grown, so has the pickiness and grumbles. I no longer enjoy making meals because at least one person complains they don’t like what I’ve made. I’m totally being raw here and am not saying my reaction to this behavior is good or right.

The truth is, complaining pierces my heart, making me not want to cook. Hearing that day after day, meal after meal, it just sucks out any desire. This is something I need to work on in myself.

Consider how our children must feel when we complain constantly about the mess? As moms, we need to remember our children are still in training. Patience with them is a must.

Even as they grow into teenagers, it will feel like they’ve forgotten everything you’ve taught them. Just keep at it, mama!! Those seeds are being planted, and they will sprout and bloom when they are ready.

Real Life is Work

This process isn’t just about cleaning. It’s about teaching our children that life involves work. That’s just the way it is. They cannot grow up to believe that everything will be handed to them, done for them, or work in their favor 100% of the time. This type of thinking could blind them to reality.

It’s also important to point out how crucial it is to ensure we affirm our children when they do a job well done. This empowers them to keep pushing on, and even take the initiative to go above and beyond their expected duties.

When your child grumps about doing their chores, empathize with them a little. Most of us don’t enjoy doing daily chores. As adults, we know they need to be done. We can at least be understanding about not wanting to while still getting the work done.

Do you struggle with kids with bad attitudes about cleaning the house?

For His Glory,
Christin Slade



100 Words of Affirmation Your Son/Daughter Needs to Hear

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These affirmation books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter – along with short, personal stories and examples – that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire.

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