kids cleaning up the kitchen by washing dishes

When and How to Get Your Kids Cleaning

Blog written by Better Life.

As a parent, there's nothing more fulfilling and joyful than watching your children have fun. At a young age, kids have incredible imaginations that make for entertaining play. The only downside to the fairytale adventures and thought-up heroics is the mess that they inevitably leave behind.

Kids are messy - it's part of their charm. Still, there's no reason for a parent to bear the burden of cleaning up alone. Whether you're taking care of a playtime mess or simply completing regular household chores, your child can have a role in the good, clean fun. 

Better Life exists to provide top-quality cleaning products fit for your family. Between fun and child-friendly products like our floor care kit and the tips and tricks below, we hope to help you make memories without the mess. 

toddler helping with laundry with his parents

At what age should a child clean up after themselves? 

As parents, it can be hard to start seeing your little children as capable of cleaning up after themselves. When the first few years of their lives are filled with wiping messy mouths and changing diapers, imagining your child as a diligent cleaner may seem impossible. Still, while it may not be as exciting a milestone as the "first word" or "first steps," the day when your child becomes independently hygienic and self-motivated in cleaning is extremely exciting, for many reasons. Not only does it take some burden off of your plate, but it demonstrates an understanding of a life skill that's important socially and for health reasons! 

In general, if your child is old enough to pull toys out by themselves, they're likely old enough to help put them away. In a similar vein, if they're running, dancing, and jumping, they're ready to put that same energy and coordination into helping to wipe down counters, dust, or scrub floors. 

kids cleaning up the kitchen by cleaning the kitchen counter after dinner

Why is it important for children to participate in household cleaning? 

Life can get busy. After a long day at work, it may seem a lot easier to quickly take care of chores yourself, rather than argue with your child and have to carefully walk them through a new task. However, taking the time to create cleaning habits and entrust your child with household duties will pay off in the long run. For a myriad of reasons, encouraging your child to participate in household tidying early will make their - and your - future brighter. 

Establish Expectations for School and Outside-of-the-Home Social Situations

You're likely all-too aware of the fact that kids grow up - and fast! When your child leaves their nursery behind, they'll encounter new challenges and social situations that will require them to know how to clean up. In daycare, summer camp, or elementary school, your child will likely be expected to clean up after their play- and meal-times, as well as contribute to an overall healthy environment. 

By making cleanliness and helpfulness an expectation at home, your child will be able to more easily adjust to these new expectations in unfamiliar environments. These first independent forays into school spaces are also a great time to have your child pick out their own hand sanitizer or lotion, giving them a sense of independence and a way to keep feeling fresh on the go. 

Form Healthy Habits for Later in Life

The time you spend now teaching your child your favorite household tricks - and the moments of whining you endure - will pay off in the future. Research has found that children who take on household responsibilities early in life have higher levels of adult success. Getting in the habit of tidying up and taking pride in one's personal surroundings helps children to conquer challenges and be better adjusted. 

And, let's face it - children encounter a stunning amount of germs in their day-to-day life. Encouraging cleanliness habits is not just important from a mental standpoint for your child. A child who knows to regularly wash their hands, wipe down eating areas, and keep play areas safe and clean will be able to spend more time having fun, and a lot less time sick or hurt. 

Relieve Family Stress and Grow Closer Through Side-by-Side Work

When playtime comes to an end, it may seem unbelievable that being the bearer of the "time to pick up" news could bring you closer to your child. While it's true that there may be some complaining for your child initially, it's important to a few universal truths about kids: 

  • They love feeling grown up
  • They're curious
  • They love you!

Framing clean-up time as an opportunity to take on a "grown-up" responsibility may add some appeal for your child. Every new mess will also serve as a new chance to learn something new and help out the parents that (at least deep down) they adore. 

On the grown-up side, let's face it: what task isn't more fun with a tiny assistant at your side? 

kids cleaning up the living by sweeping with her dad

What household chores can a child help with? 

It can often feel like our household to-do lists are never ending. While you may know what needs to get done, the question remains: what is suitable for a child to help with? You would be surprised by how capable your children are around the house once they gain a little motivation. Here are some simple tasks to consider trying: 

  • Wiping down tech screens. Kids are huge fans of phones, iPads, and televisions... as evidenced by the fingerprints they tend to leave behind. Fortunately, tech's glass is easy to clean. Instruct your children on how to do a quick spritz of glass cleaner, and wipe it down with a rag!
  • Readying produce for dinner. Your child may not be ready to cook on a stovetop, but they can certainly help wash fresh fruits and vegetables for dinner or their lunch bags! Produce wash makes food ready for eating, and helps get kids interested in what they're putting in their bodies.
  • Putting their toys away. It's indisputable that toys are a lot more fun when they're out and in use. However, playrooms and nurseries can quickly get out of control when childhood favorites aren't replaced in their proper homes. Consider establishing a rule such as, "before a new toy comes out, one must be put away." 

Even if your child is not yet old enough to take on concrete tasks, be sure to engage them in the cleaning process! Explain what you're doing - and the importance of it - to give your child an introduction to the process. 

kids cleaning up the living room with their dad by vacuuming

What are strategies for engaging kids in cleaning? 

Cleaning can be fun - seriously! The same imaginations that make children prone to messes also make them experts at finding joy in little tasks. Simple steps like adding music or introducing a competition aspect to your cleaning can help your child become more on board. 

Most of all, you'll want an arsenal of cleaning supplies and tips from the experts who get it. Check out Better Life's products for more household hacks, or our blogs for further tips on making cleaning day a bit more bearable!

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