Getting Kids Cleaning

Okay, we’ve all been there with kids who don’t want to clean, regardless of their age. We all get tired of yelling one too many times for a child or multiple children to clean their room. Below are some of the tips that I have found that work for my family:

Start Young:

Regardless of age, kids usually like to help their parents and that includes with the chores around the house. I make it a point to let all of my children know that while there are some things they can’t do (no my 3-year-old may not load the dishwasher) there are things we really need their help with (reaching in small spots, wiping walls). Everyone can do something.

All of my children have their own dust pan and sweeper labeled in marker with their names – this way when we do the floor, the five of them can get it done real fast by competing to see who can get the most (more on that in a second). Also, when my now 1st grader was a toddler, we assigned her a job no one seemed to like – vacuuming the stairs – but we made it easy for her to do and fun by buying her a handheld vacuum cleaner that was only for her, pictured below.

By getting her this, she was able to sit on the stairs and go step by step, manageable enough for her, and she loved that the vacuum was only for her.

Age Expectations 

Not all children are going to be able to do the things listed by age, some of it depends on ability, but the list below gives a general idea of what kids can work on. 

This isn’t my list, but one that seems to keep floating around the Internet. I try to keep my children within their age range on this chart, though if they ask to try something for an older age range, I am not opposed to it, especially if they are working with an older sibling. We have had some experiences where working outside the age range did not work, so just use your best judgement and know you can tweak things as you go (obviously kids are always growing and learning new things).


I believe in rewarding my children with money for completing chores. Not everyone is going to agree with this philosophy but it works for my family and I feel it serves a couple of purposes. 

1). It puts the control of earning money in the hands of children. If they want to earn money for something, they need to do chores. 2). It teaches them how to manage money – saving, spending, and donating – not to mention it teaches them the difference between the types of money.

I use an app on my phone (pictured below) that lets my pay them. If they want money when they go to the store, I require that they have money before we get to the store. I don’t do IOU’s.

How do you get your kids to clean? Do you pay kids for cleaning?


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