Our kids can be a huge source of leverage and leverage to help us to keep our house clean.

OK, you can stop laughing now. Laughing

Often we assume that they know what to do. Unfortunately that is often not the case.

Kids don't see things the way that we do.

They don't have the experience or the same interest.

They want to come home from school, kick back, maybe see their friends and take care of their homework.

Housework isn't a main priority for them.

But if you can lay out some structure for them, their household chores will be a lot easier and much more likely done to your liking.


  • Create a checklist for them. This can be a invaluable tool both to help to keep them organized and on the straight and narrow and to keep them accountable and to help you figure their allowance.
  • Create a housework manual for them. Outline what you expect them to in detail when they clean the bathroom for instance. Do you want them to clean the sink, wipe the counters, declutter, clean the tub? If so, create a page with a list of these items and write beside it how often each week you would like them to do it.
  • Go deeper. You can go into even greater detail by making a 'How To' section. Do you like them to use a certain cleaner, tools or method to clean the sink? Write it down for them. It may sound like over kill but often we are just not on the same page. Cleaning the sink to them may mean giving it a quick wipe with a used facecloth. If you prefer a deeper clean, outline what you want them to use such as baking soda or an environmentally friendly abrasive cleaner and a cleaning sponge.
  • Make a cleaning caddy. This really helps them to know what tools to use and also makes it much faster and easier to clean. You can label the bottles and tools as well to make it 'clean by number'.
  • Create a regular cleaning time so that they can get in the habit of doing their clean up at the same time. This really helps to make sure it gets done.
  • Create a rule – clean up must be done before tv or outings. Otherwise it's easy for it to get pushed aside. An exception to this rule can be if the regular cleaning time is a little later in the day. As long as it is a priority and gets done, this rule can be bent.
  • Put a timer in the caddy. Tell them to set it for 5 minutes in each area and go as fast as they can. If they are on a regular schedule their cleaning time will be more effective and take less time. They will probably like it once they get on to it.
  • Encourage them to declutter as they go. It's a good idea to get them to run things by you first, otherwise you may find some of your own favourites missing (been there, done that!), but make it a family rule to get rid of things regularly. Empty spaces are much easier to clean than cleaning around things.  
  • Clean with them. Depending on the age of your kids you can clean right along with them or do yours as well at the same time. I find cleaning with them at almost any age helps to keep them moving and also makes for some great family time, believe it or not. 
  • Let them in on the process. Let them help you to create their plan. What works for them? What chores do they like or want to do? Do they have any decorating or organizing ideas? This makes it so much easier to get cooperation and just makes it so much more enjoyable for them. And they feel like part of the family, part of a functioning unit rather than an R2D2. They get a better feel for the process, the reason and the outcome. And it will go a long way to helping them to plan and keep a clean house when they are out on their own – maybe with kids of their own. 
  • BONUS TOP TIP: This one comes from my daughter. Be generous with the positive feedback. (Apparently she had no idea that they were doing such a good job. The conversation went something like… Me: "You guys are doing a really good job. Daughter: "Well you could have told us that!" Go figure.) Another quick tip… It never hurts to ask and always keep communications open. It goes a long way to keep anyone motivated, including kids, and can also help prevent mutiny on the high seas – or in your kitchen.

The weekend is coming, the perfect time to give it a try.

Need a hand?

Grab the BOOST Housework Circuit to make it easier.

Use the private forum that comes with it for hints and tips on making the BOOST Circuit work.

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Exasperated? Just send them there. 

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About the Author

Jan Ferrante

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  1. Yes! I love these tips. It’s so important to make cleaning a fun and rewarding experience for kids. I my preschool class we made little flannel dusting mittens that fit the kids hands. The LOVED dusting day! Thanks for encouraging young people to take pride in their homes.

  2. Hi Shelley, that’s such a great idea! I would like one of those too! You’ve hit on a great point too – thinking long picture especially – taking pride in our surroundings, for young and old, is a huge step towards keeping things the way we’d like. If you have that, the rest comes so much easier!

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