Encouraging Your Kids to Clean – With Games and Check-off Lists

Amy WallsEleven year old Amy Walls loves to clean, much to the delight of her mother, Janice, who usually doesn’t have to ask her to help out around the house—Amy volunteers to do it!

“Cleaning puts me in my happy place for some reason,” says Amy. “I feel such satisfaction when I walk into my room and it’s all clean and tidy.”

Amy enjoys doing it all: laundry, vacuuming, and dishes. Her favourite tasks are straightening up the shoes and loading/ unloading the dishwasher. “I like them because they are quicker tasks where I can see the results faster, and then get on to the next thing that has to be done.”

Having difficulty getting your kids to help out around the house? Amy suggests that parents turn cleaning into a game. Her younger sister Alexis often needs more encouragement to clean her room so they’ve developed a few games of their own. “One thing we do at home is play What’s Missing. Mom takes a picture of a messy corner of our rooms and tells us to remove 10 items and put them back where they belong. Then when we’re finished we call her back in and she looks at the corner and compares it to the photo and tries to guess what is missing. For every item she misses we get five cents.”

Another game they play to get Alexis to put her clothes in the laundry basket is to have her pick up the clothing items with pink on them, or the ones that have characters like Minions.

Encouraging Your Kids to CleanAmy has also come to realize that she works better with a detailed list where she can check off tasks when they are completed. “Sometimes if Mom asked me to clean the living room or the kitchen I wouldn’t know where to start and I’d get overwhelmed with everything there was to do. I asked her to make me a list but she didn’t quite understand what I wanted so I made my own. Every week I was writing up a new list so mom typed it up and printed out copies for me.”

Her list breaks down the cleaning duties for each room into smaller tasks. For example, her bedroom list is: pick up clothes off the floor, make bed, clean off the dresser, put away laundry, and “clean so I can see my floor.”

Amy adds that she only cleans on weekdays, mostly Friday after school, and never on the weekends. “Weekends are for relaxing,” she says.

For a printable copy of Amy’s cleaning list click here!

Amy Walls will be going into grade 7 in the fall at Blackville High School. In addition to cleaning she also enjoys reading, making crafts, going for walks and playing with her dog Blackberry and her cat Professor Whiskers.


Leave a Comment