DIY Home Maintenance & Repair GimmieBlog

How to Get Kids to Help Clean House

Wondering How to Get Kids to Help Clean House? My Teen Boys Cleaned My House Twice a Week. Here’s How I Did It. The secret is NOT paying allowance!

How to Get Kids to Clean House

Image licensed from

Get Kids to Help Clean House

Wondering How to Get Kids to Help Clean House?  My Teen Boys Cleaned My House Twice a Week.  Here’s How I Did It. The secret is NOT paying allowance!  Here’s what worked for me:

  • Make a list. Kids will do better if they understand exactly what’s expected of them. We made a list and agreed with the boys about what was required for them to do each week.  Our list was reasonable stuff.  We weren’t looking to turn anyone into Cinderella, we just wanted them to help out.  Our list was divided in half because we had two boys.  Each did their half for each “spot check,” then swapped for the next.  After a while, they tailored the list so that some of the things were always theirs.  They found things they didn’t mind doing and things they didn’t like doing, and bargained with their brother to make their chores more fun.
  • Make it matter and be ready to follow through.  Our boys didn’t get allowance if they did chores.  They got privileges.  And, they knew darn well they were privileges…that could be easily taken away. Things like a cell phone (when they got older).  Things like being allowed to play in extracurricular sports.  These are privileges.  Believe me, when I suggested that my younger stepson not be allowed to play football, neither him nor his dad were on-board with the idea (he was a superstar, and was elected MVP his senior year in a class of over 1,000 kids!)  But this was important and I didn’t back down.  There’s one thing parents have to realize.  Choose your battles wisely (in other words, don’t be a stickler about everything, just the really important stuff).  But, when it’s important… YOU CAN NOT LOSE.  When it’s small stuff, don’t be ridiculous. But when it’s big, it’s vital to your kids development that you teach them.  It’s hard!  Nobody wants to be a “mean” parent who takes away something awesome.  But, your kids will never learn the difference, and won’t appreciate what they have unless you teach them.  I’m happy to report my stepson never lost his privilege of playing football because he did the right thing.  I didn’t budge.  At one point he was VERY close, and I was the least popular person in our house!  But, years later he would tell you that he learned a valuable lesson from it!!
  • Spot Check.  That’s what we called the twice-weekly event where we’d check to see they did their chores.  If you don’t check, you won’t know they did their chores. Don’t make it about “you don’t trust me to do it?” Make it about rewarding them for doing a good job by acknowledging it.  Make it fun. Give it value by giving it your time. Don’t skip spot check!

These are just suggestions, of course.  They worked well for my boys starting at about age 15 and 16, and all through high school.  I believe kids younger than this could also benefit from a similar plan.  I won’t tell you my boys are neat freaks now, because they’re boys.  lol!  But, it’s more than just cleaning a house.  It’s about making it their home.  Have them participate in keeping it nice, and they’ll take some ownership in it.  You might be surprised! 🙂

Related article: DIY Homemade Laundry Soap, Homemade Stain Remover & Homemade Fabric Softener