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Cliché as it may be, spring really does inspire many of us to spruce up our properties and have a fresh start to the year. For parents this can sometimes be more difficult. It’s common to find yourself trapped between coercing reluctant children into doing a frankly lacklustre job or simply giving up and doing it yourself. So is there a way to get a little bit of help, encourage your child to take some responsibility for their own space and belongings AND avoid World War 3? These 5 tips could help you to create a clean and most importantly harmonious home.
 

Bribery
 

Let’s start with the most effective method of persuading most people to do what you want, bribery. As adults, we all like to feel justly rewarded for a job well done, and the same goes for children. I’ve jokingly referred to that here as bribery, but call it pocket money, a reward or even a salary, it all amounts to the same thing. 
 

Link days out and treats to the great work the kids have done keeping their bedrooms tidy and putting toys neatly away. They’ll soon come to realise that this kind of behaviour means you’re far more likely to say yes to a day at the seaside. Especially when you haven’t had to spend 3 hours extracting Lego from your vacuum cleaner.
 

Music
 

Music never fails to motivate me to do something I don’t want to do. Be it a gruelling work out at the gym (rarely) or scrubbing the dishes (the occasional thing that won’t fit in the dishwasher) singing along to my favourite song makes it feel that little bit more pleasant. Kids are motivated by music too. And if you start them young enough on your favourite tunes, you won’t have to endure the wheels on the bus 14 times back to back either.
 

Got a favourite cleaning song your kids love to rock out to? Tell us in the comments.
 

Timing
 

Set aside a time of the week to get cleaning jobs done. Try to choose a time when your children are less likely to be tired, and therefore less likely to tantrum. And most importantly stick to it. If you always have ‘Friday Tidy’ then, like brushing their teeth, kids will know it’s an inescapable habit and just get it done. 
 

Using a timing device can also help making cleaning feel more like a game. Set a 30 minute timer for you all to race against and see who can get the most accomplished before time runs out.
 

Choice
 

Kids love to feel like they have a part in choosing what happens in the world around them. Simple things like letting them choose whether to dust or dry up dishes, use the pink squirty cleaner or the green, fold socks or put away will help them to stay engaged in the process.
 

Garden
 

If all else fails, most kids will still enjoy the opportunity to get muddy. Gardening is a great chore for kids because it gets something really productive done, is great physical exercise in the fresh air and doesn’t feel like too much of task. 
 

Just make sure your budding Alan Titchmarsh’s are digging up weeds and not your prized petunias. 

The message really is that anything that makes a job more fun will motivate kids to stay engaged. It’s a trick that successful teachers have used for decades and you can incorporate into your daily routines.

Top tip: Keep it consistent, set a weekly goal and stick to it until it becomes a habit for all the family.


I’m off to do the hoovering to Barry Manilow – don’t judge, and do tell us what gets you and your family together to make your home look tip top in the comments.

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