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Cleaning Games: How To Get Your Lazy Child To Clean Up

Last updated on November 15th, 2017
Cleaning Games: How To Get Your Lazy Child To Clean Up

Cleaning Games For Lazy Kids (Ages 3-8)

My kid is lazy, I’ll admit it.

She hates cleaning up with ever fiber of her being. We will “fight” for HOURS about picking up one little thing. And after the 467th time of asking her to put something away, I tend to blow up. (Can you blame me?)

Here’s the problem; my child is stubborn and hard headed, hates cleaning AND she is just like me. (I can’t wait for the teenage years, the fun we are going to have!)

Unfortunately, I was not gifted with the “clean” gene, neither was my significant other.

Our house isn’t a wasteland of rotting sewage, but it isn’t Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs clean either.

It’s a little ironic I am not all “clean-your-face-off” because my Grandmother and Mother have the cleanest freaking houses you’ve ever seen.

That’s where I grew up, so you’d think I would have picked it up. Didn’t happen. I was hoping that Jade would be gifted this magic gene, yeah no. It seems to have skipped our mess-machine of a 5-year-old too.

When we have company I am the person running around like a manic throwing stuff in drawers, shoving blankets in the closet and I may or may not still hide things under my bed.

All EXCELLENT examples of how to keep your house clean for a young impressionable child.

The Struggle is REAL & FRUSTRATING


If your kid is anything like mine you’ve spent HOURS begging, pleading, bribing, yelling, taking-away, time-outing and NOTHING phases them.

One day it took Jade, 3 hours to finish cleaning up one table of play-doh. Sound familiar?

At one point, it was easier and less frustrating for me to just clean the crap up. hen one day while I was in the middle of picking up a mound of

That didn’t last very long, one day while I was in the middle of picking up a mound of shopkins, grumbling to myself. I thought fork (My alt to the F word) this! I am not a maid or the servant. I couldn’t pee for 6 weeks after she was born without being in excruciating pain. She could clean up her own crap.

That’s when I sat down and decided I needed a plan and scribbled down a handful of ideas which resulted in our cleaning games.

When you sit down and make your own cleaning games remember this:

Kids LOVE Competition Just As Much As Adults. Stop Yelling. Start Competing!

Cleaning Games

  1. Timer Race: Set your phone timer for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the mess and encourage your child(ren) to beat the timer.
  2. Mom Race: Race your child to see who can get a chore done faster. Example: You unload/load the dishwasher and have your child(ren) gather all their laundry. Whoever finishes first wins! Or do the timer race with your child and both of you get as much done as possible before the timer goes off.
  3. Musical Clean-a-thon: Race to beat the music. Similar to freeze dance have your child clean as much as they can before the music stops.

Cleaning Games Rewards

I am a firm believer in bribery rewards for children, 8 and under. It makes it more exciting and encourages continued participation.

  1. Invest 97 cents in a plastic gold medal. Keep it in a drawer and whenever your child completes their cleaning game they get to wear it.
  2.  Setup a “treasure box” with different little items from the Dollar Tree works great as a reward system.
  3. Make a cleaning games “score” chart. Every time they win for the day have them put a sticker on it and when they reach “X” amount of stickers they get a special surprise.

I am not going to lie and say that playing cleaning games works all the time. My kid is still lazy, stubborn and a big pain in my… but, 90% of the time we can have a tear free (her end), no fighting cleanup competition and it’s great.

Jade has even started cleaning up her own mess, without me instructing her to.  She looks so proud and happy because she knows I am going to be happy. I make this a HUGE deal, lots of praise and jumping up and down etc.

Maybe there is hope for her after all.. maybe she can find her clean gene.

Is your child stubborn about cleaning up? Do you have a technique that works in your house? I’d love to hear about it, ya know it never hurts to have a plan B!

Cleaning Games For Lazy Kids (Ages 3-8). Learn how to motivate your child to clean up, reduce stress and frustration by making cleaning fun with these games. Messy kids, lazy kids, kids cleaning, get kids to clean up the fun way!

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. While my almost 10-year old is a little too old for these, I completely related to everything you said and love your sense of humor! It’s as if I was reading my own thoughts. Ha ha! My daughter isn’t very strong-willed and argumentative. I’m terrified of the impending day her hormones kick in…and even more so, the day I begin menopause (older mom). Oh, what fun that will be!! Lord, help us!

  2. Such a timely post! My 4 year old is the worst at cleaning up and his 2 year old sister is following in his footsteps, so I need all the help I can get in this area! Sometimes we do a dance party while we clean and that works well! Love these suggestions for games, too!

    1. The dance party is a great idea! My kiddo loves music. I can not wait until her sister is older and then I will be having them race each other. A clean off lol

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