The 4 Steps to Teach Your Child How to Clean

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As a parent in today’s fast-paced world, are you tempted to do all the cleaning around the home rather than taking the time out to teach the children how to clean? I know I was, yet I feel that in the long run, we aren’t doing our children any favours.

How many children become adults, move out and live in an unclean and disordered space because they have no idea how to clean and tidy? Their starting income certainly doesn’t have room for a house cleaner in the budget. 

It is easy to say, “Go clean your room!” or give them a list of what to do, but how can they know HOW it is done until we show them how?

So, how do we teach them? 

At teacher’s college, I was given the following as a basic guide for teaching anything:

1. Tell them WHAT they’re going to learn and WHY it is important. 

2. Show them HOW it’s done as you talk it through. 

3. Let them do it while you talk them through. 

4. Let them do it as they talk it through. 

Any initial feedback needs a lot of praise for what was done correctly. Use the “sandwich method” – sandwich any negative feedback between two positives. The negative is best  worded gently, for example, “Perhaps if you scrub a little harder it will help get it cleaner quicker so that you can go and play sooner.” It becomes more of a suggestion than a “you have done wrong” or a “you have to”.

It may also help to jointly write a list of steps so that there is something to refer to next time. 

Patience is the key! It takes time to learn something, especially for kids who are still growing physically and mentally. 

Be satisfied if you are seeing that they are trying their best. Remember that perfection is a myth, as what is considered “perfect” for one is not for another.

Most importantly, try to have some fun with it! Brainstorm with the kids to come up with a suitable fun reward for a job well done. 


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