Clean up, clean up, every body let’s clean up!

Me: Time to clean up! Him: Oh, but I’m so tired….

Everyone knows its not an easy task to get toddlers to clean up after themselves. At the earlier stage of toddlerhood they might comply because they think its fun, but once they get to the age where they can articulate themselves and have figured out that there are more fun things to do than cleaning up (o2r maybe that even if they don’t do it, someone else will), they can come up with the most annoying excuses, such as “Cleaning up is boring”!

Boys decide they want to play even more, after I ask them to clean up.

Pint-sized cleaning apparatus from ELC and Daiso? Check. Withholding treat to get them to clean up? Check. Trying to make cleaning up fun by making it into a competition or something? Check. Chore chart? As we Hokkeins say, tan gu gu. It just takes forever to get them to clean up, and I’d be lucky if they don’t create more of a mess in the meantime. Is it because they’re boys? Or do I just have lazy boys?

I’m also conscious of the boys being too reliant on the helper, so I try to make them to pitch in whenever possible, even if many times it’s what we call, 也帮也忙. It’s interesting that by age 3 they already realise that they can do less when there’s kaka to help them, although it’s heartening to see them helping out whenever there isn’t a kaka around.

1-2 hours later, there has been some, but little progress….

If you’re looking for some resources on getting toddlers involved in chores, here’s a blog post on 5 Ways to Get Your Child Excited about Chores by Confessions of a Homeschooler, with a few downloadable resources on the page.

What are some of your tips for getting kids to help out?


3 thoughts on “Clean up, clean up, every body let’s clean up!

  1. I am helpless at getting my daughter to clean up either and hence my place is a mess, although the teachers tell me that at school she is really good with cleaning up and helps the moment they play the cleaning up song. Are the boys too old for the clean up song? Or whatever their school does to get them to clean up?


    1. I think that (unfortunately) kids are different in different situations, so in school when ALL the other kids are doing it, they’re likely to follow, and maybe they also think that it’s fun. But at home they can be totally nuah about it. Same as some kids who are perfectly able to feed themselves during mealtime in childcare but at home seem to lose all ability to! 😉


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