It’s never too early to start teaching your children how to clean up after themselves.  Even though they may not be able to clean as effectively as an adult, toddlers can still learn to pick up their toys.  Teaching them to take responsibility for their messes at an early age won’t just help you out, but it will also teach them valuable life lessons.

Encouraging a child to believe it’s ok to throw their belongings all over the place doesn’t benefit them. It’s vital that when they receive a toy, that they know how to treasure and take care of it.  

Here are some of the best tips for getting your toddler to help out cleaning up their infamous messes.

Turn It Into a Race

Sometimes all kids need is turning a task into a game.  Try to encourage them by racing them against the clock. Setting a timer can be a fun way to challenge them!

They’ll try to go as fast as they can while you stand by and encourage them.  This method can be especially useful if you have multiple kids. They can race each other and have a bit of healthy competition.


Younger kids love to sort shapes and colors.  One way that you can encourage them to contribute to cleaning the mess is to ask them to sort for you.

Have them sort everything from specific categories into piles.  Then you take each pile and put it away. This isn’t just educational, but it’s a great bonding activity.

Offer Rewards

Kids love to feel recognized for their efforts. Your family may want to consider coming up with a reward system.  Each time that they clean up a mess, you can give them a sticker on their reward chart.  

The incentive may vary from family to family.  Some families may opt for smaller prizes several times a week, while others prefer one big reward at the end of the month.  It’s up to your personal preferences.

Praise Them

When a child hears their parent tell them how good of a job they’re doing, it’s encouraging.  They will be more likely to continue cleaning if they hear you cheering them on.

Saying thank you and giving them compliments on their work is the best way to get them motivated to clean.  

Lead By Example

If you have a very messy home which is rarely organized, then it’s no wonder why they may imitate your behavior.  For your children to clean up after themselves, they need a positive example.

Try to show them that you clean up after you make a mess.  They’ll grow up knowing that it’s essential to clean up after themselves.