Eight ways to teach your kids to clean at any age

Every parent has likely faced the challenge (or is still facing) of keeping the family home clean amid disruption, disorganisation and overall messy children. However, Simone Tsigolis believes maintaining a clean and organised home—and encouraging the kids to help out—can be a simple undertaking.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, instilling a sense of responsibility in kids is essential. Teaching your child to clean up after themselves helps maintain a tidy household and builds good habits they can take into adulthood. However, implementing that mindset takes time and can be challenging when kids aren’t eager to tidy up.

Breaking down tasks into easy steps can empower children to take on those cleaning tasks.

Using visuals is a great way to teach children, at any age, to clean and take care of shared and individual living spaces.

Here are some simple and achievable tips to incorporate as visuals into your family’s cleaning efforts.


  1. Cleaning Charts. Design a vibrant cleaning chart displayed in a prominent location, such as on a refrigerator door or a wall in the lounge room. Use illustrations or symbols to correspond to each household task. For example, an image of a bin to signify taking out the garbage or a sponge for wiping surfaces and cleaning dishes. I’ve even printed out a flowchart for my kids to follow on how to wash themselves properly in the shower and stuck it to the glass. It’s been a hit!
  2. Before and After Photos. Capture before and after photos of a messy area that your child is responsible for cleaning. Position the photos side by side to showcase the amazing transformation achieved through their hard work. This visual comparison serves as a powerful motivator.
  3. Task Cards. Create task cards that feature colourful images and step-by-step instructions for various cleaning tasks. For instance, a task card for washing clothes could include sequential images demonstrating how to sort clothes, load the washing machine, and hang items to dry.
  4. Colour-Coded Cleaning Supplies. Implement a colour-coded system for cleaning supplies to help your child easily identify which products to use for specific tasks or rooms. Assign distinct colours for different purposes, like blue for glass cleaning, green for surfaces, and yellow for floors. Always opt for non-toxic products when children are handling chemicals
  5. Reward System. Create a sticker chart as a visual reward system for your child’s cleaning tasks. Each completed chore earns a sticker, and when they reach their target, they’re rewarded with extra screen time, a treat or pocket money.
  6. Demonstration Videos. Introduce your child to videos or animations showcasing proper cleaning techniques for different areas of the house. Online platforms such as YouTube (eg Teaching Kids to Clean Bathrooms) offer numerous child-friendly cleaning videos that transform learning into an engaging and enjoyable experience. YouTube is your best friend!
  7. Create a Cleaning Kit. Assemble a toxin-free cleaning kit, neatly organised in a colourful basket, containing all the cleaning supplies your child needs. Label each item with pictures or words for easy identification and correct use of each product. I also have assembled a cleaning kit that my kids can use to go and clean the car— they simply take the Dyson cordless vacuum, and they are on a mission (plus, they stay entertained for… 10 minutes).
  8. Weekly Cleaning Schedule. Design a weekly cleaning schedule detailing specific tasks for each day of the week. Utilise a visual calendar adorned with colourful stickers or icons to mark completed tasks and track progress. For different aged children, I know they might need different tasks – my 9-year-old son can now unpack the dishwasher, and that’s been a game-changer to my mental load!

Simone Tsigolis is the Founder and CEO of Jetlag Remedy, a growing leader offering premier, value-added housekeeping and cleaning services to create more mental freedom for busy Australians. Simone saw a gap in the market for caring, passionate cleaners who would walk in and get the job done.