Do you struggle with figuring out how to get kids to clean up their toys? Does it seem like it’s almost impossible to teach your kids how to clean up after themselves? Have you decided that it’s just easier for you to pick up everything yourself instead of battling with your kids about cleaning up?
Getting kids to build a habit of picking up after themselves is tough! It’s something we’ve struggled with in our family, and to be honest, the adults in the family usually end up doing a lot of the clean up.
But now that our children are a little older (they’re 7), we decided that it was time for them to start pitching in more. They actually really like to feel like they’re being helpful around the house, and we have been working on ways to give them more responsibilities.
One tool that’s worked for us is a Family Helper Jar. I’d seen similar ideas on Pinterest and other blogs, and I did something similar with my middle school students years ago, but we did our own take on it to make it work for our family.
Here’s How the Family Helper Jar Works
Whenever the kids do something to help out the family, they can earn a pom-pom to put in the jar.
Once the jar is full, the kids earn the opportunity to do something fun.
Our kids decided that they want to go play laser tag once their jar is full. I thought they would choose to go out to eat at a restaurant, so I was pleasantly surprised when they picked something active!
What Can Kids Do to Fill the Jar?
The first thing I have them do is clean up their playroom area because that’s the room in the house that’s always the messiest.
They have a checklist they can use, and for each task they complete, they get a pom-pom to put in their jar. Here’s what I have our kids do:
Playroom Clean-Up Checklist Tasks
- Throw away all trash.
- Put away everything on the floor.
- Put furniture/big toys back in the right place.
- If there’s anything in the playroom that doesn’t belong, bring it back to where it does belong.
- Straighten shelves/bins.
- Wipe up any messes.
The kids can also come up with ideas on how to help out on their own after they’ve done the tasks we’ve given them for the day.
We usually approve any of their ideas as long as they are truly helpful. Plus, I want them to get to their reward as soon as possible – I love playing laser tag too! 😉
How to Make Your Own Family Helper Jar
- Jar or container. Preferably something clear so the kids can see their progress. The one I used is a plastic container I bought at the Dollar Tree.
- Pom-poms. You can get these at craft stores, Wal-Mart, or the Dollar Tree. Make sure you buy enough to fill your jar or container.
- Label. I made the label for our jar, and you can download it for free in the Organizing Printables Library. I printed mine on labels that I had on hand that measure 2×4 inches, but you could just print the label on regular paper and tape it to your jar. Here’s the labels I used.
There’s also downloadable printable of the Playroom Clean-Up Checklist in the Organizing Printables Library if you’d like to use it. There’s also a blank one you can use to fill in your own tasks if you prefer.
Using the Family Helper Jar
We’ve only been using the Family Helper Jar for a few days, but so far, it’s been really effective.
We’ll see if it’s still effective a few months from now once the new-ness of it wears off.
But for now, I’m happy that it’s helping us teach our kids how to clean up toys in the playroom, and it’s showing them that what they do around the house contributes to our family.
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