r/NoStupidQuestions Jan 20 '22

Is it a good idea to always clean up after your kids? Unanswered

Every clean person I know had their parent always cleaning up after them when they were growing up. Would clean their rooms and kept the house clean. Does this teach a kid through experiencing a clean environment all throughout their lives by the time they're adults they can't stand to see dirtiness?

(I'm messy, grew up in a house that would get messy then cleaned. Was always ordered to clean kitchen, bedroom, bathroom etc. from time to time. Then the cycle would repeat.)

Please share your thoughts.



u/SoMuchForLongevity Jan 20 '22

When your kids are young, you clean up after them. There's no choice.

Once your kids get old enough to clean up after themselves, you'll want to gradually transition to teaching them to keep their own spaces clean.


u/Maranne_ Jan 20 '22

This is the way. My mom gradually made us do more but she'd always make sure everything would be clean, even if we didn't do a great job.


u/The_reading_owl Jan 20 '22

Cleaning is one of life's basic skills. How to scrub a bathtub or an oven, do laundry, sweep a floor, clean a carpet.... These are simply things that an adult should know how to do. Teaching once children these basics at an appropriate age, is just part of the parents' "job".


u/smallangryandpink Jan 20 '22 Helpful

It depends on the age of the kids I think, if they're old enough to help, I would start with them helping, just putting some things away while you do the most. Then gradually getting them to do more. Have a time set for cleaning each week or so. I wouldn't order them to clean things.

I hated cleaning my room when asked, but sometimes I'd just like to sort things out, so it depends.


u/yubi_azknfrt Jan 21 '22

My older brother is 5 years older than I am and we are a fairly competitive family. When I was 5 years old my Mom and older brother used to have a "race." She would write chores down in little pieces of paper and stick them in a basket. They said..."empty dishwasher" or "empty wastebaskets" and so on. I seemed to have ALWAYS won.

My Mom thought outside the box by making me believe I won a chore game without realizing it at the time. I finally caught on lol but kept doing it since it helped her.

Point is:

It was fun. I practiced my reading. I cooperated with my dickhead brother for a change. I learned to enjoy, early on, the benefits of having a clean area. Showed me what responsibility looks like well before it was expected of me.


u/professoryaffle72 Jan 20 '22

Depends on their age. When they are young, clean up after them.

As they grow older, get them involved. Taking plates to the kitchen, clearing up toys together and gradually increase the ratio where they do more as they get older.

Life is so much easier when you keep everything tidy. Letting it build-up and leaving it till later is a recipe for misery.


u/anon_y_mousey Jan 20 '22

For me cleaning was a punishment (literally, my mum would find excuses that I did something wrong and I needed to be punished) now I hate cleaning and prefer to pay someone to do it...


u/FightThaFight Jan 20 '22

The first and easiest step is to teach your kids to make their bed every morning. When you model this behavior, set expectations and do it consistently over time kids learn how to be neat.

Now I have teenagers that help tidy and clean up their friends houses but when they’re home they still leave dishes everywhere, never make their beds and leave crap all over their floor.


u/Musakuu Jan 20 '22

Sorry can't make my bed. Too busy pushing this rock up a hill and having it roll back down.


u/doowgad1 Jan 20 '22

My sister and I were taught that it was our job to keep the whole house clean. If you clean up for the kid, they'll never learn.


u/the_lusankya Jan 20 '22

TBH, I don't like that method. It feels too overbearing, and doesn't reach the kids how to clean.

I started teaching my daughter how to wipe up her own messes once she could walk. And I try to encourage her to help with tidying her own toys.

Now she's 2.5, and some of her favourite activities including scrubbing the patio and "doing the dishes". It wasn't my plan, but whatever. I'm not complaining.


u/Sclavinae Jan 20 '22

I grew up in a clean home, yet I don't really bother with whether it's clean or not. Basically I would keep things clean if it affects others, but if it's only for me then I would probably skip it or bother less.


u/gidev Jan 20 '22

It's not a good idea to have kids in the first place.


u/refugefirstmate Jan 20 '22

No. It teaches children that somebody will always be there to clean up after them, and that it's OK to leave a mess for others to deal with.

What you do is teach children to clean up after themselves. You make a mess? Before you do anything else, you clean up that mess, so that (a) nobody else has to deal with it and (b) you can enjoy a pleasant living space.

You also give children household responsibilities so that they know how much work it is to clean up others' messes, and to get them into the habit of regular cleaning as a matter of course.

Source: Raising 3 grandchildren. Eldest (11) cleans the kitchen after meals, middle (9) does the laundry, youngest (6) takes care of the floors. They are all responsible for their own rooms besides.


u/The_Yogurtcloset Jan 20 '22

I think it has more to do with the experience of cleaning. Is cleaning being used as a punishment? Is the child overwhelmed by cleaning? Are they ridiculed for doing it wrong? Is their effort recognized?

If they are always cleaned up after they won’t learn to clean their own messes and treat it like someone else’s problem. However I think it’s also important to help them with cleaning sometimes even if they’re old enough. If they never receive help this might also create a negative experience of cleaning.

For me cleaning sometimes had a reward afterwards such as a play date or a dollar. This created a positive relationship of cleaning however I’ve always been overwhelmed by cleaning, this wasn’t really a result of anything just is what it is. I was not offered help when I asked because then I am undeserving of the reward. My parents didn’t really understand why it was so hard for me to clean and assumed I was lazy. The combination of feeling undeserving misunderstood and fruitless effort turned it back into a negative experience.


u/Oghmatus Jan 21 '22

I would definitely make my children to clean up after them. Basically, it depends on their age. If they are under 3 years old, then of course you have to clean up after them because they are unconscious. However, when they start to acquire some consciousness, then you should explain them that they have to clean up after them on their own. Nevertheless, everything depends on your approach to upbringing and how you see it. Some parents might clean up after their kids until they get into puberty and it's okay, but such kids as a rule can't be independent when they grow up. So, here you have to be pretty attentive I guess.