Babysitting Information Printable

Babysitting Information Printable


On any given day, I’m racing around at about a million miles an hour. (I’m sure you know the feeling.) Couple that with what 4 pregnancies did to my brain and I forget things.

Lots of things, in fact.

Which is especially annoying when I’m five minutes into a movie at the theater and I suddenly remember 3 things I forgot to tell the babysitter. So I have to be that person. The one texting in the middle of a movie and then constantly looking at her phone to see if the babysitter has responded.

As moms running from one thing to the next, it’s really hard to always remember to tell the babysitter everything.

And even when we feel like we remember to give all special instructions, we may return to find that the babysitter didn’t live up to unspoken common sense expectations.

Download free babysitting information printable #printable #parenting

Download free babysitting information printable #printable #parenting


Whether we’re at work or out with our husbands, knowing our babysitters have all the information they need allows us peace of mind when we are away from our kids.

It also gives the babysitter a helpful guide for when they encounter both the expected and unexpected in caring for your kids.

So I made this for moms to be able to fill out, laminate and stick in the diaper bag or on the fridge and have all the key information readily available for your babysitter. Whether you’re gone for an hour or all day, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve given the sitter all the information needed.

Ways to use this printable:

  • Fill out and laminate
  • Laminate and then fill out with a dry-erase marker
  • Put one in your diaper bag and on your fridge

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter below (which are full of helpful tips and resources for overwhelmed moms) and get your free babysitting information printable straight to your inbox! No spam and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Hope you like it!


Our 7 Favorite Funny Children’s Books

Our 7 Favorite Funny Children’s Books

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


I’ve always loved funny children’s books. Even as a teen, when I’d be on babysitting jobs, I’d love to peruse each family’s book collection and find funny books to read the kids (that’s how I discovered #2).

I’ve certainly grown to appreciate children’s books that have a good message or teach important principles. But when it comes to bonding with my kids, I’m all about funny children’s books. There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as snuggling up with my 4 little girls and giggling together as we read hysterical stories.

I also find that comical reads tend to smooth out crabby attitudes that can crop up near bedtime. Funny children’s books are our secret weapon for turning foul moods around and sharing sweet moments with our kids.

Here are our favorites:


As promised, this book really has no pictures. And it is absolutely hilarious. When we read it, my kids do the throw-the-head-back-can’t-breathe laugh. We are literally rolling around the floors.

It basically gets you, the reader, to say all sorts of silly things. Written by an actual comedy writer (B.J. Novak of The Office), it’s basically genius. It’s probably our favorite book right now.

Here’s a video of him reading it to a group of very delighted kids.


With stories like Cinderumpelstiltskin (my personal favorite) and Little Red Running Shorts, this book is a spoof on classic fairy tales and even traditional book design. It’s insanely clever and leaves me and my kids in uncontrolable fits of laughter.

You basically have Jack the Narrator trying to literally hold the book together while random fairy tale characters try and pop in where they’re not supposed to be destroying not only the storyline, but the book itself.

No matter how many times I read it, I can’t get through a page of this book without cracking up completely. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy.


This is a delightful book in which a farmer is stuck negotiating with his cows who’ve begun typing out their demands after finding his old typewriter. This classic is both clever and entertaining and keeps us giggling when it’s chosen as the bedtime book.

Bond with your kids over these 7 funny children's books #funnychildrensbook #bestbooksforkids #parenting


Last year, my oldest came home from kindergarten and started to tell me about this book her teacher read in which a pigeon was trying to convince the readers to let him drive a bus. With her crazy-good memory, she started reciting the book nearly word-for-word as we walked home from school.

I couldn’t stop laughing. Was this book for reals?

Oh yes it was. We went to the library and checked out all the Pigeon books we could find and read them til we were sore from laughing. They’re completely ingenious. I ended up buying a little set for the kids for Christmas.


By the same author as #2, this one is another unconventional and hilarious take on a classic fairy tale. It follows the Frog Prince AFTER he and the princess are married and he finds himself discontent with their “happily ever after.” He goes on a quest to find a witch to turn him back into a frog.

It’s both hilarious and heartwarming and the illustrations are a crack-up.  

6) PIG THE WINNER by Aaron Blabey

This book is our favorite of the many very funny Pig the Pug book collection. Pig is a very selfish and greedy dog who is forced to learn a lesson in each book. In this one, he learns hard lessons about not cheating. The story is delightful, and the illustrations are fabulously funny.


Not only is this one funny, it also has a wonderful message about being yourself and not bending to fickle societal pressures.

Thelma is a squat little pony who wants to be a unicorn, and thanks to a freak accident with a truck carrying pink paint and glitter, she is thrilled when she ends up looking like one. Through a delightful rhyming text and fantastically funny illustrations, she comes to realize that she’d just rather be herself.

funny children's books


Well, there you have it: our favorite funny children’s books to delight and entertain. Snuggling up with your kids and laughing together as you read hilarious children’s books is the perfect way to bond with your kids.

And as I’ve found, it’s a great way to get tired crabby kids in good spirits at bedtime. So hit up your local library and see for yourselves how fun these 7 books are.


4 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Calm Themselves Down

4 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Calm Themselves Down

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


Trying to calm an upset child can feel like trying to wrangle a tiger while doing a headstand. At least it was that for me.

When one of my little girls gets upset, she gets UPSET. I mean, it’s really intense. Somehow, all of the angst of a tortured poet have been crammed into a tiny 5-year old body.

She sobs. She screams. The veins in her neck bulge like she’s trying to lift a car. And her whole body shakes as she tries to contain the intensity of all that she feels.

Everyone knows that you can’t reason with someone when they are completely out of their mind (though we try anyways). So my natural, motherly response was to try and help her calm down.

So what would I do? Two things:

  1. Instruct her to “calm down” (which is about as effective as telling her to start speaking Greek)
  2. Try and get her to breathe deeply (to which she would promptly respond by hyperventilating)

Yeah, they didn’t work.

But you knew that.

However, I knew that if I could get her her to breathe deeply then she could start to calm and reason.

Filling her lungs with air would send oxygen to her brain making it function better so she could start to think more clearly.

Basically, it would take her out of her fight-or-flight mode and help her to start reasoning.

4 ways to calm an upset child #parenting

4 ways to calm an upset child #parenting

Deep breathing is miraculous.

It’s literally how I get through days of raising 4 small kids while balancing work (and the countless other stresses moms face) without completely losing my mind.

Seriously, I owe my sanity to deep breathing (and funny online videos).

So I just knew that if I could figure out how to teach her to take deep cleansing breaths, we could have less raging and more “Kumbaya” in our house.

But I was at a complete loss. Trying to get her to breathe deeply by modeling and coaching her only made her more upset until she would basically hyperventilate.

I needed a kid-specific approach to teaching deep breathing. 

Which is why I was beyond thrilled when I learned these 4 strategies in a Conscious Discipline parenting class (seriously, check out this book). It was like the heavens opened and angels were singing. They were just what I was looking for.

And they made all the difference.

No more hyperventilating. Fewer and shorter meltdowns. More control. It’s been awesome. I’ve taught all my older kids.

But here’s why I especially love these strategies to calm an upset child:

These give kids the tools to self-regulate and handle difficult situations.

So whether they are at a friend’s house or at school, they have the tools they need to calm themselves when they are feeling ALL the feelings.

While I describe them all below, it’s easier to see how they’re done. So I wrangled my older 3 girls and we made a video (below). Mind you, they were soooo over the idea of making a video by the time I actually got them into one place.

And clearly, they dress themselves (one less battle to deal with).


This is my favorite.

I actually made one of the college classes I teach do this. It was nearing final week and everyone was stressed out of their minds. After I had the class do balloon breathing (with a few eye-rolls) one student exclaimed “I actually do feel a lot better!”.

What you do:

Link fingers above your head and take a few repeated breaths in to fill your lungs, while raising your arms (filling the balloon). Then drop your hands and breathe out mimicking a deflating balloon.


This is another fun one for kids. It mimics a faucet of running water.

What you do: With straight arms in front of you, and hands clenched in a fist, you tighten up everything. Then you “turn the faucet” and release all the tension as you slowly float your arms down (like water coming down) and do a long shhhhhh breath out.


This one can be a tad tricky, but being tricky it engages the brain and helps it to calm down. Incidentally, it’s also useful for calming your mind when you are lying awake at night with your thoughts racing.

What you do: With arms twisted, crossed, and palms together, you wrap your arms in to a pretzel. You then cross your legs. Sounds complicated right? Better watch the video 🙂

4) BE A S.T.A.R.

Okay, I’m actually pretty sure this one is actually my favorite. Because I use it all the time. When my 2 year old chucks the plate of food I just made her at my head (because she can’t eat ice cream for dinner), this is what keeps me from losing it. Before I respond, I first…

  • Stop
  • Take a deep breath
  • And
  • Relax

And then I can deal with the situation without turning in The Hulk.

While it works great for moms, it’s also a helpful strategy for kids! You can remind your kids to be a STAR.


Remember, big emotions don’t have to spiral into an entire household of frustration. Instead of trying to simply calm an upset child, we can give them the tools to calm themselves down when they’re upset.

Our kids are capable of handling difficult things. And these strategies are the perfect ways to do just that. So that even when we aren’t with them, they can handle the big emotions that come with being a kid.

You’ve got this, mama!





The Simple Phrase That Will End Whining & Get Kids Excited to Help

The Simple Phrase That Will End Whining & Get Kids Excited to Help

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


I know what you’re thinking: there is no magical phrase that will end whining.

And I get it.

When all 4 of my kids are screaming, there’s a puddle of pee on my floor, and my house looks like news footage after a tornado, it certainly doesn’t feel like any magical phrase is going to save me.

(Unless, of course, that phrase is “here’s a million dollars and a half-gallon of Breyer’s Mint Chocolate ice cream”.)

So it’s with a distinct understanding of the difficulties of motherhood that I claim to have a phrase that will change your life and transform your home.

It will end whining and actually get yours kids excited to help out. 

I know, because that’s what happened in our home.

My kids can destroy my house in way that defy physics. After dosing n the couch for a few minutes to a tidy room, I’ll awake to a house that looks like it’s been ransacked by burglars.

And the second I would try to get my two oldest (ransacking burglars aged 6 and 5) to help out it would be as though I’d just asked them to saw off their own arms.

Or suddenly their bodies would cease to function entirely. In an instant, they would go from happily playing to lying spread eagle on the floor whimpering and exclaiming that they were simply too tired to put away a toy or hang up a backpack.

End whining and get kids excited to help out #parenting #whining

End whining and get kids excited to help out #parenting #whining

So much whining.

Frustrated, I would just clean it all myself. Which just of course reinforced to my children that enough theatrics and whining will force mom to clean everything anyways.

But then I learned a simple phrase in our incredible Conscious Discipline parenting class (summarized in this AMAZING book). Now, my girls actively look for way to help each other and me.

It was a miracle, pure and simple. You want the magic?

Yeah, you do.


Here’s what you say depending on their actions:

You       (what they did )    , so    (how it helped/impact)   . That was so helpful!

This phrase points out what they did, how it’s been helpful, and it let’s them know that they have made a positive contribution to your home.

For example:

  • You gave your sister a hug after she got hurt so that she would feel better. That was so helpful!”
  • “You brought your dishes to the sink, so mama could wash it. That was so helpful!”
  • “You followed directions without complaining, so we finished quickly and everyone is happy. That was so helpful!”
  • “You put away your toys, so that no one trips on them. Plus, it’s made the room look so nice. That was so helpful!

Simple, right? But it is seriously a game-changer. Here’s why:


  • Shows the child that you are noticing the good they do. It makes them feel good, which makes them want to get noticed more for helpful behavior.
  • Builds self-esteem. This points out the impact of their actions. So they can see the positive impact that they can have on the people and things around them. They see that they can make a big difference.
  • Shows kids they get much more desirable attention for helping than for whining. Kids crave attention and praise. This gives them both while teaching them to be helpful.


  • It gets you noticing good behavior, instead of focusing on bad. 
  • You’ll have waaaaay less whining in your home. 

As stressed out moms, we often notice our children’s poor behavior and while completely missing the good that they do. After all, bad behavior is often more effective at getting our attention! You may not notice your children playing nicely together, but the minute conflict arises…

“Don’t bite your sister!”

“Stop hitting!”

“We do not use those words! TIME OUT!!!”

But pointing out poor behavior doesn’t usually result in children suddenly turning into angels. At least not in my experience.

End whining and get kids excited to help out #parenting #whining

When it comes to your child’s behavior, what you notice, you get more of.

Notice the bad, get more of it. Notice the good, and your child will work hard to get recognized for the good they are doing.

Think about how you’d react if your husband came home and the first words out of his mouth were critical about the state of the house? All while completely ignoring that you managed to keep everyone alive and put some dinner on the table (we all know this is sometimes a major feat).

Pointing out deficiencies while ignoring the positive doesn’t exactly inspire good feelings. On the other hand, we are encouraged when we hear what we are doing RIGHT.

Kids are the same way.

Keeping your eyes peeled for helpful behavior and then pointing it out to your child will result in your child looking for ways to be helpful.

While you will probably notice an immediate change, long-lasting results will come with consistently using the phrase. Which means consistently noticing good behavior and helping your child see the impact of their actions.


You can teach kids to help others by noticing when they are helpful. Try this phrase out and see what happens in your family. In noticing the good your children do, you will empower them.

You will inspire your kids to look for ways to be helpful, raise their self esteem and make them aware of how they contribute.

You’ve got this, mama!


11 Steps to End Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

11 Steps to End Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


Mealtime in our house used to mean nobody was happy. There were a lot of tears, bribes, whining, begging, and finally threats. It was an intense battle of wills where my husband and I fought (and usually lost) the battle to get our children to eat the healthy and delicious food that I’d prepared.

Simply trying to get those kids to eat anything other than breads and crackers was like trying to convince them to skip Halloween and Christmas this year. They’d look at chicken and sautéd vegetables as thoughI’d presented them with a plate of slimy slithering eels.

It was maddening.

And it seemed like my efforts to get them to eat (e.g. “no dessert until you finish” or “5 more bites”) only seemed to keep the food battles raging.

So I started reading everything that I could and trying stuff out on my kids.

Turns out, all that conventional wisdom (“you have to clear your plate before you leave the table!”) is entirely unhelpful for creating kids with healthy eating habits.

After some great books (this one was my absolute favorite), I found a much better way to tackle the meal-time troubles. As I eliminated the struggle and conflict from our meals, my kids automatically started to be more exploratory with foods and developed healthier habits.

But I’m not alone in my struggles to try to end picky eating.


As many as 50% or kids, at least for a period of time, fall into the category of “picky eater”. As a parent, this is incredibly frustrating. You’re going to great pains in trying to nourish your offspring and instill healthy eating habits while your child wants to just eat fishy crackers and Doritos.

But you can create a healthy home and instill healthy eating habits–even in your pickiest eaters.

Here are 12 tips to help you do just that.

End picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits #pickyeater #parenting


Chances are, you were forced to eat something as a kid. How’d that work out? Did you end up loving it and thanking your parents for helping you see the light?

Probably not.

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with mealtime and the food you are forcing them to eat. Instead of trying to end picky eating, you’re just making it worse.

But taking all the fight, forcing, and negotiating out of your meals will make your child more comfortable and secure. They won’t put up their guard as they approach the dinner table, waiting for a fight. And they’ll feel in control since they have a choice in what they eat.

When they’re more comfortable and feel in control they are more likely to eat the foods you offer.

But I know it’s so hard. When your kid is refusing to eat anything but Skittles, your first inclination is to dig in and win the battle (at least for me). Problem is the more you battle, the more your child resists. Resisting and refusing is how your child exerts control.

Which is why they start refusing foods they used to like!

This was especially true with my second daughter. Even mentioning that I was making dinner, she would start pouting and exclaiming that she didn’t like what I was making. Never mind that she had NO IDEA what I was making!

But because we battled and negotiated our way through meals in order to get healthy foods in her body, the mention of dinner geared her up for a fight.

When we changed our strategy (thanks to this amazing book that I highly recommend, It’s Not About the Broccoli), we stopped all forcing and negotiating. Instead, we provided lots of healthy food options and let her pick. At first, she ate a lot of rice. But with the pressure gone, over time my ultra-picky daughter began trying new things.

Ironically, her diet has improved immensely by turning the power over to her.

And miracle of miracles, she tries most everything we give her.


Making a separate meal for your child–while it may keep the peace at dinner time–only ensures that picky and limited eating will continue.

When one of my kids outright refuse everything (rare), they are always welcome to have any raw vegetables, nuts or seeds, and sometime fruit. But no separate meal.

This is not only a HUGE timesaver for me, but it encourages kids to  develop proper eating habits.

If you want to end picky eating, be sure to provide a few choices in the meal you prepare and make sure at least one item is something your child will eat.


Nothing will sabotage any new parenting endeavor then being undermined by the other parent. However, I’ve found that this is usually because I didn’t fully inform my husband of the new strategy I was trying.

Sit down with your partner and determine what kinds of foods you want to be eating and your plan of action. What are the meal time rules going to be? Sending mixed messages to your kids will just communicate that you aren’t serious.


Ask your child what you should make. At the grocery store, have them help you pick out foods. Kids love picking out produce and putting it in bags.

Then, have them help you in the kitchen preparing the meal.

This was really helpful in our house. Involving my pickiest eater in the cooking process has not only been fun and a sweet bonding experience, but she’s now much more likely to eat something she helped prepare it.

end picky eating


Children are much more likely to do what you do and not what you say. Our children are walking testaments to our actions, not our words. This applies to how we eat as well.

I’ve also found that if I am eating anything around my kids, they will want to try some. From salads to smoothies packed with kale, if I’m eating and enjoying something, my kids want a piece of the action. And I’ve been really surprised by what my children will not only try, but end up really liking.

In the last couple years, I’ve been a pretty consistent salad eater and my 2 youngest would always want bites. As a result, these kids aged 3 and 20 months love salad. They’ll happily munch on mouthfuls of kale, quinoa, and carrots (something I though was impossible).


If there aren’t unhealthy options littering your kitchen and pantry, then your child will have little else to beg for in place of the meal they’ve been presented.

For example, I never have juice or soda around the house and I only buy dense whole grain bread. They think white bread is candy. So all sandwiches or toast is made with heavy fiber and nutrient-packed bread. I try to keep all snack foods they healthiest options available.


Making mealtime fun is will go a long way in having your associate healthy eating with positive emotions. If mealtimes are a always a battle, everyone is trained to get frustrated at dinner time!

Get your kids to help out, experiment with fun dips and sauces, and switch it up (like breakfast for dinner).


This just teaches kids that healthy food is bad, but must be suffered through to get to the true reward: dessert. If dessert is the reward, then dessert is always the goal–not healthy eating habits.

I’ll admit that I tried this…a lot. And the result was that my children would constantly try and negotiate “how many bites” until they earned dessert. It wasn’t about eating until fullness. It was all about the dessert.

If your goal is to help your children enjoy healthy eating, bribing with dessert will not get you there.

We eliminated dessert entirely for a while just to avoid any temptation to have dessert as a reward.


I have found time and again that of I have 2-3 things I know my kids like at a meal and a third or fourth thing that they will try for the 1st time, they are much more likely to try the new thing than if I just try and give then a plate of full of new and strange food.


First off, if you want to get kids to eat healthy foods you have to offer it to them. A lot. Kid have to be exposed more than 10 times to a food before they may like it. That means the more your expose them, the faster they can develop a taste for these foods.

Secondly, if you are constantly offering fruits and veggies to your children it will help eliminate that urge to force them to eat vegetables at dinner because they haven’t eaten a plat all day. Knowing that they’ve had bites of healthy foods during the day can put your mind at ease and keep the food battle far from your house.


Children’s brains are pattern seeking. If the pattern is that you enforce something new for a day or two and then forget about it, they pick that up quickly. But if you maintain consistency with your expectations and practices, they will pick that up and develop healthy eating habits.

For most people, healthy eating habits aren’t just going to manifest overnight. But through consistently encouraging healthy eating through these steps you can help your children try new foods, enjoy healthy eating, and create habits that will serve them for life.

end picky eating

You can create a home of healthy eaters. No matter how picky they are right now.

If you’re looking for additional reading, I highly recommend It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids For a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. It completely changed how my children eat. No more food battles and a lot of healthy eating.

You’ve got this, mama!


7 Steps to Teaching a Child to Clean Their Own Bedroom

7 Steps to Teaching a Child to Clean Their Own Bedroom

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Steps to Teaching a Child to Clean Their Own Bedrooms

Let’s face it: sometimes you feel more like “the maid” than “the mom”. And while you want your kids to pick up after themselves, it feels pretty overwhelming on days when you are just trying to keep everyone alive.

You’re tired and pressed for time so it’s faster to do it all yourself as opposed to fight the inevitable battles that come with getting kids to clean up.

But teaching a child to clean up doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming.

By taking some simple steps now to teach your children to clean their own room, you can teach responsibility and save yourself loads of time and energy.

Teaching a Child to Clean: Start young

If a child can play with toys and make a mess, a child is capable of learning to clean up.

Children are amazing little sponges. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly my 4 kids learn things.

Their brains are incredible at picking up patterns and following them. If you teach them that you will always clean up their messes, they’ll learn that quickly. But if you teach them that you will always clean up, they’ll happily comply.

7 Steps Teaching Kids to Clean Their Bedrooms

7 Steps Teaching Kids to Clean Their Bedrooms #parenting #momhacks #teachkidstoclean




1) Organize child’s room so that it’s easy for your child to clean up.

Before you really dig into teaching your child to clean their room, you want to make sure it’s organized properly. Take a good long look at your child’s bedroom and ask yourself:

  • Does everything have a clear place?
  • Is it easily accessible?
  • Is the organization uncomplicated?
  • How can I change the room to make it easier for my child to clean?

Organize your room so that it’s easy for your child to know where everything goes and it’s easy to put everything away.

Taping images on boxes, bins, and drawers can be extremely helpful in teaching kids where everything goes. I do this with my kid’s drawers and it has been a game-changer.

To say my girls love clothes is a major understatement. Without exaggeration, it’s perfectly normal for any one of my 3 older kids to change their clothes anywhere from 5-10 times a day on any given day.

So plies of clothes on the floor has been a formidable issue for us from the moment these girls started dressing themselves.

A few years ago, I saw the daily deluge of clothes on the bedroom floor on the floor that made me snap. Something needed to change NOW.

So I got some 3 x 5 notecards, drew pictures of the clothing items that go in each drawer, and taped them on each of my children’s drawers.

It was nothing short of miraculous what happened.

With a little bit of direction (and telling them that any clothes found on the floor will become mine…) my clothes-loving girls actually started to put everything away in the correct place.

Picture labels make all the difference.

If you don’t feel like drawing, I created a free printable of both boy and girl clothes drawer labels (you can download the labels by scrolling to the bottom of this post).

Teaching a child to clean their bedroom

2) Clean along side your child, giving very specific instructions with lots of encouragement and praise.

Children are very visual and physical learners. Not only do we need to tell them what to do, we need to show them and lovingly guide them. While you model the correct behavior, explain to your child what you are doing and invite them to help giving very specific instructions.


  • “Can you put the OBJECT in this PLACE? You did it! That was so helpful!”
  • “This is where we put the OBJECTS. Can you put that right in here? You are such a great helper. I love it!”

Remember, praise goes a long way to creating helpful kids.

Teaching a child to clean their bedroom

3) Set a routine for when you clean

Children crave routines that they can expect and predict. This is certainly true when teaching a child to clean.

If you are consistent in your cleaning routine, not only will your children respond better, but, knowing that clean up is imminent, they will begin to clean before you ask them.

Making it a routine they can expect will reduce the battles.

Since every home runs differently, this will look different for everyone. For some, it may be that you clean a room up completely before you leave it. 

For us, the evenings seem to be the most effective time to clean.

As part of their bedtime wind-down routine, the girls know that they are expected to have their room clean in order to get a story and a song every night (and they’d sooner cut off their own toe than miss the story and song).

As it’s become more routine for them, they have become quick and efficient little cleaners. Hallelujah!

4) Keep it positive and encouraging

The quickest way to sabotage a child’s attitude and the mood in your home is to be moody and negative. Be it potty training, school work, or what have you, when we start to get irritated and snarky with our kids, they will respond the same way or with tears.

Always give encouragement and praise for their efforts when teaching a child to clean. Praise and positivity go a really long way in helping to motivate a child. Helping them see how helpful they are and that what they do makes a difference will completely change their behavior.

A phrase we use (from parenting expert Dr. Becky Bailey) that has brought about miraculous attitude and behavior changes is:

“You (what your child did), so (the results). That was so helpful!”


  • “You cleaned up all your clothes so you can find them. That was so helpful!”
  • “You put all your toys away so we won’t trip on them and your room can look nice. That was so helpful!”

I know it’s not always easy to stay positive when you are tired and overworked and the house is messy. But staying positive with kids yields magical results.

When I am super positive and complimentary, my 4 and 5 year old can turn a messy bedroom into a pristine haven in no time at all. 

5) Have consequences for failure to clean up

Natural consequences are best. Other than losing their story and a song at night, another strategy has also been very effective.

We put toys that have not been picked up when they were supposed to be picked up in “toy jail”. These items go in a big clear plastic container that lives in a high shelf in my closet and my kids have to do various chores to earn their toys back.

teaching a child to clean their bedroom

6) As they learn, give them more responsibility

As your child becomes more and more capable, it can be easy to just enjoy the new help and leave it at that. But it’s important to keep your child growing and becoming more independent.

You can increase their responsibility by giving less specific directions and even adding tasks to their cleaning routines. 

To begin, you may have to give lots of specific direction. But as they learn the process, you can move from “Put that toy right here” to “Put all the toys away” or “Clean this room.” 

Once they get cleaning their room independently, find other cleaning task for them.

For us, this has meant gradually learning to clean most areas of the house and helping with the laundry and in the kitchen. The same principles above apply to any cleaning job!

7) Be consistent, Be consistent, Be consistent

I know it’s not easy. Mom life is super hard. We have moments where we can’t care about much more than keeping our kids alive, let alone having children who clean up after themselves. I’ve been there. 

But if we are not consistent in our efforts and expectations, children will pick up that this is not important and not something they need to learn.

On the other hand, being consistent teaches our children that these expectations and responsibilities are here to stay and will be enforced.

Children’s brains are amazing at picking up patterns. If the pattern is that you won’t stay consistent, they will not comply. If the pattern is that they need to keep their room clean, they will! Stay strong, mama!

The struggle is worth it

I’m not going to lie, teaching my kids to clean up after themselves has been a struggle at times. Sometimes they have fought me vigorously and tested whether I will be consistent. But the struggle to teach a child to clean is worth it.  

These days, my kids are now amazing at cleaning up their rooms. And the excitement and sense of pride they have when they show me their immaculate room absolutely makes my heart sing.

You’ve got this. Good luck, mamas!