Real Moms Talk: How I Got My Kids to Help in the Kitchen

Real Moms Talk: How I Got My Kids to Help in the Kitchen

Real moms’ tips on getting the family to help with the big cleanup!


If getting dinner on the table some days is tough, it’s nothing compared with the clean-up operation that takes place afterwards – food on the floor, dirty dishes left in the sink. But a clean and tidy kitchen can be yours and, despite their protestations, there are ways to persuade your children to get in on the act, too, as these moms show.

“We have three children, aged 11, nine and two, so there’s a bit of an age gap,” says Stephanie Ruyant, 42, who lives in Languedoc in the south of France. “Because Celeste copies everything the older two do, I’m able to impress upon them the importance of setting a good example. Pretty much every mealtime now Hugo and Marie-Claire clear their own plates before helping Celeste with hers. Every night they do it they get a sticker on their star chart, and if they have five stars by Saturday, they each get to choose a small treat. So a bit of healthy competition works, as does the fact that the role of ‘teacher’ is one the older two have both embraced – especially the middle one, who definitely likes to be in charge!”

Laura Kendrick, 38 and from the UK, completely agrees with Stephanie’s outlook. “I think it’s just good parenting to expect children to help and certainly it does kids no favors if their parents do everything for them,” she says. “My daughter is seven and more than capable of both laying the table for dinner and helping clear up afterwards. I link her chores to weekend activities – if she’s helpful, we can go trampolining or horse riding, but if she’s not, she misses out. Learning about cause and effect works.”

It was when Roberta Allegra, 39, from Puglia in Italy, saw her son’s emerging talent for baking that she took the opportunity to teach him about ‘cooking clean’. “I love to cook and Luka, who’s 10, has always spent time in the kitchen with me,” she says. “He loves baking but I was getting really fed up with the mess. So I told him – unless you clean up after yourself, no more cakes. Now he cleans up as he goes – he gets the Fairy Platinum (link to a specific product page) out to wash up the food mixer and big bowls in the sink and stacks the dishwasher with the smaller items. He even sweeps the floor! My friends can’t believe it.”

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Sheanne Meyer, 40, who lives in Cape Town in South Africa, is on Roberta’s wavelength – she used her daughter’s passion for a pet to encourage her to help clean and tidy-up the kitchen after meals. “Elle is nearly five and desperate for a pet rabbit but I won’t get her one until I see proof that she’s responsible enough to keep its cage clean,” says Sheanne. “I think having responsibility for a pet is great for kids’ development, so I’ve told her that if she can help me load the dishwasher after dinner each night for a whole school term, it’s a great way to prove to me that she can be responsible for something long term. We’re six weeks in and so far it’s working really well.” 

How have you encouraged your kids to help you clean-up? Share your tips with us here.

Visit Fairy (link to Fairy BLP) for more tips and advice on getting dishes clean.

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