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Mom Insists That Parents Should 'Expect Ourselves' To Clean Up Kids' Messes — 'It's About Mutual Respect'

Photo: TikTok, Instagram
Sarah TikToker and mom to two

Most parenting experts will tell you that once your kids are in elementary school they should be capable of independently cleaning their rooms, however, the struggle of actually getting them to can be a real challenge.

Typically the problem doesn’t lie in whether or not they’re capable, but more in the fact that they would rather be doing something else — like using electronics or messaging a friend. 

One mom to a 3 and 6-year-old revealed a gentle parenting method she uses to help model cleaning expectations for her kids. She claims “It’s about mutual respect”

The woman revealed that seeing what our kids can do doesn’t mean we can expect them to do those things every time

Sarah, a TikToker dedicated to “helping moms find the magic in the mess of parenting,” revealed in a video how she uses a hands-on method to teach her kids the value of keeping their environment clean.

She starts the video by asking “Why do we expect our kids to help us clean up the house when they have a mess and we don’t help them clean it up?”

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She claims that “if we expect and encourage our kids to clean when we’re cleaning, we should also expect ourselves to help them clean their messes.”

It makes sense to help your kids, and giving your kids a hand while they’re cleaning can also motivate them to help you clean without having to ask. Sarah also reveals that just because her kids know how to clean up on their own, they might not always be in the headspace to tackle the task alone.

“My kids are 6 and 3 and they don’t need help cleaning every single time,” she says. “When they’re playing with magnet tiles and they’re done, they know to clean it back up. But sometimes it’s a struggle to get them to clean. And in those times, I avail myself to them.”

A simple “Hey it looks like you’re struggling cleaning right now, do you need help?” can make all the difference. Then, you can come up with a game plan together and delegate who’s cleaning what.

“Sometimes our kids get older and we see what they can do. We expect them to do those things all of the time. And we don’t realize that like us, they may be having a hard moment, or they may be having a tough time with something,” she says. “So of course I can take 5 minutes out of my day to help them clean.”

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Sarah’s video allowed parents to realize that their kids may need help sometimes too.

“I’m sending this to my husband”, one commenter wrote. “Our son is 4 and I keep reminding  him that just b/c we’ve seen him do it before doesn’t mean he can do it every time.”

“Kinda a duh moment when I hear it from your perspective. My [daughter] loves helping us clean (mop, vacuum, etc) but not so much toys. I’ll help her more,” writes a second user.

“That’s a good point,” chimes in a third. “I hired someone to help me with our house. It makes sense to help my kids.”

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Maddie Haley is a writer for YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers pop culture and celebrity news.