At What Age Do You Expect Your Children to Clean Their Rooms??

Updated on June 30, 2011
M.P. asks from Sarasota, FL
24 answers

Hello Mama's! (and possibly Papa's)!
I have a 6 and 7 yr old - that I expect to clean their rooms.. I do the mopping and moving of furniture and stuff like that but I expect them to make their bed and put their dirty clothes in the hamper and clean up after themselves.. ... ... well, in conversation with other ladies- I was suprised to see that some Mom's (with kids 2yrs or more older than mine) still clean their kids rooms??
** I have and Do clean my kids room but I expect them to pull their own weight- particularly when they throw garbage on their floors and toss their clothes on the floor and toys etc.. I do laundry and they put away their socks (which i pair) and their folded undies and Pj's**
I've noticed that these Mama's also have children who were 'late' (in my book) when it comes to Potty training (mine were both potty trained before 2) and are those kids that still throw temper tantrums wayyy after toddler age..
What age do you ladies(gents) expect the kids to have responsibilities and what are your limits??

((( PS: I am a FT Working mom but I do everything else in the house-- cook, clean and designated driver to sports/dance/birthday parties.. I still beleive in a warm cooked meal at night and more outside play than tv !!
& I don't think the Mom's ages are an issue- actually, Im 30-- the youngest mom and I (guess) the most traditional?? Our parents always gave us responsibilities and kept us busy in sports or dance so we were 'good' kids and didnt really get into trouble...
??? )))

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So What Happened?

First: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all the Mom's who has Positive Comments!!
I am not sure why Mama's are getting Offended or Defensive-- words are words and the way you read them is not how i say them..
To Clarify-- the moms that I know that had children potty trained after 2 year's old are very 'relaxed' when it comes to disciplining and just in comparison to my style-- this is totally a personal observation from my group of women..
I come from a generation of working moms- not like my mom who stayed at home-- so i took her advise when it came to pretty much everything.. potty training, discipline etc.. but she passed away and now certain questions come up (like the one I asked) -- its not a debate over who is the 'perfect mom'- i am far from it but I do my best
I just noticed that times are very different from when I grew up -- and I dont put pressure on my kids.. i treat them like the little people they are. I took them to the potty with me or my (ex) hub did with our son.. . it was not too hard for us thankfully and VERY cost effective vs diapers and pull ups and all that good stuff
Thanks for your insight !!!!

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

My son's 8.
Potty trained at apx 3.5.
ADHD-c kiddo.
I had him when I was 23
Here's his chore list since he was 5 (although he helped a ton previous to that, it wasn't codified).

(Cut and paste... so "my" equals what he's reading on his chart, aka 'his'. I make brunch at 10, but he's expected to make his own breakfast after waking up)


Dishes (B, L, D, & snacks)
Shower & Brush Teeth
Make Bed
Pick up Toys (except 2)
Help with Projects
Help w/ Dinner


Wash My Sheets
Wash & Put Away My Clothes
Clean Room
Pick a chore x 1 (Like mop the floors, yard work, clean up after dog, windex, etc.)

The one thing I've learned parenting is that what is true for MY son in no way translates to OTHER people's children. I can share what my life/ struggles/ victories... but that's all they are. People and families are complex systems, and no two are the same. What works for one may be the worst thing in the world for another. And vice versa. It translates as well to individual kids in the same family. One kid may need x, but another need y. There's no guaranteed "way" to do anything.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sherman on

My kids are 6, 5 and 3 and I expect them to put dirty clothes in hamper, shoes in baskets and clean up their toys. My 6 year old make his own bed and the 5 year old helps me with hers. They also help unload the dishwasher, washer and dryer and fold towels and sort clothes from the dryer. I am 29 and a working at home mom.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

my daughter is 4 and is required to pick up all of her toys and make her bed to the best of her ability (she never gets in trouble if it's not perfect and she likes helping me to straighten it the rest of the way). She's been picking her own toys up since she was 2 and helping me with the bed for the last 6 months or so. (I'm 30 if that makes a difference)

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Detroit on

First, I'm feeling generous here and giving you a warning... The way you're coming off is condesending. Specifically with mom's that work outside the home and don't have kids that are potty trained by age 2... MOST kids are NOT potty trained before the age of 4. You will likely get a nice eyeful of words that aren't so nice... Directed at you.

To answer the initial question... My son is not yet 3. He picks up his toys and will 'help' me do laundry. He'll sit on the dryer and throw any clothes I hand to him into the washing machine, put the soap in (measured by me) and close the lid. He likes to help me wipe the cabinets and tables down in the kitchen too. I give him a clean sponge with just a little bit of water and a dot of Method dish soap and let him have at whatever he wants to wipe down while I do my own thing right next to him.

My daughter is 8. She's expected to clean her room and help straighten up the play room which is in between her room and her brother's room. He helps pick up that stuff too. She'll do the vacuuming in her room and when I'm done folding the laundry, she puts her own away.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

As far as the potty training, to each their own, but I hope you know that nobody is handing out medals. So, if you got yours to go by 2 years old then good for you I suppose. I just hope you're not one of those people that made yourself crazy and stressed out their poor baby over the potty goal.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My 5 year old will clean her room when asked but I do not expect her to keep her room clean, her bed made, etc. I expect her to clean up and straighten up when I ask it of her. I usually have them clean their room before bed so that it stays clean for longer but if it is cleaned during the day I don't get too upset if it is messed up again by dinner. I also do not expect all the toys and clothes to be put back in the right spots. My daughter knows that dirty clothes go in the hamper and toys in the toy box but if a stray sock is found in other parts of the room I don't fret too much. The fact that she is consiously cleaning up and making an effort is good enough for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I was young when I had my kids, too. I also work FT outside the home and carry all the same responsibilities you do. My kids were both potty trained by 3-ish, though for the life of me I cannot understand what bearing you think that has on whether or not a kid should be held responsible for cleaning their rooms...?

My kids are currently 10 & just about 12 years old. They are responsible for numerous chores throughout the inside & outside of the house to include, but not limited to: emptying & reloading the dishwasher, feeding the cat, changing the catbox litter, watering all the outside plants, taking out the trash & recycling, sweeping the downstairs floors, pulling weeds. They do not receive allowance, these are their responsibilities. Their rooms I don't go crazy about because I don't have to live in them. I have them strip their beds so I can wash their sheets, but once cleaned, dried & folded I hand them back so they can make their own beds. I handle all of the laundry in the house, but I do not put clothes away once they've been folded. I pass them out to everyone & what you do with them after that is on you.

IDK, I agree with just about everything you said in your post, but your wording of it really made my hackles rise.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

They moved out without ever learning. :(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

As an elementary school teacher, I appreciate your giving your children responsibility! I do believe that a bit of society wants children to grow up too fast but small bits of responsibility are not to blame for this. It teaches children independence and self confidence as well as responsibility for their actions. It gives children boundaries and structure which they actually crave and feel safe with. Like you, I don't profess to be the perfect mom. I try to rely on what I had as a child and what I can do to help my children be the best people they can be. It is hard though when you come across parents who do everything for their children. I believe that it is not a realistic approach for our children and that they will get to an age where they can't function for themselves and when they can't afford to pay someone to do it for them, it sets them up for failure. Now, before people get defensive, it is true in child development that children do function best with boundaries and structure. That may vary by child. You should also set your expectations to be realistic for the age of the child. I do not think asking your children to make their bed and pick up their room is too much. My children are 5 & 2 and both assist with picking up their bedrooms and the toyroom. Of course my 2 year old needs more assistance from me but she is learning in her own way to take care of her things and that she can be independent.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I just really feel passionate that there are so many parents doing too much for their children and I know that they do it out of love, but it is not helping the children. There are better ways to show your children you love them!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My kids were young when I had them help out. Always more than any other kids, but now they are 11 and 14 and they have clean rooms! The longer you wait, the harder to get them to do it! Great Job! Don't let others' bad choices change your good ones.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

My 4 year old started cleaning up her toys, making her bed at age 3. She us 4 now and really a big help around the house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lake Charles on

My daughter is 2 and she "cleans" her room now. Every day she picks up all her toys, puts them in the toy box and puts her laundry in our dirty laundry basket.. she even throws her diapers away after I change them. Some people may think it's too early but she likes it and it sure makes it easy on me. Plus we're getting her used to it now so we don't have to fight it in 3 years.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have the same expectations, started at about 3 or 4 when they would 'help' me clean their rooms. You would think after a few years it would be less of a battle *sigh*. Oh well, I knew some moms that were worried the kid would do a #2 in kindergarten because the kid wasn't wiping on his own yet!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I have twin 6 year olds. They earn money by doing chores. They "clean" their rooms (usually with help especially with the organizing of where things go). They also help with laundry (sort laundry and put into bins,putting into the washer/dryer, taking out, pairing socks, folding towels and facecloths), cooking (measure things, crack eggs, stir, pour, etc), sweep floors (to the best of their ability), rinse dishes and put into sink, pick up messes they make throughout the day (papers, toys, crayons, etc.). They are not perfect at these tasks and sometimes they "forget" to do them. We feel it's important to teach our children responsibility, the power of earning money for working and the feelings that go along with a job well done. Every child and family is different and have their own views on what is important to them and what they feel their children can and/or should do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I didn't require my daughter to clean her room. The only rule was no food remnants or dirty dishes could stay in there because I did't want them attracting vermin.
She was doing her own laundry at age 12.
She was allowed to keep her room as messy as she wanted, with the caveat that anything that got lost, broken, peed on by the cat, or chewed up by the dog because it wasn't put away would not be replaced out of MY pocket.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I believe kids as early as 5 or 6 can clean their rooms (at this age, maybe give them some help), but by 7 they should be able to do the majority of it (make bed, put toys away, dirty clothes in basket, etc.) themselves. Sometimes my 8 yr old dd fights it, but when she gets it done, she is so proud of herself. She recently asked for more responsibility and some "chores". I told her she could earn an allowance for chores done throughout the week (cleaning her room, helping unload dishwasher, put her folded laundry away, set table). If she does them without complaint she gets the full allowance ($4), but if she fights at all, then I deduct money (.50/fight over a chore). Some weeks she does good, some weeks it doesn't. But I think she is learning from it.
I am also a FT working mom and do all of the housework around the house, driving, volunteering at my kids' schools, etc. Frankly, I just can't do it all. I need help and letting my kids know they are helping me, makes all of us feel good.
I learned from watching my sister with my nieces (who I love to death). She never made them do anything around the house until they were teens. She preferred to be a martyr and do it all herself (in spite of being a single, full time working mom). When they hit their teenage years and she started to ask them to do chores around the house, they were resentful of it and did them very grudgingly, if at all (they were both famous for moldy food bowls under their beds and dirty clothes piles 3 feet high). Now they are in college and when anything goes wrong (fail a class, get a traffic ticket, lose cell phones) they refuse to take any responsibility. It is always someone else's fault. I love them to death, but I think if they had learned some responsibility to take care of some things themselves, then they would not be having these issues now.
I totally agree with you and I think you are teaching your kids great lessons that will take them a long way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My DD turned 5 in April & she cleans her room, playroom, and the living room up if she messes it up. I still do deep cleaning like dusting, vacuuming, & mopping, but I REFUSE to clean up a perfectly capable 5 year old's daily, never ending mess.

Ugh, I can't stand how spoiled kids are nowadays. They are so babied, coddled, and catered to, and these parents wonder why their kids are out of control & disrespectful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We started picking up toys nightly when he was around 2. At first mom and dad did most of the work, but we have been slowly shifting that balance. The reason we started when we did was that it became a safety issue (tripping over toys in the night)
Recently, at almost 5, he has started being expected to put his clothes in the hamper, wrappers in the trash, and dishes on the counter by the sink.
He was almost 3 1/2 before we started having success in the potty training department and 4 before he was completely out of diapers btw.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My son was 3 and doing these chores..he was one that needed to keep busy!!!! I think you are great doing what you are doing..And i think some people just look into your wording a bit son was a late potty trainer and threw extreme tantrums but i didnt at all get offeneded by what you said because i have learned in life sometimes people get pissed when you say the word hell!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Medford on

my kids are 4 and 6. They clean their own rooms. I go in once and a great while and help them re-organize things, but they do the weekly cleaning themselves.

They also put away their own laundry, put their dirty clothes in the hampers, help put dishes away, help cook dinner, clean up toys in the livingroom, etc...I have really good helpers. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

My 5 and 13 year old both did theirs today. My five year old was very creative with the things he set on his bed after he made it. It was very cute how he arranged all of his little pillows along the head board. My 5 year old loves to help with any chores. He sometimes begs me for something to do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

During the preschool/elementary years I cleaned with them, side by side, because I am a neat freak, and I still spent a lot of time in their rooms with them.
Once they hit middle school they were on their own. If they want to live in a messy room so be it, that is THEIR space. They had to start doing their own laundry too. My son is kind of slob, my youngest is cluttered, but clean, and my middle keeps her room pristine.
I still wash their bedding, they make their own beds.
I am still a neat freak, and that is why I keep those bedroom doors closed!



answers from Spokane on

My 3 and almost-5 year olds clean their room that they share in so far as putting their toys away and taking dirty clothes to the hamper. I do the rest.


answers from Washington DC on

my boys are 11 and 9...

They are responsible for making their bed daily...they strip their beds once a week and are responsible for bringing the dirty laundry to the laundry room...if I'm busy doing other stuff - they sort it - between whites, towels/sheets, colors..

I vacuum and mop their rooms - although they know how to both vacuum and mop - they can dust..

They are to hang their towels up after showering...and dirty clothes in the laundry basket...if it doesn't get done - they don't get to play.

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