Children love to play and have fun. For many parents, play time is a crucial part of young kids’ life. However, when the time comes for cleaning up the mess and putting toys on their place, it is a different story. Nevertheless, it is extremely important for your child to learn to clean up the mess they have made themselves. This helps them develop sense of responsibility. Incorporating household chores into their routine early on instills valuable life skills they’ll use throughout their life. Children have to learn to pick up the things on their own while they are young so that they know they cannot count on mom or dad at all times. Luckily, cleaning up doesn’t have to be an awful task. Here are steps that will make the clean-up fun for your kids
Why do we clean?
Small children probably do not know the purpose of cleaning up. They do know that it is something that has to be done. Introducing them to simple tasks around the house, like picking up dirty clothes or helping with dishes, can be a good start. Explain them why we clean up. Tell them that someone can trip and hurt themselves if we leave the toys on the bathroom floor, or toys can get lost and it will not be fun next time we want to play. Toys can get broken as well. Another example could be spilled juice on the kitchen floor, which if not cleaned, can attract ants. It is important to make a connection your child can relate to in order to comprehend what you are saying, and why.
Give clear instructions
If you just say to your kid to clean up, he/she will not know where to start or what to do. They will become overwhelmed by the mess. Many adults forget that kids often need guidance with chores, as they are still learning how to complete tasks efficiently. Instead, create small tasks which will make the cleaning process easier for the kid. Ask them to put away dolls first, and then to move the books, put the pillows on bed, etc. Older children might even be responsible for feeding the family pet or folding their clothes. They are new to cleaning and this strategy will help them see that this mess is made of few tasks that will eventually lead to a tidy room.
Label storage departments
Teach your child to put the toys back on the proper place. They should learn to use bins and drawers accordingly. You can place picture label of specific items on each department. Involving them in the labeling process can also make it a family affair, turning the chore into a fun activity. You can write the name of the item under the picture. This concept is great for pre-readers as they will memorize letters and words easier. After your child learns where to put each toy, the cleaning for children will go much smoother. It’s essential to cultivate good habits in young children so they carry personal responsibility as they grow.
Don’t clean after they do it
Why is it important not to redo after your child cleans up? Of course they will not make a perfect job, they are just kids. Who cares if the sheets are lumpy or the dolls do not match their dollhouses? Allowing children to take pride in their chores, no matter how imperfect, is crucial for their self-esteem. If you fix it each time after they have worked so hard, they may not be willing to clean up next time. What is essential is that you understand that the effort is what counts, not the end result. As parents, recognizing their hard work and fostering their sense of personal responsibility can go a long way.
Don’t forget to praise your child
As your child finishes the task and cleans up, tell them you are proud of them each time they are done with the clean-up. This will encourage them to perform better in the future. When children receive positive reinforcement, it motivates them to continue these good habits. Who says that you cannot make the cleaning up fun for the kids? After all, making chores a regular family activity can strengthen bonds and ensure that children learn the importance of teamwork.