5 ways to teach your kids the value of cleaning up.
I think this might be the dilemma of every parent ever; how to get my kids to clean up after themselves and that too willingly? While teaching kids to clean at a young age is undeniably difficult, it is not impossible and very important!
Psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky says that giving children chores at an early age “helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance”. They are also more successful in relationships, academics, and careers.
Here are five ways to make sure your child doesn’t just remain an adorable, messy poop machine but also learns the value of cleaning up their own mess:
1) Explain the WHY behind cleaning on a hygienic level
If you have toddlers, they may not be able to actually clean, but they can still try to help and can grasp the need behind doing it. Explain to your children how having a dirty space can lead to diseases and other bigger problems for the whole family. Teach them about germs, bugs, webs, dust etc. so that they are more aware.
2) Do NOT treat cleaning as a form of punishment
Think of all the times you were sent to clean your room or do the dishes as a way of punishment and remember all the negative feelings you associated with it. This is where a parent turns cleaning from being a positive, essential thing to the most dreaded activity that should be avoided at all costs. If you want your child to actually want to clean, make them see it as a feel-good experience that is essential for a happy, healthy life.
3) Let them choose
Not being given options in what cleaning activity they have to do also plays a big role in it feeling more like a punishment and less like a choice. Give them options between a few activities that they could do for example folding laundry, dusting the room, organizing toys etc.
Picking one activity will automatically make them figure out which one they like. They may even develop a favorite like watering plants, and it can become their domain, inculcating a sense of responsibility and consistency.
4) Start small and keep it realistic
We give the same advice to adults who struggle with beginning or keeping up with new things . Cleaning is a very dominant part of our lives and can be overwhelming for anyone. Have your kids start small with just one task.
Let them conquer it. Celebrate it. And then move forward.
5) Make it a family affair
“I love cleaning, it is the most fun activity of my day”, said no one ever!
No matter how hard we try to train ourselves or our kids, cleaning can be a very dreary activity and it would be unfair to leave your kids alone in the never-ending blackhole which is cleaning a house. Set half an hour every day before dinner when the whole family cleans together and then enjoys the reward together so that your kids and you both look forward to it!
How we do it
Our cleaners also try to create a comfortable environment for children and since most of us also have kids, we naturally treat them as our own. Our cleaners have lovely relationships with kids who even like to hang around and “pitch in” which leads to them being much more accepting of cleaning being a part of their lives.