As a parent, you probably know how messy a child’s room can get. Piles of wrinkly clothes are strewn everywhere, and mini-mountains of toys have been abandoned and forgotten.
Given this dilemma, you’re given two choices: you clean everything up yourself or teach your kids to pick up their messes.
Sure, doing the cleaning yourself sounds more efficient. But it can be problematic in a couple of ways:
- Your kids won’t learn how to become responsible and independent.
- They won’t know how to clean as they get older.
Without a doubt, building a habit of cleaning up is essential for children’s development–in terms of their sense of self and responsibility. But how do you get your kids to clean?
Explain Why Cleaning Is Important
One of the best ways to motivate your kids to clean up is by highlighting the value of cleanliness.
By educating them about the consequences of a messy room, you can make them more interested in finishing their chores.
So set aside some time to talk to your kids. Explain to them how they might trip and fall if their toys are scattered about. Or how dirty rooms can serve as breeding grounds for germs, bugs, and all things nasty.
Telling your children the importance of good hygiene isn’t about scaring them into doing their chores. It’s all about clearly educating them on the point of cleaning–in a way they can relate to.
Set Expectations for Your Kids and Yourself
What do you want your children to achieve as they tidy up their messes? Communicate it clearly and be specific–while preventing the task from becoming overwhelming.
When it comes to educating children, clear communication is key. Apart from that, you have to set realistic expectations for both your children and yourself.
Keep in mind that your kids aren’t born with all the cleaning know-how, so you’ll have to teach them the basics.
Try breaking down the chore into small steps to make it seem easier and more manageable. And remember to be patient and expect that your kids won’t be expert cleaners from the get-go.
Clean Up Together
People, including kids, prefer to learn new things in different ways.
For some, simply listening to the instructions is already sufficient. Others will have an easier time grasping the concept by seeing it in action.
In addition to explaining to your kids how to clean up, you’ll have to do it yourself. Be a good role model and pick up your mess too.
Rather than leaving dishes in the sink for later, wash them right away. Or instead of ignoring that pile of freshly laundered clothes, ask your kids to watch how you fold your clothes and put them away.
Make It Fun
One parenting trick that greatly benefits our children’s behaviors is positive reinforcement. And what’s great about this trick is that it applies to various tasks, including cleaning up.
After your kids take it upon themselves to tidy up, make sure to reward them.
Whether you simply compliment them or treat them with healthy desserts, the important thing is that you acknowledge their hard work. You’ll have to encourage them to be proud of it too.
Besides that, you might want to turn chore time into fun time.
Make cleaning up a game by setting a timer and rewarding whoever finishes first. Or playing catchy cleanup songs or videos for kids as they do their chores.
Once your kids understand that cleaning can be fun, they can easily build the habit of tidying up after themselves.
Woodhaven at Park Bridge in Alpharetta, GA