As a parent, you spend so much time making sure your child knows right from wrong, says “please” and “thank you” regularly, and is ready and willing to share; that often times you forget to work on one of the most important skills of all-the art of cleaning up after oneself. Parents can drive themselves crazy with all the pleading, arguing, and nagging that is involved with picking up toys, putting away clothes, and cleaning up after meals. If you’re looking for no fail ways to get your kids to start cleaning up after themselves, read on to learn about some easy to implement tips.
- Set Guidelines and Be Consistent No Matter What Kids are smart. They love to push boundaries, see what they can get away with, and determine if and when they can get out of any intensive work. So, from a very young age, tell your child that they must pick up one toy before getting out another. Period. It sounds simple, but often times, parents let their kids take out other things before cleaning up. If you remain firm and consistent with this rule, you’ll have an easier time with clean up as they age. This rule will most likely result in a tantrum or battle, but in the end, your kids will learn that cleaning up one thing is a must before they get another!
- Make Clean Up FunSet a timer and make cleaning up a race of sorts. Your child will love trying to beat their personal best, and even race against siblings. You can sing a song while you’re cleaning, do a dance, or have a fun outcome as a result of cleaning up. For example, your child knows that once it’s time to clean up their toys, a snack or show follows.
- Pick Your Battles Asking your child to clean up before a nap can be a tricky thing. You know they are tired and will most likely resist. So, what’s a parent to do? Simply make the request to clean up. If they refuse, diffuse the situation before they work themselves up to the point of a meltdown. Simply let them sleep, and return to the mess when they awake. Since they have slept, they will be more agreeable and reasonable with your request.
- Be a Good Role Model When your children are very little, show them that cleaning up isn’t just an annoying task, but a part of being organized, happy, and a result of living in a clean home. Smile while you do the dishes. Hum a tune when you vacuum. Involve your little ones in the cleaning process. This way, when it comes time for them to clean up their own stuff, they will be ready and willing to take on the responsibility, will learn to take care of their stuff, and will recognize their mess affects the rest of the home environment.
Cleaning up a mess is probably the last thing a child wants to do- remember their attention spans quickly go from one thing to the next at this age! Plus- It may have been fun to make that mess, but putting it away is a different story. Change your child’s attitude when it comes to this daily part of life. Follow the four tips above to help your child take ownership of their belonging and role that they play in your home. You’ll be on your way to a neater, cleaner environment; and more well-rounded kiddos.