Overcoming the Difficulties of Teaching Your Children to Clean Up After Themselves
Teaching your children to clean up after themselves might seem simple. But, if you’re the parent of a little one, you probably already know what a challenge it can be. So far, you’ve likely cleaned up most of your children’s messes throughout their short lives. But, once they reach an age where they can do certain chores independently, making that transition isn’t always easy.
That doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Encouraging your children to take responsibility for their messes now will teach them valuable life skills. It will also help to build a quality home learning environment while fostering a sense of respect and value for the things in your home and how they’re meant to be treated.
So, what can you do to overcome the difficulties of teaching your children to clean up after themselves? How can you instil these responsibilities now to make them second nature for your kids in the future?
Leading By Example
It might not always seem like your children are watching you, but they are. They also want to be just like you, whether either of you truly realizes it. Leading by example is one of the best ways to teach your kids the importance of cleaning up after themselves. Simple, everyday acts can leave a lasting impression, including:
- Washing dishes;
- Wiping down surfaces;
- Picking up trash;
- Putting away food.
Talking to your kids about why these things are so important is also a good idea. When kids understand the purpose behind something, they’re less likely to assume it’s just another “chore”. Often, keeping a clean house keeps the family safer. If you want to go the extra mile, consider having a home inspection to point out any potential safety hazards, such as problems with your electricity and wiring or issues with your plumbing system.
If any of those hazards can be mitigated by decluttering or ensuring things are in top shape, it will show your children again how important it is to be responsible for taking care of the home. You can also take the opportunity to teach them how to be safe while cleaning by showing them how to do things the right way. The lessons you teach them now will last a lifetime.
Break Down the Tasks
Cleaning can be overwhelming for little ones, especially if you give them a big job. One of the best ways to keep them motivated and help them realize they can do challenging things is to give them age-appropriate cleaning tasks and break down larger cleaning projects into smaller pieces. That might include putting their plate in the sink after dinner, picking up ten toys from their bedroom, or wiping down one section of a kitchen counter.
Over time, your child will realize that they can get things done effectively. That can boost their self-esteem and motivate them to do more. Eventually, they’ll be able to tackle bigger deep-cleaning jobs like cleaning windows, bathrooms, and floors.
Gamify the Process
Every parent knows how much kids love getting rewards – even if it’s small. If your child is having a hard time getting motivated to clean, consider gamifying the process by giving them an incentive to get things done.
Something as simple as preparing a sticker chart can help your child get the recognition they’re looking for. To entice them with bigger items, try money, candy, or even small toys for bigger projects.
When you choose to make the cleaning process fun, your children are less likely to view it as something they “have” to do. Instead, they’ll look forward to it, and eventually, the feeling of having a clean space will be the best reward they could ask for.
Be Their Guide
In addition to setting a positive example for your kids when it comes to cleaning, it’s also important to show them how to do things correctly. By sticking to a simple routine that your children can follow, they’ll be more effective cleaners.
Of course, messes don’t always occur on a specific timeline. Sometimes, you’ll have to handle an unexpected cleaning project, especially with kids. For example, if your children are in their “sticker phase,” you might find remnants of stickers all over every piece of furniture in your home – in addition to countertops and staircases.
One of the best ways to guide your child through the cleaning process is by teaching them some simple tips and tricks they can use to make things easier. After all, everyone loves a good hack.
When it comes to sticker removal, how to get rid of the sticky residue depends on the surface type. But everything from soapy water to baking soda and vinegar can help. The more you educate yourself on cleaning up these problems quickly, the more knowledge you can pass on to your children.
Cleaning up after yourself isn’t always easy, even for adults. But, it’s a necessary responsibility that everyone should learn, and it’s a good habit to instil in your kids at a young age. Keep these ideas, suggestions, and tips in mind to encourage cleanliness in your child.