If there’s one thing all parents know, it’s that no child likes doing their chores. Be it picking up toys after playtime or washing their plate, you could probably get your little one to build a spaceship before they willingly clean up after themselves. However, learning to keep your space tidy and neat is an important life skill to teach your kids. Not only does it make you more efficient and organized but it’s great for your mental health. After all, no one wants to come back home to a messy house.
Although teaching children life skills at a young age is a challenging task, the earlier you start the better. You could even start as early as 9 to 10 months. As soon as your children gain some mobility and are able to control their movements, they are going to start mimicking your actions and this can involve cleaning! Remember that this is a good thing. Giving your little one age appropriate tasks will help them develop positive habits and prepare them for adulthood. Here are a couple of tricks to help you do just that!
1. Cleaning Should Not Be A Punishment
We’re sure that as a child you were made to tidy up your room or clean up a mess you created as punishment. It’s almost second nature for parents to give their kids chores as a punishment because they are tasks that your little one doesn’t like doing. But how can you get them to like it if you keep reinforcing the belief that they are unpleasant, unlikable actions? The best way to get your child to clean is to make them see it as something that is exciting and fun to do instead of it being a punishment.
For example, you can start a tradition with your child and make cleaning a speed competition to get their interest. Add in a funky looking hourglass or a stopwatch to add to the competitive element to your cleaning. Then all you need to do is relax and let your child win. The hourglass can be a great addition as it can show your child how quickly time passes by. This way, they can understand that cleaning doesn’t have to be long and tiring but can be fast and fun instead.
2. Break Down The Tasks
If your child’s motivation to clean wanes after seeing the extent of the mess, try breaking it down into small tasks and starting from a young age. Giving your minnie me bite size tasks is a great way to encourage them to complete their chores instead of flagging halfway simply because it looks impossible. Not to mention that cleaning will be far more efficient this way. Your child doesn’t need to clean the entire room, they just need to put their toys into a basket. That’s half the work done and they didn’t even notice!
Another great way to encourage your kids to clean is to incentivise them with cleaning tools that are fit for little children their age. Not only will they be excited to use them but they are actually safer for your child than an adult size tool that may be too large and heavy for them to handle. Besides, how cute would a colorful little cleaning kit be!
3. Create A Cleaning Schedule
Human beings need routine and schedules to keep them on track and your child isn’t any different. When it comes to cleaning, it’s best to provide your child with an interactive experience and get them involved. Help them mark out what chore they will do on the days of the week. For example, Monday can be cleaning up the toys day, Tuesday can be helping clean the house day. On Sundays they can help pick out outfits for the coming week and pack their bags for school. Whatever they may be, letting your children help create a clean-up plan or map will help them identify future tasks. Creating a schedule, on the other hand, instills a sense of responsibility and teaches your children to complete tasks on time. And this way they really can’t complain because they made it!
Get them a magnetic calendar that they can stick colorful posters on or cross out once the task for the day is done. You can also add in a little reward bag with a piece of candy waiting for them at the end of the day. This will further incentivise them to stick to their schedule. It’s also a great way to motivate them to complete crossing out the tasks on the chart.
Getting kids to clean may be a hard job but it is not impossible. As long as your children feel like they are learning new things or accomplishing something in engaging and fun ways, they’ll do just about anything. Also make sure to thank your kids for their help once they are done with chores so that they know how much their contribution means to you. Happy parenting!