The earlier kids understand the importance and purpose of maintaining a clean environment, the better it is for them. Interestingly, toddlers and young children are always happy to help out around the house. To them, it is simply something fun to do. From this point, parents should continue to come up with creative ways to encourage kids to clean.
Here are ten ways to do that.
1. Find age appropriate methods.
Kids between the age of 2 and 3 are more likely the cause of most of the mess rather than a solution, but this does not mean they cannot learn. At this age, they are able to understand the concept of picking up a toy and placing it in the right place or collecting place mats after meals.
2. Don't expect perfection.
Don't frustrate yourself and your preschoolers by fretting over an imperfectly laid bed. You are more likely to have a willing cleaning participant in your child when you encourage rather than criticise.
3. Get specific
Avoid vague statements like 'clean up your room' and go for something easier to comprehend, like 'pick up your toys'. A 5 or 6-year-old might feel overwhelmed with tasks that, to them, are larger than life.
4. Give little ones a picture-guide.
To encourage your toddlers and preschoolers to pick up after themselves, you can attach a photo of each item to the box or bag where they go. This way, you do not have to micromanage their effort, and they feel more in control of the situation.
5. Have fun with it.
Cleaning up does not have to feel like a chore to little kids, even though that's exactly what it is. Incorporate a little bit of fun into it. Have a dance party during or after you're done cleaning the living room. Turn on your favourite music while you work and happily sing along.
6. Make a game out of it.
If you have a preschooler that's not really thrilled about cleaning, come up with a creative game. For instance, ask them to pick only the blue Lego or the green stuffed animals. You can even have a cleaning contest. You assign them a room to clean, and you do the same in another room. The first to finish gets a special prize.
7. Make a list.
Once your child is able to read, you can create a list of things to do. Just as you enjoy checking things off your to-do list, so will your kid. There's a sense of achievement that comes with this process, and it can serve as motivation.
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8. Have a time frame.
This works best for older kids who could easily be distracted with other things when you ask them to clean. Give them a time frame like 'before dinner', for example, so they know when the cleaning needs to get done.
9. Don't redo their task.
Redoing what you asked them to do will only discourage them and make them lose confidence in their abilities. If you know you need some things done perfectly, it's best to do them yourself. Let your kids have tasks that you will be okay with if they are not done 'the right way'.
10. Validate their work.
You should appreciate your children's effort, even though they did not do the job perfectly. You can give helpful hints while ensuring that you focus on the things they got right.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that your kids have a positive experience when it comes to cleaning.