Mess and children seem to go hand in hand the moment they can move around by themselves. Children love to make a mess but when it comes to clean up time, that enthusiasm is nowhere to be found. And try as you might, chances are, the tidying up will be left to you. How else would it get done?
Cleaning up after your child can be problematic in many ways. Especially when they are more than capable of doing it by themselves. It gives them the impression that there will always be someone to clean up after them - in turn creating more work for you.
Like many things, the importance of cleaning is something that is essential for your child to learn. Here are a few things to consider when teaching them why cleaning is important and how to manage the process throughout their life.
Young children are extremely impressionable, this can be used to your advantage when helping form good habits. But how much can you get done with a toddler? In short, not much. Their attention spans and cognitive abilities are not yet developed enough to clean. However, they usually want to be involved with whatever they see you doing. Their curiosity can be your greatest tool.
Find ways to involve them in simple chores such as picking up toys, sorting socks, pushing buttons on the vacuum and so on.
Cleaning Is not a Punishment.
A common mistake parents make (even if well meant) is using cleaning as a form of punishment. This method can create negative feelings towards cleaning and even disrupt your child’s development of healthy cleaning habits.
The way in which you present cleaning will greatly affect the manner in which your child may approach cleaning.
Often cleaning can feel like a punishment when your child feels like they have no say in the matter. So, when handing out chores, give your kids a choice in the process. As the parent you shall set the parameters while giving your child the freedom and independence to choose their preferred chore. As they grow older, they can take on a few more tasks and eventually will get into the habit of carrying them out by themselves.
Teach Before Expecting
Even as adults, cleaning up after ourselves or others can be quite overwhelming. Many a times your child can end up feeling this way too. This is where you may need to step in. While you have a lifetime’s worth of experience on your hands, your kids are just getting started. Work with them and make the effort to teach them how to go about the process.
It is important not to build too high of an expectation regarding your child’s cleaning abilities. Some days are messier than others and may leave them frustrated. Take your time and avoid taking over out of your own frustration.
Cleaning is Everyone’s responsibility
Finally, regardless of your child’s gender, they should be taught every aspect of maintaining a clean household. Girls can mow the lawn and boys are more than capable of doing the dishes.