I promised myself I would write about this topic way back; before I became a mother. It irks me to find a messy house arrghh!! I hate the smell of rotten stuff in the dustbin. It makes me want to puke. I loathe the sight of house flies, so much that they make me feel dizzy. I don’t know whether it’s because of the buzz or just their presence, all I know is I love “neat” and hate “clumsy”.
Please take it easy if you are not a ‘squeaky clean princess’. These are just simple tips on helping your young ones learn how to keep their space clean and safe.
For the record, kids have no problem taking duties. They just like to be introduced to them in an appealing way. It becomes easier if they are introduced early but if you haven’t started yet, feel free to join the team and try it.
I have a question for you? Are interested in keeping your house tidy?
If your answer is yes, please keep reading. If your answer is ‘not really’, please move on to the next post. This post might sound impractical for you. And why do I say that? Because the success of this activity depends so much on you than it does the babies. I read a comment the other day that said “Kindergarten kids that clean are good citizens (good citizens take care of where they live, play and learn or work).
I will go right into the tips on how to train your kids to be responsible citizens. I will keep asking you questions. Don’t mind me. They are to help evaluate ourselves. Just take the lessons home.
Step 1: - Designate storage places
Now, where do you keep your toys? Are your children storing their books in any shelf in the house? One of the secrets of hacking this trick is to live it yourself.
You might need to label the designated lockers for the children at first but in a short while, everything will fall into place.
When the kids know that as a rule you never leave the house until all toys are in the toys box and all their books in their designated shelves, they will oblige and have everything put in place before you even prepare.
NOTE: The consistency makes everything so much better. Storing items in their designated box everyday leaves your house neat and also saves you a lot of time because you don’t have to tear down every room looking for a toy or a book.
Step 2: - Designate Duties
‘Duties’ sounds tough. Maybe we should call them assignments.
By the time a child is twenty four months, they have already developed a sense of ownership. They know how to say ‘mine’ and they can also understand simple instructions.
I believe this is the right age for training a kid to start taking charge of their territory. There’s a funny rhyme called ‘monkey see, monkey do’. It applies a lot here. Kids between twelve months and forty eight months-and sometimes beyond like to copy what their seniors are doing.
Take advantage of this and let them learn as much as they can. For example, if you are sweeping, let them pick up a small broom and dust pan and sweep. If you are making the bed, let them help you spread so that they learn and appreciate it.
Step 3: - Give Clear Instructions
Most adults don’t concentrate on a single task until it’s done. They multi-task and by the end of the day they have attempted to finish ten tasks but none are complete.
If you attempt to do this with a child you will be doomed. Children understand assignments; but you have to do one at a time and have a limited number of them. These tasks should also be done at different time frames.
If you send your toddler somewhere and change your mind halfway, call them back and send them somewhere else and give them too much detail, they get confused. Kids may not handle excessive detail and so it’s very important to give simple, short and direct instructions.
You can confirm if they understood by asking them to repeat what you have assigned them.
Step 4: - Make it fun/playful
Kids associate their time with games and lots of joyful moments. You will make little progress if you teach them how to handle tasks as a punishment or as a very difficult thing to do.
Teach your children to have fun while doing chores. You can even compose silly songs to go with the task they are taking. They will have so much fun they will do the work without putting much thought into the effort required.
Step 5: - Cheer them for Every Success
Praise does wonders. Invent ways of appreciating work done. You can use a material incentive like a cookie or non-tangible; For example; computer time, a hug, maybe you can also take photos and keep for them as a reminder of their good deeds.
Children thrive on appreciation and attention.
My daughter claps for herself when she’s done eating, when she dresses herself and so on.
Finally; we are living in a generation of parents who want to do everything for their children and then complain that they are lazy in their teenage. Why do we feel obliged to do EVERYTHING for them yet we want them to turn out to be responsible?
Teach your kids the importance of leaving a place better than they found it. Once they appreciate the benefits. You will have happy faces cleaning and not grumpy toddlers messing all over.
Our parents did a great job teaching us the worth of making sacrifices but we are busy teaching our kids shortcuts and easy life. Do you think we are doing a disservice to our children by not teaching them responsibility? Share with us in the comments section, we would love to hear your thoughts.