Keeping a house clean with little children is one of the biggest challenges. And perhaps even a bigger challenge is to clean up together with them. You can engage even the youngest children in house chores, of course, to an adequate level. According to psychologists, you are creating a good foundation for the future and contributing to their personal development – such children are more independent, more empathetic, and are better team players.
Helping to clean or cook does not only provide a general benefit in form of a clean house but also strengthens family relationships. Children involved in family cleaning rituals will get a sense of belonging, and they will learn that life also brings duties and tasks. The acquired skills will definitely be useful for them in the future.
Make it a game
Even the youngest children can start with helping to clean. A one-year-old very quickly realizes that toys need to sleep in their little house or that shoes have their favorite place on the shelf. Especially if you do it in a playful way. With young children, it is more about repetitions and imitations of adults. If the child does not do something according to your wishes, do not try to clean after them and especially not in front of them! You can cause frustration or indifference, and the feeling that there will always be someone else who will do the job for them or will complete it.
In some cases, reverse psychology is also involved. You underestimate someone deliberately to provoke them to the action you want to achieve. With children it works almost instantly. For example, you can use it in this way – tell the child that you do not believe that they will finish an activity within a time limit. For example, clean up all the toys in a minute. The child will strive with all the strength to prove the opposite.
Money for chores?
This is particularly the case of parents of school children. It is up to you if you give your children money for chores, however, experts agree that money should not be the main motivation. It sends incorrect signals. The child must learn that cleaning is a part of everyday life. The right form of a reward is praising your child, or letting them watch a TV for a longer time, cooking their favorite meal…
7 tips on how to teach your children to clean up
- Be their example – the child should see you putting your clothes into your closet or your shoes on shoe shelves. Explain them what a vacuum cleaner, a dustpan, or a broom are used for…
- Do not try to clean after your child has already cleaned – it can demotivate the child. If you are not satisfied with how your child put their clothes or toys away, do not care for it or fix it in front of them.
- Clean up together – do not expect a small child to handle as much as you do. In fact, they don´t realize that they only put away three toys and you did the rest.
- Choose the right time – do not force your child to clean when they are tired. Try to do it before they get grumpy because they want to sleep.
- Make sure to play a game – make up a story, for example, about a hungry vacuum cleaner that has an empty stomach and all the toys must be saved from it.
- Take advantage of children’s competitiveness – if you have more children, make it a competition between them. Anyone who gets the most points for cleaning will get a reward in the form of a candy or something extra.
- Do not forget to smile and praise – according to psychologists, tasks don´t need not be fulfilled perfectly, but you should not forget to encourage your children.