How to Teach a Child About Cleanliness
It’s important to create rules and expectations for your children to make cleaning up a group effort. Teaching kids to clean helps to establish routines and responsibility, which are important for a child’s development, according to an article published at PsychCentral.com 1.
Set an example for your children by cleaning up after yourself and keeping your house in order. Rather than telling them what is expected of them, show them what is expected in your household. Maintain a positive attitude about chores and cleaning.
Choose and assign age-appropriate chores for your children. Establish a consequence and reward system. Create a chart of daily or weekly chores for each child. Keep track of your child’s progress with stickers. When your child completes all of her chores within a certain amount of time, give her a reward such as a toy or allowing her to stay up for an extra hour on the weekend. If she doesn’t complete her assigned chores, have consequences in place that work for your family, such as grounding.
Clearly define what is expected from your children by creating a checklist. For example, when cleaning her room, your child must make her bed, pick up toys, put away clothes and sweep the floor. If your child is too young to read, make a checklist with small pictures.
Organize your child’s clothes and toys so everything has a space. Use boxes, bins and clear plastic containers to organize toys, art supplies and other items your child uses often. Establish a rule that when your child finishes using a toy, he must put it away before he can take another toy from its space. If your child doesn’t put away a toy, give your child one warning. If he forgets to put it away a second time, take it away for a week so he gets used to putting items back in their designated places.
Create an enjoyable daily routine. Make a playlist with your child’s favorite upbeat music. Choose a time each day to clean up, such as after dinner or first thing in the morning. Put on the playlist and let the kids know they have to do their chores until the playlist ends. This activity will get your kids in the habit of cleaning up daily.
When chores and routines are established, be consistent. Avoid cleaning up for your children when your are in a rush or because it is easier. Staying consistent lets your child know that it's always important to clean up after himself.
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