>> Dec 14, 2013
Most parents will be familiar with the struggle: children love creating a mess, but how on earth do you get them to clean up afterwards? Here are some tactics you might like to try to help encourage your children to tidy up after themselves in their bedroom and around the house.
Weekly Chores & Reward Points.
Like adults, kids respond excellently to incentives and the promise of future rewards. Establish a weekly chore list for each of your kids. Completion of a specific task – tidying their bedroom, dusting the living room, or helping you to load the washing machine – will be rewarded with a star on the chore list. Once your children accumulate a certain number of stars then they qualify for a reward such as money, a food treat, or fun activity.
You may be more successful in getting your kids to clean up after themselves if you treat cleaning as a fun activity, rather than a chore. Instead of telling them: “Take your worn clothes off the floor and put them in the laundry basket”, try asking: “Who will be the first to bring me 5 items of clothing lying on your bedroom floor?”
A household responsibility is a great way to make your children feel important and useful. How about giving each child his or her own cutlery and plate set? They are left responsible for washing and drying that set after each meal – if they don’t wash their plate then they have to deal with the consequence (in this case, a dirty plate to eat their dinner off of!). The same can be applied to worn clothes in their bedroom – if it doesn’t go into the laundry basket…it won’t be washed.
Involvement and Examples
Perhaps the main difference between adults and their children when it comes to cleaning is that both groups dislike the chore…it is just the kids who think that they can object their way out of it! Remember that your youngsters have an unnerving knack of following the example you set: if you appear reluctant or express a strong dislike of cleaning, then they are going to pick up on that and view domestic cleaning as something to avoid.
One way to help set a strong example is to involve the kids in your household cleaning tasks. While you don’t want young children to be handling the cleaning products, they can be encouraged to help you out. Perhaps they can clear all items off the kitchen surfaces before you disinfect them? Or else they can dust in the living room before you vacuum? Maybe they can sort the weekly laundry pile into ‘colours’ and ‘whites’, or help transfer their clothes from the washing machine to the drying rack, for instance?
Points to keep in mind.
Be consistent. If you permit your children to get out of their weekly cleaning responsibilities once, they will learn that it is possible for them to negotiate their way out of the tasks…and you end up back where you started!
Young children don’t usually have the patience and long-term vision that adults have. Be realistic when it comes to setting incentives for them – you want to set them a goal that they think they can achieve! A month can seem like an impossibly long eternity to small kids.