Teaching children to cleanup after themselves is important in the sense that it will help them become conscious and considerate independent individuals. As children however, their mentality may be different towards completing this task. Therefore, it is essential that parents understand these aspects of their child’s willingness and understanding of the task at hand before giving out directions, orders, or even reprimands or punishments.
First, understand who needs the room to be clean. Most of the time, it is the parent that needs the child’s room to be clean, whether it is because company is coming over or simply as a part of the routine housework. When a child is considerably small, the cleaning of the room will be the responsibility of the parents, but as soon as children become older, it’s important that they learn how to pick up after themselves. Since it is usually the parents need for the room to be clean, it is important for parents to express why the room needs to be clean and exactly in which manner they need it to be cleaned, especially since children tend to respond more positively to clear direction. If you understand that the importance of the room being clean is not necessarily at the forefront of your child’s mind, it could help you figure out a better way to engage them about completing the task itself.
It is also important for parents to understand whether or not their desires are completely age-appropriate. Depending on the exact age of your child, they may only be able to clean up the room to a certain degree or with a certain level of awareness. Smaller children, as stated above, react and respond better to clear and precise direction, whereas older children may understand what is already expected of them and may not require as much verbal assistance.
The last thing that parents should consider when it comes to telling the children to clean their room, is just how consistent of a task this is. If cleaning the room is part of the routine, children may be more likely to remember that this is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, but otherwise, since children’s minds are not necessarily thinking of tasks and other things that they need to do without being told, it may be difficult for them to remember without friendly reminders or being offered some kind of assistance or direction.
Once all these things are considered, and you have taken a little more time to think about how you approach getting your child to clean their room, you can think of the ways in which you can help to teach them this important responsibility in an effective and positive way.
• Anything that is a part of a routine, is more likely to come easier to them. As a family, consider having a cleaning day where you all take part in household chores, including cleaning of rooms and other tasks. Making these sort of responsibilities a common and every day occurrence can help instill the importance of cleaning.
• If your child is having a difficult time staying on task, then try giving them one thing to do at a time. This can be fairly simple, such as “Pick up all the toys first,” or get creative such as “Pick up all the blue things first.” Play around with some of these ideas and see which directions your child responds to you more and go from there.
• If your child is especially reluctant to clean the room, you can always turn it into a bit of a game, but it is still important that you stress the importance of tidiness and consideration when it comes to what cleaning their rooms really means.
It definitely helps to look at tips and tricks that can help you get your child to clean the room in the first place, but the main reason why you are encouraging them to do so is to help instill a meaningful sense of responsibility.