This article has originally been published on Helpling. Originally written by Stephanie Ng.
The sooner you introduce your kids to household tasks, the sooner they will start to take responsibility and make decisions with confidence. Not sure when you should introduce your kids to housework? Report shows that 15% of households with kids as young as six years old are already lending a helping hand around the household! To ensure your kid does not drown in the chaos, Helpling, Singapore’s leading online marketplace for home services, explains how you can teach your kid to clean up by themselves, in a fun way:
Getting organised is a key factor in children’s early years
Ouch! Did you once again trip over scattered Lego blocks? Fret now, you are not the only one! With that being said, every child needs to be organised to learn. Learning through actively cleaning their own rooms not only teaches them to stay organised, but also to take responsibility and make decisions easily. For example, make them point out, together with you, where Teddy has to “sleep” at night , so they will be more likely to remember where it belongs and will then leave the stuffed animal in the right place as a bedtime routine.
You are the biggest role model
Your kids will never learn to keep your house organised if the table is never cleaned after meals or if there are shoes tossed around the hallway. Therefore, setting an example in the daily activities will instill daily habit in your children. Moreover, it’s easier to clean with an extra helping hand! Children will not admit it, but they also feel a sense of achievement when they help the grown-ups with daily household tasks.
Give kids age-appropriate tasks
Important tip: give your kids age-appropriate tasks. For example, toddlers can already help by organising socks and sorting them out based on the colors and patterns. When they finally start school, they can perform more serious tasks such as fixing their beds every morning. As they get older, get them more involved in decision making, such as by taking your kids to your weekly grocery shopping and involve them in the decision-making process about what to buy and what to cook.
Cleaning up is not a skill, but a habit
In a blink of an eye, your little ones will be already in the kindergarten! During this phase, they should already be familiar with the basic concepts of cleanliness: school bag needs to be hung on the hook; toys need to be collected and stored in the storage bin etc. Order doesn’t come easy and has to be learned! To help them develop the concept of order, try using wooden games with different shapes and colours – they can have fun in matching the patterns and colours!
Labelled boxes = a room in order!
Organization starts with a neat and functional room. Allocate an area in your kid’s room to place storage boxes to ensure toys are stored at a certain area every night. You can also allocate a few areas for different activities, just like in kindergarten. For example, the left side of the room can be a cozy reading corner and the right side can be the playground. This will allow your children to know what belongs where right away. Lastly, always make sure that the boxes are light enough for your kids to maneuver around.
Four practical cleaning tips for your children:
- Clear instructions: “Please clean up”… Do they even work? Instead, try to be specific in your request: “Please place the books back into the shelf and put teddy to bed now.” Your children will then know exactly what they have to do. The more concrete your request is, the more effective it will be!
- Art museum: Encourage your kids to unleash their creativity! Allocate an area where your kids are able to showcase their art pieces. For example, your fridge can be transformed into an art display. This is allow your kids to be more confident and proud in what they do.
- Go easy on them: They are children after all! The goal is to store toys at a single place to avoid them from taking over the house. With that being said, try not to be too strict on them like you would with someone who works for you.
- Monkey see, monkey do: This tip is important for children and also for adults. For example, you can implement daily rituals, such as to pack up their toys before each meal or help out with the dishes after each meal.
Also published on Medium.