J helps me everyday with cleaning. It’s something that he has fun doing and I like it too! J helps me load and unload the laundry and the dishwasher. He wipes down his place at the table after a meal. He can use the cordless sweeper to clean up his messes. He is very good at putting things back where they go.
Children learn lots of skills through cleaning:
- They learn to take care of their things
- Teach organization and sorting skills
- Learning life skills
- Learn to follow directions
- Teaches self-discipline
J cleaning and sorting
Here’s how I get J to contribute:
- I use his name, and and give one direction at at time. “J, pick up the toy”. Then, “J, put the toy here”. Young children are not as capable of handling multiple directions at once and can get overwhelmed. If you keep it short with one direction at at time, they are more likely to follow through.
- I give him time. I allow for lots of time to clean so that he can do it correctly without being pressured to do it quickly. I will give a direction and allow him to think about it for a bit, but after a couple of times asking, I will go to him and take his hand and say “Mama said it’s time to pick up”. Now, I don’t have to do this very often because I give him the time to think and decide to do it.
- I give lot of praise and encouragement along the way. I don’t jump on him for putting something in the wrong place, instead I say “oops, that doesn’t’ go there, it goes over here”. I clap and say “good job” when he’s finished. J will usually clap along.
As children get older, you can start making cleaning time fun time.
- In your most excited voice say, “Let’s see how fast you can pick everything up!”. While cleaning say “oh hurry, hurry…let’s go really fast!”. I’ve had an entire room of 3 year olds cleaning by playing this silly game.
- Play I Spy. Say, “I spy a stack of dolls. Do you see them? Let’s put them away!”. Do this until the room is clean.
- Allow children to use the vacuum, broom, cordless sweeper, etc. Children like to mimic the adults in their lives and most love to play wit these tools.
J vacuuming up rice that he threw on the floor
The best way for your child to learn to love to clean is by starting them out young. Let them help you with your chores and have them help pick things up around the house. Also, children are always watching you, so be a good model for them.
Activity #26: Make cleanup time fun time
Have a mess left over from the holiday fun? Have your kiddos help! Make it a game, get them involved. Let’s see how much fun you can have cleaning!
Tomorrow: Why Have Playdates?