When your kids are young, you’re responsible for everything that they need or that they do, including cleaning up all of their messes. But as they get a little older, it now becomes your responsibility to teach them how to be good stewards over the things they’ve been given and clean up their own messes.
While it can sometimes be easier to just do it yourself, teaching this skill to your children when they’re young will help them immensely as they grow into kids and teens and adults. So to help you on this tough journey, here are three tips for teaching your kids how to clean up after themselves.
Set Clear Rules and Consequences
When requiring something new of your kids, it’s important that the expectations, rules, and consequences are clearly set for them from the get go. By doing this, you’ll be able to enforce the new status quo that you’re setting up and give your kids the structure they need in order to learn something effectively.
According to Susan Stiffelman, a contributor to the Huffington Post, one of the easier expectations to set for kids about cleaning up after themselves is that they need to put whatever they’ve been playing with away completely before getting something new out.
With this expectation set, you should also set rules and consequences for breaking those rules. For example, if they don’t put away one toy before getting out a new one, they will lose the privilege of playing with that toy for a period of time. Just make sure you enforce these rules and consequences when the expectation isn’t met.
Make Their Jobs Manageable
When setting the expectations for your child to clean up after him or herself, it’s important that you make their jobs manageable for them.
According to Amanda Rock, a contributor to Very Well Family, many children are easily overwhelmed when told to clean up a big mess. But if you’re able to help them manage their task, by asking them to put away all the books and then all the stuffed animals and then all the blocks, they’ll likely be much more able and willing to start cleaning on their own.
Try To Make It Fun
While cleaning up after themselves is something that needs to get done, it doesn’t have to be a battle every time. If you can find a way to make it more enjoyable, your kids might even find cleaning to be fun.
One strategy you might want to try to make cleaning up more enjoyable, according to Haley Millan, a contributor to Working Mother, is turning on some music and having a little impromptu dance party while you clean.
If you’re wanting your kids to contribute more to the cleanliness of your home, consider using the tips mentioned above to teach them how to clean up after themselves.