Let’s face it, children are fantastic at making messes and not very good at cleaning them up! They bounce from one activity to the next! The trail of toys they’ve left behind doesn’t bother them especially when they know we are right behind them carefully putting each thrown object back in its home! It needs to stop. We are responsible for guiding them through life, teaching them right from wrong, and showing them how to be responsible for cleaning up their belongings!
Here are 8 tips to help our kids take responsibility for their messes:
1) Resetting The Rules:
Sometimes we all need a reboot. Explain to your children that you have made some new rules about cleaning up. Let them know that you are telling them this so they understand the decision and the consequences that go along with it. “When you are finished playing with something, it is very important to put it away where it belongs. I will remind you one time to put it away, and it doesn’t end up back in it’s home, it’s mine for a week.” MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THROUGH! If you tell them the new rules and let them get away with not listening they will not take you seriously!
2) No new toys can be taken out until the last activity is COMPLETELY put away:
Give them a little reminder if they try and sneak away without cleaning up, but no not clean up the mess for them. This will teach them if they whine and complain long enough that you will just do it for them. They will never learn responsibility that way. Tell them that you understand that they would rather not clean up. By letting them know this it will make them accept that it must get done.
3) Avoid turning on “mom and dad TV”
We’ve all been desperate and used this one! These shows are typically drama filled and can contribute to the misbehavior at hand. It just fuels their resistance.
4) Whenever possible, make cleanup fun:
Most children will be much more willing to participate in game. So make it fun! Like “Who can clean up the most toys before the timer goes off. Or time them and see how fast they can do it!”
5) Add energizing music to the mix:
Again, add a little fun and goofiness to the cleanup routine! “Can you put all your dolls away before the song is over?” This will help your kids stop fighting you on cleaning and instead motivate them to clean because to them this seems like a game!
6) Show them a positive and cheerful attitude when you are cleaning:
If you are constantly complaining about the cleaning in your house, this will eventually rub off on your children! They will see cleaning as something that should be avoided at all cost! That will lead to one tough job convincing them that cleaning their room isn’t that bad!
7) Don’t start your request with, “ I need you to…”
Don’t come across as needy! Speak to them with confidence. Don’t ask them at the end of your request with an “ok” this is symbolizing that they have an option about what they are suppose to be doing.
8) Break down the large jobs into smaller steps:
Don’t give them too big of a job, break it down into increments that are manageable for them! Have them start by cleaning up all the toys that are a particular color, size, or category! This will teach them that they can tackle a large project in smaller steps. This is a life lesson for many parts of life.
Taking these simple steps with your children will really change clean up time in your house while teaching them life lessons. We can all use a little change when it comes to our tactics of motivating our kids in a manner that is great for them, and in the long run a game changer for you!