Teaching your kids new things is always a labor of love. And, while teaching them how to pick up after themselves could seem hard, you only need a little patience—and maybe a little help. Here, you’ll learn how to teach your kids to clean their room while being part of the process.
#1. Ease your kids into the task
As an adult, you know cleaning is not always amusing, and that feeling is cranked up to the max for kids. Does that mean you need to stop making your kids do their chores? No, but they need to know what to expect.
A simple warning like “in ten minutes/when your cartoon ends, you need to clean your room” will let them mentally prepare for the task. You can also set a schedule with your kids’ help so they know when cleaning time is.
#2. Give them age-appropriate chores
Kids develop different physical and mental abilities as they grow. Making them do tasks out of their abilities can make them feel insufficient and dread cleaning even more.
Instead, give your kids chores suited for their age. If, at any moment, they want to partake in a cleaning task better suited for older kids, let them help you with small things. For example, if a three-year-old wants to help make their bed, let a few ripples so they can smooth them.
#3. Show, don’t tell
Have you noticed how kids stop doing something (or throw a tantrum) when they don’t know how to do it? However, telling your children how to do their chores is not enough. It would be best if you showed them how.
While doing the task, describe your actions. Use clear movements and language to minimize confusion. Then, let your kids do it and help them (both physically and verbally) if they get stuck.
Also, your presence is essential for your children to feel safe and accompanied. You can gradually reduce your involvement as they improve until they no longer need you.
#4. Acknowledge your child’s work
Besides making your kids more open to the idea of cleaning, acknowledging your children’s work will improve their self-esteem and confidence.
One of the most common ways of acknowledgment is a reward. Pick something your kids like and set weekly or monthly cleaning goals so they work continuously to get the reward—you’ll quickly notice how differently they respond!
Small things also go a long way with kids. Saying “good job” or high-fiving them after finishing their work will make them feel appreciated. Soon, they’ll associate cleaning with positive feelings instead of bad thoughts.
#5. Be consistent
More than a chore, cleaning is a habit, and consistency is the key to successfully creating habits. Also, consistency will help your kids know what to expect and integrate cleaning responsibilities into their routines.
Follow through with whatever instructions or conditions you’ve set. However, don’t think you need to be tough as a sergeant; flexibility is important so your kids can feel comfortable and unpressured.
What to do if your child refuses to clean their room
Remember that teaching a kid how to clean their room is a process that takes time. Some days will be good, and others won’t.
If your kid refuses to clean or throws a tantrum, give them time to wind down and talk to them afterward. Use this opportunity to discuss consequences such as “if you don’t tackle your chores now, you’ll have less time to watch your cartoons later.”
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