Imagine this: You are finally going home from an exhausting day at work. Your head is throbbing and all you want is to take a long shower, spend time with your family and get some rest. You open the door and take a step into your house only to be met with excruciating pain from a Lego piece on the floor. Ouch! You look up to see more hurdles of toys on the floor and your headache starts to worsen. If this is how your typical day looks like, you're on the right page!
Clean As You Go is a concept that can be tricky to teach to your child but it will all be worth it when you can finally step into your home without tiptoeing over toys. Research has proven the benefits of teaching a child how to keep things neat at a young age. Some of these benefits include developing their decision-making skills, better handling of responsibilities, and having a deeper understanding of what it means to be a contributing member of society. But where do you start? Here are our tips on how to teach your child the value of CLAYGo.
You can't tell your kid to put away their toys if there's nowhere to put them. Children get motivated when there is something new to start with. You can come up with creative kids toy storage ideas to get them excited. Look for toy storages that suit their tastes or better yet, search for one together. Involving them in choosing storage helps them develop their decision-making skills and it builds up their anticipation. Having their storage gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility which can lead them to organize their toys without being told.
There will be days when your kids won't want to organize their toys after playing because they just aren't in the mood. Instead of punishing them, come up with a reward system so that they don't see cleaning up as a bad thing. By doing this, you associate cleaning up with a positive memory rather than a negative one.
Give your child a list of things they can do and what rewards come with each task. One idea is to give them "points" per task and they can save those points to use for something they want later. This teaches them the value of hard work. Simple rewards can also be done in the form of words of appreciation and applause. These small things can boost their confidence and increase their motivation.
Create a core memory with your child by cleaning with them. Involve them in your day-to-day chores and allow them to help. This may require a mountain of patience because young children tend to be clumsy. They also tend to make things more messy and complicated but allow them to make mistakes so that they can learn from them. Cleaning up with your children strengthens your relationship. It also teaches them to be contributing members of the family which will eventually teach them to be contributing members of society.
Most kids are naturally competitive. Use this spirit to your advantage on their lazy days. Give them a challenge by having a "race" with them. You can also challenge them to "beat the timer." If they have siblings, get them involved as well. This will be a lot of fun for your children and it gets the job done. Doing this teaches your kid that cleaning up doesn't have to be boring at all.
Sometimes, kids leave things anywhere because they don't know where to place them or they forgot where they got them from. Labeling your drawers and storage areas can help with that. Develop their reading skills by letting them read the labels the next time they put something back. This can also work for segregating trash.
List down what kind of trash belongs to a specific trash can. For much younger children who don't know how to read yet, use color-coding. Stick a piece of colored paper to items your child uses and one on the drawer or storage area it belongs to. They can unconsciously learn that everything has a proper place and that they should return things to where they got them.
If your child has a daily schedule, incorporate cleaning into it. Set aside some time to clean after playing with toys, before going to bed, or as soon as they wake up. Routines give a sense of direction and a sense of achievement when they finish everything. Slowly add tasks to their timetable. Remember to always start with small and simple things like folding their blanket as soon as they wake up so that they don't get overwhelmed and burnt out immediately.
Cleaning after you use items or even a facility is very important. This not only applies to things at home but in public places as well. Piling up your dishes after eating out teaches the children to be neat and respectful in restaurants. They will also most probably grow up to be courteous towards Blue and Pink Collar workers. Showing them where to throw their trash properly is also important. Properly guiding your children to maintain cleanliness everywhere will manifest in their lives.
The hearts and minds of children are comparable to soil: ready to absorb anything and everything they are given. Whatever you plant into those precious souls will grow with them until they are old. Choose to plant the character of cleanliness and environmental consciousness. Start them young! It may be difficult at the beginning but it will be a value they will forever keep with them. And no more stepping on Legos for you!