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Tidying up is not something that appears to come naturally to my children. Does it for yours?
Luckily, for us all tidying up is one life skill that can be taught. Teaching our children life skills is something we should all be adding to our daily homeschool schedules. Helping to keep their homes tidy is one skill that is useful to for our children as they grow and need to take care of their own spaces and homes. It certainly is a benefit to involve our children in our clean ups sooner rather than later.
Have you ever noticed how it is the simple things that make a difference?
Isn’t it amazing how just adding a pinch of salt to the water for your boiled potatoes can make a huge improvement to their taste? How thankful you can be for a simple cup of coffee made by your partner before you get out of bed in the morning. Not to mention the feeling of gratitude and relief you feel when your child decides to put the book back on the shelf instead of on the floor!
In fact no matter who you are, as a parent, I am pretty sure that at least once in the next month you will find yourself wishing your child would put their new toys away after they’ve finished playing, fold their own clothes and put them away into their drawers and get all those empty wrappings put into the bin!
Having children help you to keep your home in order really can make a huge difference to your sanity.
Yet, tidying up can be a daunting task for children.
Honestly, it’s a daunting for me too! Seeing huge piles of clothes that need washing or a kitchen that looks like I have been cooking for the thousands can be overwhelming. That’s not to mention the additional mess that comes with homeschooling; the crafts, projects and other materials that find their way out of the cupboards.
So I can only imagine what it is like for a small child to feel like when they are asked to tackle the task of tidying up all the building blocks scattered around the living room floor!
There are a few simple methods you can use that can make teaching children to help tidy up a little easier and it turn they will make life a little easier for you too!
Simple Tips to Make Tidying Up A Little Easier For Your Kids
Tidy up together
When it comes to tidying up I make sure we do it together as a family. No one gets to sit by idoly and watch! We all help each other out. Sometimes we will each have a specific task and other times we all muck in on one job to get it done quicker but either way no one is sitting by and watching it all go on!
Not only because I think children should learn to take responsibility for the mess they have created, early on in life but also because when we work together cleaning the home becomes easier and quicker for us all.
Just see how enthusiastically kids will jump to helping you tidy up when you make it fun! Who can put the most building blocks back in the box?Who can tidy away their books the fastest? Let’s see how much of this room we can tidy up in just 60 seconds. Set a timer and go!
For smaller kids it also presents an opportunity to practice counting or colour recognition. Challenge them to pick up all the green pencils or find out how many pairs of trouser they can fit into the drawer by folding them neatly!
The more creative you can be, the more joy your children will find in helping you tidy up.
Music & Audiobooks
Stick on some music and make a cleaning dance party. Music can always help to lift our moods and get us moving! You can choose to play their favourite songs or perhaps stick on some upbeat classical music and take the opportunity to add your music appreciation session to family tidy up time!
Audiobooks are another great tool and perhaps have the opposite effect to music. Stories can be calming and if it’s one that really captures your child’s attention they will be sure to zone in. They can work quietly as they listen to their favourite stories coming to life.
Catchy Cleaning Slogans
When it comes to children, as you’ve probably uncovered for your self, long lectures or raised voices very rarely result it willing co-operation. Keep instruction short, sweet and light hearted!
We now have a few little sayings and rules that help us keep things a little tidier as we go! .
- Once you’ve read it, be sure to shelf it!
- After play Lego belongs to be in it’s tray!
- Dirty clothes? Then in the basket it goes?
- Lids on all of the pens and into the case they go with their friends.
- The quicker we tidy away, the more time we will have to play.
Since some of them are quite catchy, I find M saying them before I have even had a chance.
Have One Home for Each Thing
Having specific set homes for the items in your house will make it much easier for your children to know what expected of them. If they know all the stationary lives in a specific box or cupboard then when they are asked to put it away or when they are finished playing they don’t have to think about how or where it should go. Reducing the amount of mental and physical steps it requires for them to complete the task will make it simpler.
You can also help with this by rephrasing what it is you are asking of them. Instead of tidy your puzzle away trying giving direct specific instruction “Let’s put the puzzle pieces back in the box and put it in the cupboard please.” This way they know exactly what’s expected of them and all they have to do is carry it out.
Regular Clear Outs
It goes with out saying; the less things you own, the less their will be to tidy up! Try having a good clear out regularly. Sort out the toys, craft material and even your own possessions and get rid of the things that you and your children no longer need!
Assign Responsibility for Repeat Tasks
Giving your child responsibility over one regular task will help them become familiar with what is theirs to do. It will also help your child to develop the habit of keeping things clean tidy as they go along.
Keep it simple.
“Put your shoes in the box when you take them off.”
“Take the bath toys and put them into the tub before you get out.”
“Take your plate to the kitchen when you’ve finished eating.”
and my latest favourite, “Put the books back on the shelf when you’ve finished reading. “
Assigning your child tasks for which they take sole responsibility for, will teach them to own their actions and take care of their possessions a.
Give Them The Water
Children of all ages enjoy playing with water and for young children water play can be educational on many levels! I am yet to meet a young child who doesn’t like to play in a bowl of washing up bubbles have a bucket of water to clean down the doors and windows or even to have the chance to help mop the floors. So let your children help wash up, clean the floors, clean out the shower and do some spring cleaning tasks that involve water. There may be a little more mess to tidy up but water dries after all!
If asked to take on tasks they enjoy, children will begin to associate the words ‘cleaning’ and ‘fun’ with each other which will make it easier to get them on board with other tasks!
The Best Part..
Getting my children involved in keeping the house tidy has led to M now understanding that if he clears up as he goes along, cleaning time goes by a lot quicker; leaving more time for me to sit and play. Equally they know when they choose not tidy up throughout the day, it’s going to take us all a lot longer to get to story time in the evening!
With ensuring the children are part of the clean up processes, I can also be confident that they will have learnt skills and be well equipped to manage their own spaces and homes well into the future.
Want to make sure child has the skills they need for life?
These Kits from Skill Trek will get them off to a great start!