Teaching Children to Clean

I recently heard that cleaning with your children around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. And it is very true. I hear a lot of moms complaining about how they just spend hours cleaning up and it takes seconds for their kids to destroy their place. Having children is not easy and I applaud every parent in their journey in raising children. I think we can teach our children from a very young age how to clean up after they are done playing with their toys. Now, their attention span is very short and depending on their age, they might be able to do this task only for a few seconds or a few minutes. Here is what I like to do with my girls after a play date or any play time:

  • Announce the time – let your children know that it is time to clean up and all the toys need to be put away.

  • Set a timer – time the clock or play a song to let the kids know how long they have to clean up. I like to sing “Clean up, clean up” song or “ABCs” along with my kids. This way they know that this task is not forever and it will be done soon.

  • Join in the fun – help your children clean up especially the more detailed toys that requires a bit more time. Your children will see that this it is a family affair and everyone is included.

  • Be ready – have organizing tools ready like bins and baskets where your children can put stuff in. You want to make sure that everything: puzzles, board games, Legos, etc. has its “home”.
  • Celebrate – I like to give high fives to my children and treat them to a special treat. The key is not to let them know what they will if they clean up, but rather surprise them with something special for a job well done. They will enjoy the process more this way and you never know, next time they might just pick up their toys without you telling them.