At Smart Kids Development Center, part of the goal of our preschool and after school programs is teaching children about cleanliness and picking up after themselves. These are basic skills they need to develop before reaching early teen ages, and it’s best to start them on building positive habits early on.
These habits need to extend to the home and all other areas of daily life, and that means you as a parent need to be heavily involved. Here are some basic tactics for keeping things clean around the house with small children around.
Try to develop a daily plan of activities which will keep at least some semblance of order in the home. If kids come to know that certain habits will be part of a given day – say, they have to have all their toys cleaned up on the weekend before they can eat that special lunch you make every Saturday – they’ll start taking care of tasks like these without prompting. Routine also gives kids a better idea of when it’s playtime and when it’s time to be a bit quieter.
This can be tough in some situations, but if you’re able to wake up a few minutes before your kids, do it. This gives you a chance to shower, eat and do anything else you need to do to get right for the day – things you might be trying to sneak in between bits of cleaning otherwise. Waking up early also lets you put away any lingering toys or items left out overnight and start the day with a clean slate.
In whatever ways they’re capable, involve your kids in cleanup processes. Make it their responsibility to put away toys from an early age, and if you can make any simple household cleaning chores into fun activities for them, all the better.
A great rule many parents choose: A certain set of toys or games has to be put away before a new activity can begin. This helps instill an early sense of responsibility, plus takes a bit of the cleaning load off your plate.
Perhaps the biggest message we can give you here: Stay flexible. Rules and routines are great, but with small children, there’s simply no way you’ll be able to enforce them to the max 100 percent of the time. Pick your battles, and understand when you’re being a stickler just for stickler’s sake versus teaching an actual, long term behavior lesson.
For these or any other questions about child care or our programs, our educators at Smart Kids Development Center are happy to speak with you today.