When it comes to curating an interest in cleaning with your children, it may seem like an impossible task – especially when it’s hard enough for the adults of the world to motivate themselves to clean.
However, using the right techniques, it is possible to gently introduce cleaning as a task that is not to be feared, and teach your children that it is actually a highly valuable life skill, where there is also plenty of enjoyment to be found.
While this won’t be an easy journey, there are so many benefits to softening your children’s approach to cleaning up, as it can help them develop a sense of responsibility for their domain, and adopt standards that will enable them to function more effectively at all stages of their development.
As well as this, having children that clean up after themselves is essentially a parent’s dream, particularly as there are usually so many other jobs that need doing rather than cleaning up easily preventable mess.
Read on to find out more about how you can cleverly introduce an interest in cleaning to your children.
Encourage their natural curiosity
With essentially any skill, it is beneficial to start at an early age – this is when the brain is most malleable and responsive to change, as well as the fact that information is stored more easily and therefore recalled more effectively at a later date.
This is especially true when applied to our children’s perceptions of what type of task or activity is fun – and what isn’t. Particularly in the early years of childhood, at around the age of a toddler, their natural curiosity is at its highest.
Often, toddlers are bursting with energy and a desire to not be left out – meaning that getting them involved in small aspects of your cleaning is a win-win scenario for everyone.
Keep it realistic
Unless you’re the beneficiary of a miracle, it’s unlikely that your young one will embrace cleaning as their favourite new hobby – but this isn’t an issue, as keeping expectations realistic is an important part of your approach to introducing the importance of cleaning.
Small, simple tasks are necessary, as you want to avoid them being anywhere near cleaning products or surfaces such as workstation desktops. Allowing them to interact with the process, even if this is completely non-consequential to what’s going on cleaning-wise, is an effective step in softening their attitude later on in life.
Don’t use cleaning as a punishment
One of the ways of certainly pushing your child towards cleaning apathy and/or resentment is by using the task as a punishment.
Stereotypically, telling a child to tidy their room can be a way of letting them know they have stepped out of line, but this creates negative associations between themselves and the act of tidying up – setting them up on the backfoot for later in life, and setting the pretext for further struggles during their upbringing.
Instead of creating this early negative association, try to gently communicate that it’s an important part of everyday living while making it as fun and engaging as possible.