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Teaching Your Child to Clean!|
Copyright 2004, Pamela Cole Harris
When you call 911 because there is a distinct and suspicious
odor in the neighborhood and the culprit turns out to be two
pairs of sneakers, three pairs of underwear and a dozen or more
hotdog remnants of unknown origin and vintage found under your
child's bed, it's past time to get your child's room organized!
When your child has gotten lost for hours in the mounds of
clutter trying to find his way from the bed to the door, it's
past time to teach your child to organize himself! But if you
haven't reached that stage yet, there is still hope!
Here are some tips to help you teach your children neatness
1. Your child learns by example. If the only clear area of
your home is the path from the sofa to the television to
the refrigerator and back, then it's time to commit to
organizing your home! Make the process a family project
so that your children can learn that everyone must pitch
in to keep the home tidy.
2. Establish a routine and stick with it! Teach your child that
beds are made and toys are picked up every day. It is easier
for a child to clean a room a little every day, rather than
be faced with a huge mess all at once.
3. Provide plenty of storage - shelves, plastic storage
containers, hampers, etc. Create a special storage area
out of a plastic storage unit made for storing garden tools.
Attach laundry bags in colorful colors to the hooks meant
for rakes and shovels. Spray paint the unit in a cheerful
color to match the room. Voila! A fun storage area!
4. Reward your child's cleaning and organizing efforts with
fun! Make a checklist of tasks with a reward when the tasks
are completed such as permission to watch a favorite show,
time to play a favorite computer game, a special story time
with you or staying up an hour past bedtime. Simple rewards
such as these will provide an incentive to keep up the good
work! Make a game of cleaning! This works especially well
with young children. A game of "Pick Up" to see which of you
can pick up more clothes within a certain time limit or a
game of "Hide the Clothes in the Hamper" will make cleaning
5. Be specific. Telling a child to "clean that room" can set
the stage for failure and frustration. The task may seem
overwhelming! But telling your child to pick up the clothes
which are on the floor allows your child to focus in on a
specific, achievable task.
6. Limit the amount of "stuff" your child has. Once a month, go
through your child's room together and give toys and clothes
that have been outgrown and are no longer needed to those
less fortunate. Not only will your child's room stay cleaner,
but they will learn a valuable lesson in sharing and giving.
Although you may think it inevitable, the process of keeping
your child's bedroom clean need not be a war! If you are
consistent with the rules, your child will learn what is
expected and do it (eventually!). If you are inconsistent,
you have already lost the battle! Better stock up on flashlights
and compasses in case you need to find your way to their closet!
The article on this page is Copyright © 2004, Pamela Cole Harris
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