Did you know that children actually enjoy the proud feeling they get after cleaning up their play area in their school? After playing with their toys while listening to their teachers’ requests, they happily keep them back in the respective boxes. It’s fun to see how enthusiastically they help their friends to keep them back in the exact spots from where they picked it up. It shows they have a sense of responsibility and are good at tidying up places. They just need to feel that it is their right to do so. At home, here are a few ideas parents can try to encourage their children to keep their rooms clean.
- Lead by example
As a parent, you may walk into their room, and as they are looking on quietly, pick up the thrown around clothes, chocolate wrappers and toys to put them back in their places. After doing this for a few days, you can see that your children would have started tidying up without you telling them. Of course, when you notice they have made you proud, do not forget to acknowledge that.
- Communicate clearly
Parents can show and tell their children where each item should be through a conversation. Instructions may sound strict and could lead to outburst of anger. Instead, healthy dialogue could get the work done.
- Use external influencers
In some cases, using your child’s favourite toy character as a puppet or person who watches their good deeds could be very motivating. For example saying, “Today Spiderman said he is glad because he saw you putting the chocolate wrapper in the trash bin.” You may use a smiley face on the Spiderman to show your child that he is indeed happy.
- Keep things organized
Children love to keep their things in boxes, shelves, bags, and drawers. If they have access to such storage areas or organizing boxes, they are sure to place them there. You can notice their excitement when they explain to you about where they have kept their things. It also helps them with sorting skills and sensory skills such as hard and soft, big and small, etc. If you can label the boxes or shelves, it would also improve your child’s reading (if already a reader) and language skills.
- Set a time for cleaning up
You can tell your children that you expect them to do the tidying up every day at a particular time. This would instil a sense of discipline from a very young age. Children should know that they should have a clean room before going to bed, and it is good to have one. Constant positive reinforcement may be necessary until they get it in them.
- Try Negative rewarding
Some children may show reluctance to tidy up after themselves even after months of teaching and coaxing. Sometimes, telling them that they won’t get their favourite toy or game until they clean up could work. In other cases, moral stories where characters sort out things for each other when read out in the required tone could give your child food for thought. This also could work as a motivator to bring the best in them.