Once your little one is on the move, they will usually want to be involved with cleaning and tidying the house with you. This doesn’t mean they will actually be able to be of practical help. However, this is a good time to involve them in some small ways and to foster a positive attitude towards the housecleaning process.
You must ensure that older children all play a role in cleaning and tidying the house. It will help to foster a sense of independence and limit the expectations that someone else will do it for them. You will usually find that older children will take on tasks that they are comfortable with and that you will need to encourage them to broaden their horizons when they are cleaning and tidying.
Set the tone
You may find the routine of cleaning and tidying a real annoyance or you may appreciate the benefits it creates. Regardless of your stance, it is important to model a positive attitude about cleaning and tidying to your little ones. They absorb your words and expressions very easily and will adopt them themselves quite quickly. Create a sense of adventure about cleaning and tidying. Work on reinforcing the satisfaction about a job well done and your little one is likely to do the same.
A crawling baby, while well-meaning, is not going to be particularly helpful with cleaning and tidying the house. However, you can involve them in small ways and make them aware from early on about the importance of helping round the house. Have some tubs for their toys that are wide and shallow. You can encourage them to spend time each day putting their toys and activities back in them.
Older children can play a bigger role in helping with cleaning and tidying around the house. It’s important to walk the line between getting them involved and not overloading them. You know your own child best and what they are capable of. Think about this carefully when you are getting them to help. They can do things like making their own beds, unpacking the dishwasher or clearing the table after dinner.
Sit down with your school-age children and talk with them about ways they feel they can help out with cleaning and tidying. They may often surprise you. It’s worth drawing up a family chores chart so that everyone knows what they are expected to do and so that you can keep tabs on their involvement as well.
Follow it up
If you have allocated cleaning and tidying tasks to your children, make sure they carry them out. Some tasks might need to be left for them to do on weekends, particularly if you have busy days during the week itself. However it is important to gently remind them to carry out those tasks and positively reinforce them when they do so.
If you are flying out the door in the morning, take two minutes to scan the bedrooms. Praise them if they have made their beds and put their dirty laundry in the wash basket. If they haven’t, then instead of saying “Why haven’t you made the bed and put the laundry in the basket?” instead ask them “When are you going to make your bed and sort your laundry?” That way you are reminding them of their responsibilities but also giving them the chance to find a time frame so that they can get the task done as well.
It is an on-going process in getting your children involved in cleaning and tidying the house. Remember to focus on being positive and encouraging of their efforts. This is part of the bigger picture where you are fostering a sense of independence and helping them to learn valuable life skills as well.