“When your environment is clean, you feel happy,motivated, and healthy.” ~Lailah Gifty Akita
The ability to keep a clean house is a skill that is learned, not a skill that one is born with. While it can come more easily to some as opposed to others, nobody comes out of the womb tidying like an expert. Yet there are some parents who spend their children’s lives cleaning up after them, and are then surprised at how they seem to be incapable of keeping up with any chores or cleanliness. In fact, learning how to do chores and keep up with a clean house at a young age is crucial for children developing into responsible adults. Keeping the chores age-appropriate and trying to keep them fun, giving rewards (such as getting to pick a movie on Friday night) for keeping up with weekly chores can be a great way to keep the motivation going. Here are a few ideas of age- appropriate chores that will help train them to be responsible for their own messes, so you can avoid having to clean their rooms as much as possible.
Picking up their own toys. By keeping the amount of toys you own to a minimum and organizing them in boxes, this task is made simpler. Think of how daycares organize their toys; if they can get 15 toddlers to clean up, you can do it, too!
Feeding pets. The act of feeding a pet is very simple and easy, but has huge rewards with feelings of responsibility. This is a great way for a child to learn responsibility while bolstering his or her self-esteem.
Make their bed.This you will need to help with at the beginning, as with most chores, especially when children’s arms are smaller, so they can learn how to spread the sheets. Getting into a made bed at the end of the day can make you feel refreshed and calm before bed, so getting into the habit of making their bed every morning is a very helpful skill.
Clearing the table.As a part of increasing their knowledge of table manners, have your children ask to be excused from the table and then carry their dishes away from the table and either place them into the sink or load them into the dishwasher.
Matching Socks.With children, the sock bin can get out of hand very quickly, and it’s great to have help with it. Not only will your child help you out, but matching games are helpful for their cognitive growth.
Sweeping the floor.At this age most children have the dexterity to control a full-size broom, but there are child-sized brooms as well to start off with, if your child is on the smaller side. Keeping the fun going, put on some music and dance with them while they sweep around the house.
Elementary School Age
Vacuuming.When they are big enough to be able to push around the vacuum, this is something that a child can easily own; as a plus, many of them enjoy vacuuming.
Laundry.Keep a hamper in each child’s room, and make them responsible for washing, drying and putting away their own laundry. This will greatly help with the “I have nothing to wear” debate, as they will make sure they keep the clothes they like the cleanest. Laundry pods can help greatly with washing clothes, but make sure you supervise your children, as pods are toxic if ingested.
Clean Counters.After clearing all plates from the table, have your child wipe it down with a damp rag. It can be helpful to give them a spray bottle for this, to make it more fun.