One of the wonderful things about kids is that they are curious, inquisitive and wondrous. They always find interest in things that are around them and manage to involve themselves in those things. Of course what this means is that they can take the tidiest room and turn it into an absolute disaster area.
Children can make the biggest mess and yet forget that they have to clean that mess up. For parents this creates a lot of frustrating moments, chasing your kids, and making threats or bribes in order to get them to restore the disaster area that they created to one that is livable again.
But kids clean up can be easy, if you take these few steps.
Make Sure They Know Where Things Go
It should be very clear to your kids wear there things go in the house. This should be dedicated boxes, bins, and shelves that hold the things and in some cases that are marked so they know where to put them properly. So make sure that you buy some dedicated storage solutions for your home. Will your kids can store all of their toys and other things that they tend to leave around the house. This way you never have to worry about them making excuse that they did not know where to put their things.
Lead by Example
Young kids love to see their parents become a part of anything they are doing and whatever they had something to do with. If you hold up a picture they just created and start making approving sounds, you will have their full attention. And if you start drawing pictures on your own they will either grab a crayon or take the one out of your hand to create a new artwork.
So one way to get your young children to clean up is to take an interest and cleaning up yourself. Start picking up things from areas where they shouldn’t be and make a really big deal out of you doing it. Let them know how much fun you are having cleaning up and even create songs around it.
Your children will understand that this is the new fun activity and they want to be a part of what you’re doing. Further you will be training them that clean-up is a part of playing with their toys. So each time they clean up they will then know that the end of playing is always clean up.
Incentivize Them to Join In
If you have older kids you might need to incentivize them to clean up after themselves. You can put part of their allowance as being contingent upon them keeping the room clean, doing the dishes, and cleaning up any messes they make around your house. Teenagers understand clearly that good behavior and Rewards are connected. Use these opportunities to reinforce those beliefs and let them know clearly that they apply. If you find that even with the incentive, they are not responding in the way that you want, continue to raise the incentive until you get the desired result.
Whether you have small kids or teenagers what is most important is that whatever approach you take to getting them to clean up after themselves, that you do it consistently. Kids learn how serious you are about a thing by the amount of focus you place on that thing. If they see that sometimes it matters to you and sometimes it doesn’t, they are likely to take the same approach. So make sure every time they make a mess, you demand that they clean up their own mess. After a while they will see your level of seriousness and clean up after themselves automatically.