Cleaning is such an important task. It’s important to our health. It’s important to maintaining our home. So how do we get our kids to understand just how important it is, especially if they aren’t predisposed to cleaning?
Help! I want my kids to clean and know it’s important, but how do I get through to them?
Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. So, be honest with them. Just tell them exactly why cleaning is important, how it’s great for our health, how it builds good habits, and instills a sense of responsibility. Explain that bacteria and germs grow in kitchens and bathrooms aren’t clean, and that it can be a hazard to a healthy life style. Let them know that a cluttered home can be a magnet for accidents; people can injure themselves by tripping on stuff that should be put away, but wasn’t.
* Let kids know they’re an important part of the cleaning process
Kids are a part of the family, and it’s good for them to contribute to the household cleaning. Participating in the maintenance of the house instills a healthy sense of responsibility and begins teaching them a good work ethic.
* Teach them to clean up after themselves (instead of mom or dad doing it for them)
Letting our kids make a mess and simply walk away without any repercussions is one of the ways we teach them cleaning isn’t important. We can lovingly teach them from a young age that they are responsible for the messes they make. Don’t let them walk away from a mess without contributing to the clean up.
Do this by having kids put away the toys after they’ve finished playing with them. Give them the responsibility of cleaning their rooms and bathrooms (as is appropriate for their age). When they begin learning to bake and cook, have them wash the dishes and wipe down the kitchen after themselves. Don’t do it for them.
If they want to know why they have to clean up after themselves, let them know why! It’s important, too, that they don’t see cleaning as an awful, horrible drudgery. Try to make cleaning seem as positive as possible. That will go a very long way in helping kids grasp the importance of cleaning!
Of course, kids are kids, and they can’t take on the responsibility the way we adults can, but we can patiently teach them about cleaning, why it’s important, and how to do it. Teach them how to clean as they grow up; you’ll know what cleaning tasks are appropriate for their age. And even if they can’t take on the full responsibility of a cleaning chore, they can begin helping.
These are just a few ways we can begin helping kids understand why cleaning is important.