Lots of New Year’s resolutions center around organization and living a cleaner, healthier life. We all do it: a goal to lose weight with meal prep plans, or a promise to ourselves to clean out that cluttered, messy closet that we keep ignoring or a plan to stop accumulating so much unnecessary stuff.
Just like other self-improvement goals, helping kids learn how to be organized and cleaning their rooms is a worthy resolution. The more kids understand keeping their spaces, like playrooms, bedrooms and closets clean, the more apt they are to carry this habit throughout their lives. Because cleaning and organizing can be a daunting task, even for adults, here are some tips for helping little hands create a healthy cleaning routine:
- Break it down. Saying to your child ‘clean your room’ is overwhelming to a little mind. In their mind, this is a vast, open area with no beginning and end. Make the task seem less insurmountable by breaking it down into smaller tasks. For example, maybe ask them to pick all the socks up on their floor. When they’ve completed that task, praise them and move onto another item. You can even turn it into a game with siblings or even you and your child: ‘let’s see who can pick up the most toys and put them in this box (be specific about where they should go) in one minute….three, two, one…GO!’
- Moving on. Help them understand there’s a time to let go. Set up a donation/recycling bin for toys and clothes they no longer use or wear. Lead by example and show them items you no longer use go into to the bin to either give to others who may need it or send to the recycling center to make new things. Make it a field trip: collect items in the bin and take it to a local donation center. Let them get involved in the process!
- Be specific. Let your child know exactly what your expectations are. Don’t give vague tasks; make sure what your asking is manageable for their age. Making their bed is a great example: break down bed making into steps, such as ‘It’s time to pull the sheets up.’ ‘Now, please pull the blanket up.’ ‘Great job! Last step, put the pillows on top of the blanket.’ Once children have mastered the small steps, the bigger stuff comes easier!