The more kids you have, the more there is to clean. Fortunately, more kids also means more help around the house. Don’t allow yourself to get trapped by the assumption that “if you want it done right, do it yourself”. Teaching your kids to clean up after themselves and to contribute to household chores will give them a sense of personal responsibility that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Here are a few household tasks that children of different ages can do to help their overworked parents.
The younger you start encouraging your kids to clean up, the better. You can actually start as early as age two. Clinical psychologist Tricia Casey Byard, Psy.D, says that “studies have shown that the second year of life is when…helping during household tasks, verbalizations such as "I can do it" or "help you", indicate that young children are aware of themselves as actors who are working with others to a common end.”
If you make cleanup time a regular part of your daily activities, and if you teach by example, they will do as you do and feel a part of something.
- Put toys away after playtime.
- Put dirty laundry in the hamper.
- Help clear dishes from the table, provided those dishes are made out of plastic.
Teach your kids a cleanup song – many pre-schools use this tool to rally the kids at cleanup time. If they are in preschool, have them sing their school cleanup song at home. If not, make one up. Your kids will love it and they will get good training for future appearances on American Idol.
Next page: 4-6 year olds