One of the most difficult things in a parent’s life is maintaining a clean and tidy house with children around. Sometimes it feels like their whole life is concentrated around making everything messy. At one point, parents just give up and accept their new life surrounded by toys, tissues, cat hair and baby food.
Well, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like this! Kids can be tricked into helping and MAINTAINING A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, you just have to know a few smart tricks. So grab a pen and let’s jump right into it!
FANTASTIC EXCUSES AND HOW DO DEFLECT THEM
Children can be extremely creative with their excuses which can be entertaining at times, but not so much when you’ve been begging them to tidy their bedroom for a full week. However, most of the time, kids might say one thing but mean the other.
Here is how you can decipher your childs’ excuses:
Excuse No 1: “I’m Very Busy”
The real problem: “Your child has a cluttered program”
The solution: Yes, it’s true there are a lot of changes and responsibilities in your kid’s life as well as in yours. If you want your day to run smoothly, then you should convince all your family members to contribute to the house cleaning process. You should treat this precisely as you treat social events or other sorts of invitations.
Sometimes you may want to postpone some of your obligations, but don’t let this be a compromise with the cleanness of your home. If you’re able to create cleaning habits while your kid is still young, you could be sure that in a short period of time they will turn into a part of its everyday life.
Excuse No 2: “You Haven’t Told Me That”
The real problem: “The expectations and consequences are not clear “
The solution: The cleaning request to your child may consist of an unclear message. What exactly does “clean” mean? One of the ways to get around your kid’s apologies is to give specific instructions on your expectations. For you “clean room” may mean no junk, no dirty laundry, no scattered belongings and an unmade bed. It will be a good idea to compile a list of specific directions.
The next step is to leave it in a conspicuous place so the kid could always check it and mark each completed task. For the older children, some of the requirements may seem too much work, which can lead to their dissatisfaction. Children learn to do their commitment in their own way, so don’t get angry if this doesn’t comply with your visions. A great solution will be to give them tips or suggestions so you could increase their effectiveness, and at the same time to have the opportunity to discover which methods work better.
Along with clear expectations, you should inform them about the consequences if the chore is not done. For example: If you don’t put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket, you won’t have clean clothes to wear. Also, there is nothing wrong if you decide to be a little tighter: “You will not watch cartoons on Saturday until you arrange your room”. Children learn faster when they are motivated.
Excuse No 3: “I Don’t Know How”
The real problem: “The child hasn’t learned or you should explain again”
The solution: If you think for a while, you will remember that for everything you’ve learned you’ve gone through a certain period of training. Often someone else has shown you the right way of doing something. You’re in the same situation with your kid. It takes some time till the child learns how to do given tasks – whether being under direct guidance or watching your actions. Start with the basics and gradually proceed to the more complex ones.
MAKE CLEANING FUN
If your kids associate cleaning time with fun time, they won’t make excuses and would even take the initiative to clean up without being told. There are several cleaning games that you can try out, as well as just playing music that they like and making sure that the whole family is involved. Here are some ideas:
- A game of musical chairs without the chairs.
Play some music that your kids have to dance to. Let them enjoy it for a minute and then stop the music. When the song is paused they need to quickly clean up or tidy an area before you play it again. Whoever manages to clean the most during their pauses can have an award of your choice. If you have only one kid, set up a limit for how many songs you can play. For example, your child will have to finish all its chores for three songs.
- The wheel of chores.
Make a cool looking colourful wheel with different household tasks on it, depending on what needs to be done that particular day. Every chore will come with a time frame. Depending on how many tasks your child manages to complete, they can have a different prize.
- The treasure hunt.
Give your child a task that they need to complete, for example, to fold the laundry. At the bottom of the pile, they will find a note that will lead them to the next task, and so on, until they reach their final destination. It can be extra time on the TV, a new colouring book, or something else you know they will enjoy.
INTRODUCE THEM TO AUDIOBOOKS
Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way of passing the time when doing something physical, whether it’s exercise or cleaning. It’s also recommended for kids that don’t have the attention span to actually read books but enjoy the stories. Get them a pair of wireless headphones and find a book or a podcast they might enjoy. In the end, you might find your kids looking for chores so that they will have time to listen to their favourite books and podcasts!
SET UP AN AWARD SYSTEM
Kids are kids, and no matter what we do, the most efficient way to make them do something is to give them something at the end. This is strongly individual for every family, but most of the time it includes more time on their phone, TV, computer or gaming console. It could be a monthly award – if they manage to keep up with their chores for the whole month, they will get a new book or a new toy.
It depends on you but we would advise you to not give them food as an award unless it’s something healthy like fruits or veggies. If your kid has an appetite for sweets or junk food, he will be motivated to clean, but it will also ruin his diet, and that is something you want to avoid.
EXPLAIN WHY YOU NEED THEIR HELP
Kids love feeling important so take your time to explain why exactly you need them to help around the house. As their parents, you probably work all day and you can’t handle everything by yourself. Make sure they know that cleaning and maintaining a tidy house is something everyone should do, and not a punishment made especially for them. This will make them feel included and important. If you have a healthy, loving relationship with your kids they would want you to be happy and rested.
Overall, talk to your children as if they are adults, and explain to them the reasons of having a tidy house. Kids are much smarter than we give them credit for, they are just very stubborn when they get told to do something just because.
- Set clear expectations of what you need them to do and explain calmly if they fail to understand the first few times.
- Emphasise their importance in maintaining a clean, tidy family home.
- Make it clear that everyone had chores and tasks that they need to do, and cleaning is not a punishment.
- Make them associate cleaning with fun by creating interesting activities.
- Be patient and don’t expect perfect results right away.