Household chores, or how to teach your child to clean up after himself?
DevelopmentRaising a child
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Household chores, or how to teach your child to clean up after himself?

Kids love to make messes – it’s natural and even necessary in their development. But how to teach them to clean up after themselves? There are ways – see which ones!

As much as kids love to make messes and pull out all the toys in the middle of the room, most of them don’t like and don’t want to clean them up afterwards. This is a torment for many parents who don’t know how to deal with it and how to teach their offspring good habits. We check what are the effective ways to teach cleaning!

Remember: mess and tidiness? For toddlers there is no difference!

It is better to start learning tidiness as early as possible. It is worth explaining to a toddler what a mess is and why it is necessary to tidy up (e.g. so that no toy is lost). We must understand that a one- or two-year-old child does not distinguish between mess and order. To them, toys in the middle of the room look just as good as those stacked on a shelf. That’s why when we play with our kids, let’s show them good habits – for example we took a teddy bear, played with it, and put it back where it belongs. Remember that toddlers watch and imitate adults

Don’t blackmail or yell

Blackmail, such as “if you don’t clean your room – you won’t go out in the yard” is not a good method. Such words only confirm our child in the belief that cleaning is something terrible, a punishment and not a very pleasant activity. Much better is patience, encouragement and conversation.

Cleaning in the form of play

You can show your child that cleaning up can be fun. For example, whoever cleans up the toys first wins. This is the best method if you are the parent of more than one child. This trick works great, the kids are happy and the room is cleaned

Help the child

Children love to do all kinds of activities together with their parents. That’s why it’s a good idea to suggest cleaning together. If we tell the child to put the toys in order and leave the room to do our chores, we can be almost sure that when we come back, we will find the room in the same state as before

Besides, a toddler who starts cleaning will often come up with an idea to play with a toy car or blocks and will simply forget that he was supposed to clean or will intentionally postpone it

During shared tidying, it is a good idea to use divisions, e.g. the child arranges cars and the parent arranges teddy bears. However, if our child prefers stacking by passing, e.g. mom or dad passes a toy and the child puts it away, it is also worth doing so

Invest in colorful boxes

Colored boxes are a real hit to keep your child’s room organized. The child can choose in which toys, cars, blocks etc. will “live”. Thanks to the boxes, tidying up is also much faster, so the toddler doesn’t get bored either

Stimulate your child’s imagination

A good way to encourage your offspring to clean is to turn this duty into a game. For example, offer the child to imagine himself as an excavator, bulldozer or garbage truck, and the toys are, for example, building materials that need to be tidied up before construction or garbage, which, after all, is segregated. Of course, while cleaning, there must be sounds, horns and other necessary elements

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Playing with associations and counting

If your child likes counting, you can hide toy cars or blocks and count them or sort them by color. We count aloud with the child, sometimes we can pretend that we made a mistake so that the toddler can turn his attention to us with satisfaction

It is also good to make the child associate and ask “where do we usually hide the toy cars” and give it a different place than the one where they always are. Then the child will point out where they always are. You can also put the teddy bears in the place of the toy cars, our child will probably laugh at how forgetful mummy or daddy is and put them back. The important thing is to make it fun and creative!

Main photo: CDC, source:

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