Any parent would admit that it’s normally difficult to keep their homes tidy and neat, especially when you start having children. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO to a company of accountants for doctors or you run your local Peddler’s Post. If you have kids at home, you know what we’re talking about. It’s not that they are a bane to your existence and to your home’s cleanliness but it’s just a reality that everyone is faced with: children equals mess.
Sure, there are exceptions to this rule but generally, when you have a house with kids around, keeping things clean and orderly is a bit of a challenge.
The thing is, you don’t need to settle for this. You can inspire and motivate your kids to be clean and orderly around the house without being stern or without you telling them “Because I said so.”
If you show them the value of keeping and maintaining clean surroundings at an early age, if you show them the path in which they should go, they will not depart from it, even when they become adults.
Motivating the Kids
When it comes to kids, it is harder to motivate them with values alone. Pulling rank and being imposing can sometimes end up in fear or resentment or, in some cases, both. As parents, it would be great if our kids had the initiative to clean up after themselves and help keep the house clean without us getting mad or frustrated at them.
You have to keep in mind that kids are smart and that they know when you’re mad, disappointed, frustrated, or a mix of it all.
You need to see this as a teaching opportunity — a chance for you, as a parent, to mold their character and help them become better versions of themselves. You might need to slightly adjust your expectations and methods but the important thing is they learn to value cleanliness and order around the home.
Why is it important for kids to value cleanliness and order?
For younger kids aged 2 to 4 years old, simple things such as picking up dirty clothes and putting them in the laundry or opening and closing lids teach them how to get started on a task and see it through until it is done.
Kids between the ages of 5 and 8 can be entrusted with “bigger kid” chores and tasks such as making their beds, cleaning the table, and sorting the laundry.
Giving your kids chores to do around the house gives them a sense of ownership of your home. That without them to help you, things just won’t be the same. This gives them a sense of empowerment and independence which can help boost their confidence and self-esteem to take on bigger and more challenging tasks.
For pre-teens or children between the ages of 10 and 12, you can start entrusting them with several grown-up tasks and some age-appropriate chores under a certain time parameter. This teaches them to prioritize and move with urgency and not procrastinate. Tell them that they need to finish a certain task at a certain time. This is a great way to teach them how to manage their time and how to be respectful of other people’s time as well.
For kids of any age, asking them to clean their rooms teaches them how to be more organized. The less clutter there is, the lesser the chances of them not finding important stuff. This does not just apply to their rooms, but if they are able to make a habit out of being organized, it spills over to their academics. They learn to take notes, to prioritize their to-dos, organize their bags, minimize forgetting papers for you to sign, and overall just make them function at school and around the house more efficiently.
The goal of every parent in teaching their kids how to be clean and orderly around the house should go beyond just maintaining an organized and tidy place. As parents, we should also make sure that our motivation for motivating our kids is right — that they build the right habits that will help make them more successful in life.