How To Teach Children To Pick Up After Themselves

How To Teach Children To Pick Up After Themselves

Do you feel as though you’ve possibly stepped on your very last Lego before you just lose it? Well, the days of feeling like an unpaid maid in your own home are about to change. No more navigating along floors littered with games and toys, improperly discarded plastic juice box straw jackets that stick to the bottom of your feet, and mystery agents stuck to the walls. That leotard for gymnastics that your child just has to wear tonight is nowhere in sight?

Guess what, it is now all their responsibility. Here’s how to change the tides; a fun way to lighten your load while teaching your children valuable life lessons. Every family member can benefit from a clean and organized space. It is comforting to know that your home can always be ready for company in a matter of minutes when you follow these easy rules.

  • Discuss the importance of caring for your treasures and having pride in your space.
  • Create an incentive chart as a reward program.

A great way to do this is to sit down and make the chart out together at the kitchen table. You can offer monetary rewards, play dates, trips to the park, skating rink or the movies. It is a great chance to use your imaginations and brainstorm. They will feel excited to be part of the creative process and take pride when they are rewarded.

  • Turn on music that is age appropriate and will get them excited to move and groove.
    • This makes cleaning up feel less like a chore and more like a party. When the tunes they like are on, be it the soundtrack to Annie, Les Miserables, or Pit Bull and One Direction, everyone lightens up when their jam comes on and the right tune can put a spring in your step, making cleaning go that much quicker.
    • Give each child two small laundry baskets. Personalize these baskets together with his or her name. Explain to them the importance of using one basket for laundry and the other for picking up their toys and personal items.  When their laundry basket is full, they are to bring it down to the laundry room for washing. When the laundry is cleaned and folded they are responsible putting it away in their drawers and closets. This will give them confidence in knowing where exactly the items they need are being put away and save you trips to and from, or up and down to the children’s rooms.
    • Baskets for toys and personal items are important to keep their special items safe and separated from their siblings. They can learn responsibility for picking up and putting away their own property.
  • Give hugs, high fives and praise for a job well done when successfully completed.
    • Make a very big deal about your children’s accomplishments when all is said and done.  Children love praise and it is a great incentive to keep the routine as a reward program for them.  Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated.  When your main job is just being a kid it is important to get recognition for a job well done.  Positive feedback is essential for a children’s sense of well being and self confidence.
  • Decide together which friend to invite over for a play date or family and friends for a visit to show-off your sparkling place.
    • Now it is time to show off all of their hard work.  They can take pride in their surroundings and feel confident that when they bring their friend up to show them their prized wrestler, or favorite doll, that it will be just where it is supposed to be, put away in it’s proper place.

So, what will you do with all of your free time? Enjoy life! The minutia of laboring over loads of laundry and picking up after others is now a shared effort. When you make it a fun part of your daily life everyone will feel more of a sense of pride, purpose and accomplishment.