Do you feel like your house is buried in dirt and clutter, and every time you turn around your children are making the situation worse? And, with COVID-19, are you trying to be more diligent with cleaning and sanitizing your home’s counters, doorknobs, and heavily trafficked areas as well as your children’s toys?
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “Part of the solution to keeping your house clean, organized, and sanitized is getting your children involved in the process from an early age.”
Here are some tips to consider:
Teach Toddlers to Pick Up
Anderson says toddlers should grow up knowing that they need to pick up after themselves. This means putting their toys away before naptime and at night, as well as putting their clothes in the hamper when they get ready for bed.
“At first, you will need to assist your toddlers with these tasks, but over time it will become a habit for them. Also, by instilling these responsibilities in your children at an early age, you will find that you need to remind them less and less to complete these tasks as they get older.”
Expand A Preschooler’s Role
According to Anderson, as children get older, they can have greater involvement in keeping a house clean, but parents need to have realistic expectations.
Anderson says you should ask your preschoolers which household tasks they would like to help with. Ideas include emptying garbage cans, wiping off counters and doorknobs with bleach wipes, dusting a room, sweeping the steps, and making their beds each morning.
Once you decide what tasks your children will be doing, work together to create a chart listing them. Then, when your children complete the tasks on their chart, check them off, so they can see their accomplishments.
“Using a chart can be great motivator for preschool children, especially if they earn a sticker or some other reward like a small allowance for completing the tasks on their charts.”
Make It Fun for School-Agers
Anderson adds, as children get older, the key to having them continue to help around the house is to keep the tasks fun and not be too demanding.
“Children of all ages need to know you appreciate their assistance, but school-agers, in particular, need to be told how much you value their help.”
Likewise, if parents can make the tasks at hand fun for school-agers, they are more likely to get done.
“Tell your children they can wear their headphones to help pass the time when they are performing their cleaning tasks and be realistic with your expectations. Do not expect perfection. Just be happy when the job is completed, and things are better than they were.”
Anderson adds another way to instill responsibility in school-age children is to put them in charge of cleaning their bedroom and the bathroom they use. “If you do this, you will find your children will tend to be neater, because they know that, ultimately, they will be responsible for having to clean up the messes they make.”
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other childcare providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 S. 108th Street in West Allis. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.