There are lots of reasons why it’s a good idea to get your kids into some good habits when it comes to cleaning up. The most obvious is that it’s less work for you to do, but even more importantly, study after study shows that kids who are in orderly environments do better on just about every level when it comes to social and education skills.
Set a Good Example
Does being organized make you a better parent? In short, yes! Before your kids can think about cleaning up their bedroom or their toys, take a look at what kind of behavior you’re modeling. If you’re relatively neat, move on. If, though, the kitchen or your bedroom needs to be tidied up, concentrate on that first. It’s obvious but your kids will model your behavior and good habits start with what they see.
Teach Them Young
It’s up to you to teach your kids that playtime isn’t over until things have been put away. As kids get little bit older, they can easily learn that the games, balls, and toys have to be put back in their rightful homes. I know it sounds rough but I’m sure you know that being a parent requires that you set the rules of the house. This is one we swear by.
Storage for Kids
But it’s hard to put things away if there’s no clear home for things. Are the shelves at kids’ height? Are there clearly designated storage areas where each toy, ball, or doll is supposed to live? If not, start setting these spots up immediately. A few colorful bins will really help. Brightly label them — and if your kids aren’t yet reading, print out pictures of the kinds of toys that live in each bin (maybe one for stuffed animals, one for blocks, one for balls, etc.).
If you make it easier for them to keep the area tidier, I promise you’ll have far fewer Lego pieces stuck to the soles of your feet. And isn’t that what life’s about?
When it comes to the bombsite often referred to as their bedroom, here are a few things that will help teach your kids to keep their room organized. You need to establish that it’s important to you that their bed is made every single day. To help them do that, get rid of the excess pillows and, if possible, position the bed so that it’s not against a wall (that makes it easier to walk around). A blanket that’s easy to pull up is key. Show them that it’s not hard at all and make this simple daily task their responsibility.
When it comes to storing and organizing clothes, you must have a laundry basket or hamper in their room or somewhere nearby. It’s not hard to get dirty clothes in there. Also, at a certain age, kids should be responsible for putting their clean, folded clothes away. That doesn’t have to be your job. You should help them do it a few times in the beginning but it’s something even very young kids can handle if shown how and where.
Let Them See
Don’t clean up without your kids being there to help. Whatever the task is — folding laundry, putting away toys, making their bed — it should be done with them present. You’re not running a resort where someone magically comes in and tidies up while you’re out lounging at the beach… this is real life and it’s never too early for your kids to learn!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.