This article, entitled "Get Your Child to Clean Up," comes from Liz Hayes, MomsEveryday blogger from Central Wisconsin.
Kids are messy no matter what their age. If your child refuses to clean up after himself, you need to spring into action before it’s too late. When a child learns to pick up after himself and clean up messes, he learns responsibility. This is a trait that will suit a child well as he grows.
MAKE IT FUN
Even small children can learn how to pick up after themselves. If they can take the block out of the bin, they can put it back. Make it a game. Have your child toss the soft toys into the toy chest like they’re shooting basketballs into a hoop. If you have multiple children, see who can put the most toys away in two minutes.
Toddlers don’t necessarily understand what it means to ‘clean up.’ Explain that after we read a book it goes back on the shelf or that when we’re done putting the puzzle together it goes back in the box. Show them how it’s done and invite them to help.
MAKE IT A ROUTINE
Certain chores can be done at certain times every day. Explain that before naptime we put away the toys, or that before bedtime we put our clothes in the hamper. When we spill water, it gets wiped up right away. Set a good example.
PERSONALIZE STORAGE CONTAINERS
Write your child’s name on a bin or toy chest and have them help you decorate it. You can even draw pictures of what is supposed to go inside. If they realize it’s where their things go, they may develop some sense of ownership and be more willing to maintain it. While you’re at it, make sure there’s a place for everything to be put away.
While you’re child grows into a teenager, getting him to clean can be extra challenging. It may be beneficial to ask him to divide his room into quadrants and tackle one at a time, or to start with cleaning up garbage and then moving on to putting away clothes. If he still refuses to clean up, put something on hold. For example, he can’t use his cell phone until his laundry is done.
Whatever you do, do not clean his room for him. He’ll then realize he can let his room turn into a hot mess and you’ll eventually clean it up. And if nothing you do works and you can’t stand the sight of his room, close the door.