A little help can avoid a big problem … #teachyourkids

When I went to pick up Lucas from day care yesterday his teacher tells me him (and all the other 3 kids) refused to help clean up today. I didn’t make that much of a deal but I told him that he needs to help when asked to. I did it in front of her to show that she could see that her feedback was understood.

Lucas turned 3 in June and he’s still too little to understand that when he leaves a mess behind him someone will have to end up cleaning up for him. All he cares about is that his toys are there; organized or not. However I don’t want to create a messy monster in the future so every time there’s an opportunity to get him to help put his toys away or take his dirt dishes to the sink, or throw a little piece of trash in the garbage bin I have him do it.

I have been using certain techniques learned from TV shows such as Super Nanny and the ones I learned from my boss in the classroom with our students. It’s simple and the secret is being firm without being angry and being consistent without micromanage.

Here are some useful tips:

  1. Let your kids know in advance that they can play but they are expected to put the toys away before or right after a certain time (dinner, shower, etc..). I would avoid doing it right before bed time because the kid might be too tired and a simple task could turn into a war.
  2. Make sure they know where each thing is supposed to go. You can help by separating the toys and moving them closer to where they should go.
  3. If you have more than one kid you can motivate them to work as a team. It’s a great opportunity to promote sibling cooperation, teamwork and caring.If you have a single child you can be the helper. Tell him that you are going to help and ask which toys should you help with.
  4. Constantly cheer them up. Tell them that they’re doing a good job (if in fact they are) or reinforce the directions if you feel they’re losing focus. Be like a coach, cheer them up but make sure the job gets done.
  5. Praise them when they finish the job. Hugs, “good job”, high fives, etc… Make you child know how much you appreciate the help.

I know there might be days or nights that nothing will seem to work. Stay cool. Try not to lose your patience. If the job doesn’t get done as fast or as smoothly as you expected I’d recommend leave it there and get back to it later or even the next day if that’s the case. You child may cry, scream, protest but this is a small battle that it’s worth fighting. You’ll reap the benefits of it when your 15-year old knows that his stinky shoes should not be left in the middle of the living room as part of the decor.

Have a great weekend,





Posted on August 26, 2011, in Parenting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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