Wish to have kids who tidy up before / after home practice (and playing), without nagging? This post is for you.
Recently, a mum led a discussion on getting kids to put their clothes into the laundry basket. Nagging didn’t work for her girls.
I’ve 3 boys aged 6 years old and under. No such problem. No nagging needed.
Before starting a home practice (or home learning session), it’s important to have a neat, tidy and inviting learning area. So my kids must tidy up in the morning.
After each session, it’s also important (at least in our home) to return the learning area back to the same neat and tidy state. Seriously, I get a big headache if the house is in a mess and accidentally stepping on toys / materials is totally not fun at all.
Anyway, the key is: Use natural consequence.
From baby and toddlerhood onwards, I’d teach the child to help put clothes into the laundry basket, put toys away and help fold the blanket.
1. Putting clothes INTO the laundry basket
At a certain age, they may decide not to bother, so I tell them I only wash clothes IN the laundry basket. If they clothes are outside, I’d just shove them to a corner to accumulate. Or I suggest they can handwash their own clothes in the sink. If anyone runs out of clothes to wear, think of a way out.
(At the same time, make sure they only have 3 to 4 sets of clothes in the drawers. Hide all the rest. Soon, clothes will run out.)
2. Keeping toys
For keeping toys, I give a time limit. At the agreed time, if I still see toys lying around: “Oh… looks like nobody likes these toys. It’s ok, mummy will keep them AND keep them away to my secret place for a l…o…n…g time until someone likes the toys enough to keep them properly.”
This is usually followed by a rush of “I like the toys!” and mad-keeping.
3. Making the bed
For making the bed, if I appear at the said time every morning and see messy blanket / pillow / bolster / soft toys: “Oh… Look like no one likes them, so you don’t need to use them, mummy will keep them away. It’s ok, you can sleep on a bare bed, so there’s nothing to tidy up in the morning.” Say with a big smile.
This is usually followed by “I want the blanket / pillow / bolster / teddy!” and mad-tidying.
So the key is “natural consequence”. If I can handle 3 little boys, so can everyone. All the best!
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