Saturday, November 3, 2007

Clean-up Magic

Parents often say to their child's Montessori teacher, "At school my child is involved in caring for his classroom but at home I can't get him to help out. How can I encourage my child to clean up at home?" I have a two part answer for those of you wondering this. 1.) School is not home. (Please read my earlier post Montessori At Home) And 2.) It's natural for children to feel overwhelmed when they are asked to 'clean up'. Sometimes a job can feel more manageable when it is broken down into steps, smaller specific tasks. Here are my suggestions.
Ask your child to help you come up with a list of things that need to be done to make the room clean. Here are some (bed room) clean up ideas:
  • Return books to shelf
  • Put dirty laundry in hamper
  • Return blocks to block bin
  • Smooth comforter on bed
  • Arrange stuffed animals
You get the idea. Write or draw (with your child's help) each job on a separate index card. As if you were doing a magic trick, hold the job cards face down fanned out like a deck of cards. You might even make a drum roll sound and ask your child to pick one card. Read the task aloud. For ex: "Return books to shelf." Watch as your child will make the books "disappear" from the floor! When each task is done, ask your child to pick a new card. Pick a card for yourself, too. Your children may worry that you will expect them to do all the work of cleaning up. If you work with your child, doing one chore while your child does another, the time will go faster and you have an opportunity to have fun with cleaning up. Enjoy your time together and have fun! Presto, clean-up Magic!

1 comment:

msmithgu said...

Thank you!

The idea of breaking down chores into smaller, less-daunting tasks works. My daughter and I were getting frustrated with one another about cleaning up a giant mess of toys in the living room. Once I began re-presenting the chore as a string of fun, quick actions, we both became more engaged and had fun!

Today I learned it works great for both two-year-olds and adults.

Thanks again!


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