Teaching your child the importance of helping out at home starts small, and they learn best from watching their surroundings Whether you have an infant or a toddler, there are minor things they can do around the house that will benefit you — the parent. In this MomViews segment, I chatted with national award-winning author Ylleya Fields on teaching children how to clean up after themselves.
MomViews:Children learn best through playtime, and it helps build their imagination. One of the book series discusses the importance of tidying up and putting things in their proper place. At what age do you feel children have a better chance of “playing along”?
Ylleya Fields: Honestly, I feel that children as young as a few months can “play along.” Whether or not they actually do what you want them to do is another story altogether. My youngest daughter is 10 months old and she is so aware. So I tell her after we are done playing that we should clean everything up that we pulled out. She doesn’t listen lol. But that doesn’t stop me from reinforcing the habit.
MV: Parents who tend to their children’s needs are more likely to have less issues communicating with them on tougher subjects as they get older. As a mom of four — three girls and one boy — how have you been able to meet their different needs?
YF: This can be quite difficult. As I have a teenager (pray for me), a tween, a sensitive 8 year old, and a rambunctious 10 month old. With four of them and one of me I do the best that I can, which is all I think that any good parent can do. I make sure everybody gets alone time (even if that’s just a car ride to the tutor), where we talk about what’s important to them. I support them in whatever endeavors they’re in. For my son that’s soccer and my daughters’ dance. And I reinforce daily that I love them and I’m here.. and really isn’t that all that matters in the long run that they have someone that they know they can count on?
MV: Children are going to lose things. Whether it is the remote control to the TV room or their favorite sippy cup, it will eventually turn up in unexpected places. How does cleaning up help lessen the chances of losing items?
YF: Cleaning up is essential to not losing things! The saying goes a place for everything and everything in it’s place. The logic behind that is simple. If you put it back you will always know where it is.
MV: Are there any tips you would offer a mom who wants to introduce the importance of tidying up to her toddler?
YF: Repetition, repetition, repetition. Children love/need structure. And what is structure if not the repetition of daily activities? So if you want to get kids to learn to clean up, you have to reinforce it every time they play.
Thank you for stopping and reading this MomViews segment. If you or someone you know would like to share their story and/or tips on motherhood, feel free to reach out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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