Introducing Healthy Home Habits in Kids

See also: Children's Informal Learning

Healthy habits build healthy homes, provided that healthy habits are not confined to elders of the house as kids must also contribute.

As a parent, it is important for you to help your child identify healthy food, cleanliness and physical activity habits.

Kids, not only learn from what you teach them as an instructor, they grasp well when they see you in action, performing your daily chores.

You should always encourage your child to assist in your routine tasks, minding their age of course!

Although there is no fixed protocol to get these little monsters to work and clean their mess, here are some tips and tricks to begin with.

Be a Good Role Model

Parents are any child’s first mentors or idols. They look up to you for every little thing that you do, be it your eating, cleaning or physical schedule.

They observe your activities closely and try to imitate them. Therefore, follow the advice you preach. Simultaneously, motivate them to clean as your kids might otherwise not like this habit. If they find it boring, tune into one of their favourite songs while they assist you at work. Or just help them wear real clothes and dress down to comfortable footwear, so that they know they have work to do.

Teach Them to Clean

Just like adults have a probation period in a job, children too require time-bound training nearly every day.

Get them involved in house cleaning practices like doing laundry, cleaning floors, making their bed after they get up in the morning, washing dishes and, most importantly, clearing clutter. Gradually let them do these tasks independently under your unnoticed supervision and give positive feedback, as and when required.

Be Realistic...

You cannot expect your children to clean the carpets using a vacuum cleaner, which is just about their own size. Be practical, have the right supplies and tools with you, for example, use microfiber cloths for dusting. Keep your cleaning kits simple and child-friendly.

Manage Clutter

The untidy collection of things is the biggest hurdle while cleaning up your environment.

Clutter is jumbled and it makes cleaning tedious and confusing for the cleaner. Make cleaning simpler by teaching kids to manage and eliminate clutter by helping them identify the items that form clutter.

Ask them questions like when was the last time they used a particular item? Or are they going to need it in the future?

Their answers will help build a better understanding of scrap and no-scrap items, thus helping them manage to manage their clutter effectively.

Choose Appropriate Chores

It is hard for you to get your child into cleaning, we all know. But what we do not realise is that we give them an easy escape by handling the chores that might not fit their age or ability. Mark out what task an eight year old child is capable of, or maybe a five year old capable of? For example, children 2-3 years old can be asked to assist with making a bed or taking laundry to the laundry room, while pre-schoolers can be expected to mop wet areas with assistance or get involved in dusting. Likewise, pre-teens can be asked to wash dishes and help prepare simple meals. Apart from this, since you know your child the best, make use of your judgement to decide what they're good at.

Make a Schedule

With our lives getting busier every passing day, it becomes difficult to take time out to clean. Under the present scenario, you are left with two options:

  1. To clean as and when time permits and forget about a cleaning routine.
  2. To create a house cleaning schedule and follow it religiously.

We assume that you will go with the second option (that is why you are here reading this column) so you must establish a clear sense of how often do these cleaning tasks need to be done?

Distinguish and classify chores into a daily and weekly house cleaning schedule. Dividing your work in such a manner will reduce stress on your children, who would otherwise take it as a burden, and will help you maintain a healthy home efficiently.

Make fun with kids

Kids love fun and they learn through fun activities. So give them a score to have great times. You can arrange a kid's party or even a family party on different occasions. There can be fun learning games and activities for kids. You can buy costumes and party accessories from a reputable shop. Kids love to have fun with their favorite characters. So you can arrange costumes in different themes depending on your kid's choice.

Evaluation Chart

Now the schedule is set, what comes next is assigning tasks and tracking responsibilities.

With children, you must get your work done their way. A chore chart is a simple and fun way to get children to work and keep their home clean and organised. They are effective in monitoring results and allocating rewards.

Children also continue to get motivated through them, as they showcase their daily or weekly performance. The score would inspire your kid to top the charts and be rewarded in return for fulfilling their responsibilities effectively and on time.

Install Timers

Using a timer works well with kids as it assures them that the cleaning task is not going to last forever.

As the clock ticks, they get motivated to complete the task at hand on time. It is also not advised to get absorbed in any task without keeping a track of time. When your child knows he has to work towards keeping his home clean for only 10-20 minutes a day, he will do it faster and with a better approach. Also, when you have multiple chores to accomplish, timers help you devote appropriate amounts of time to each task

Do Not Entertain Excuses

Cleaning is something kids really don’t like, trust me!

They only take up such tasks because they are either too scared to ignore your orders or they have some selfish motive. When we are forced to do something, we are likely to make excuses and find an escape route, and kids being very efficient at this will surely seek exemption.

It is up to you to deal with such excuses and make them understand their responsibilities. You might also have to entertain their genuine reasons at times, but ensure they do not make it a habit of it.

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Implement ideas from this article and, as parents, see your kids share the load and lead a healthy life, adopting a strict cleanliness schedule throughout their lives.

About the Author

Kendal Smith shares diverse perspectives on the home improvement industry in US. She devotes her time to writing on issues such as encouraging people to use organic products at home, making homes look beautiful on a low budget, and house cleaning services in Chicago.