Friday, November 13, 2009

Clean-Up Time: Your Child’s First Job

I am a big believer in giving kids responsibilities at a very young age. At two years old, your child is fully capable of helping clean up his toys, and he will enjoy the independence and feeling of usefulness that accompanies the task.

Clean-up time is the perfect chance to promote independence, both at school and at home. Not only do kids do a great job cleaning up, but they love the challenge. In school, we make clean-up time fun. There are two songs that encourage the kids to give it their all. The first is an old standby:

Clean up girls,
Clean up boys,
Put away your blocks and toys,
And don’t forget the little dolly’s cup,
That’s the way that we clean up.

Once they get started, they want acknowledgement for their hard work. That’s where the second song comes in:

I like the way that _(child’s name)__ is cleaning up,
I like the way that ____ is cleaning up,
I like the way that ____ is cleaning up,
Here at school today.

Heaven forbid we leave a child out, he is quick to demonstrate his cleaning prowess. The children work especially hard to be sure we sing their names.

As a parent, it is your job to teach your children how to be a contributing part of your family, as well as a contributor to the greater community. Each person must take some responsibility in being a productive part of their world. The sooner your child accepts this responsibility, the easier it will be for him to continue to find new ways to help out. First, it’s cleaning up his toys, but soon he can help set the table, put away non-breakable groceries, make his bed, and the list goes on and on. He will feel very proud of his accomplishments as he demonstrates that he is an important helper in his family.

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