clean up time the Montessori way

Clean Up Time After Their Mess in the Montessori Approach

Kids can be messy and wild and easily cause havoc wherever you put them. Keeping up with the chaos and constantly cleaning up every other minute can be frustrating. In the Montessori setting, you teach children the concept of clean up time. Learning and playing are essential but cleaning up after their mess is equally important. How can they do it? 

Discover the method of teaching kids about clean up time in the Montessori way


Common Reasons Why Kids Don’t Clean Up


Indeed, it is not the first time you have asked your kids to help you place their books and toys back on their shelves. To teach kids how to clean up better, it is essential to understand why they refuse to do it in the first place. 


They have their own sense of order

teaching kids about clean up timeKids love to keep everything in their environment as they are accustomed to. It could be their stone collection, colored wooden blocks arranged in a particular pattern, or their favorite teddy bear at arm’s reach from their bed. Their sense of order doesn’t equate to being tidy.


You are untidy and disorganized yourself

You cannot expect your kids to tidy up when you don’t tidy up the house and your stuff yourself. It’s simple; kids see adults (especially their parents) as their role models. Thus, if you want them to follow the clean-up schedule, you must show them how to do it first.


You don’t show them how to do it

As said earlier, children model their actions and behaviors from adults. Most parents clean up the house when their children are not around (or when they nap). So, if they don’t see you doing it, they cannot learn from your actions. 


Teaching kids clean up time


Start them young

Kids love to help. So please take advantage of this by making clean up time fun, engaging, and enjoyable for them. Do it with them and show them how to do it. 


Provide a place for everything

Provide a beautiful and orderly environment. 

Moreover, provide a place for everything and be specific about it. Children will only place toys and learning materials away if they know exactly where to put them in the first place. 


Put out what they can put away

If there is an excessive number of toys around, kids can easily get overwhelmed, making it difficult to ask them to clean up. Thus, minimize what is out at a time. The amount of stuff you put out depends on the child, age, and interests versus their attitude towards clean-up time. You cannot go wrong with less, though. Toddlers can quickly put away ten blocks as compared to 50. 

Also, it is best to rotate their toys and learning materials to prevent mess overload and keep them interested in their stuff. 


Break down the cleaning task for them

As with most things, cleaning can be overwhelming for a child, especially if there is a bunch of stuff to put away. This is why you need to break down the task for them. Show your little one where to start. For example, you can start picking up the bigger pieces and place them in their boxes, then place the books on the shelves. Teach your kids to sort by shapes, sizes, colors, etc. Again, make it interesting for them. 


Make clean up a routine

Be their role model

As said earlier, children learn by observing adults, so let them learn from watching you. Place their toys back into their proper places before they ask for another one. They will likely do it independently, even when you are not looking.

Also, ensure your space and the house are tidy and let them see you do the chores. 


Respect the natural pause

Children will keep playing with their toys, so you mustn’t interrupt them when they are concentrating on something to tell them to put their stuff away. If your child has already moved on from one toy, wait until they are done playing with the new one before pointing out that they should put the last one away. 


Make clean up a routine

Children learn through repetition; thus, the more you incorporate clean-up time in your day, the more they familiarize themselves and make it part of their daily routine. 


Sing a song

Again, make clean-up time a fun time for your kid. Play music or sing a song while you do it. It makes cleaning up a lot lighter and easier for children.


The takeaway

As with most things with your kids, teaching them the value of cleaning up takes time – it is a gradual process. And again, they will mess up from time to time, just like adults. And do not force it on them. If they are hungry or tired, then give them a pass. You can clean it up yourself but ask your child to stay close to you as you tidy their stuff up. This way, they are still involved in the process. 

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