For many children, playtime is their favorite time of the day! But did you know that play is not only fun, but also an important part of the childhood experience? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “[T]he many forms of play enrich a child’s brain, body, and life in important ways.” Overall, creative play not only allows a child to learn about themselves, but also, learn about others and the world around them.
But while playtime is an essential building block of the childhood experience, equally important is learning to clean up after the fun.
Encouraging children to clean up after themselves helps them develop a lifelong sense of personal responsibility. When children put things away when they are finished with them, they see the relationship between cause and effect: When I make a mess, someone has to clean it up! They begin to understand that the upkeep of shared spaces requires everyone to do their part. When children develop a sense of being a part of something bigger than themselves, they are more apt to develop compassion for others – from the classroom to the boardroom.
Where to start? First, keep in mind that young children in particular are often eager to help out. So, encourage and praise their efforts, even it if takes quite a bit longer than if you did it yourself! Remember, you’re in this for the long haul. Second, role-model good cleaning habits whenever you can.
Additionally, check out some of these fun clean up books to read together!
- “The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room” by Stan Berenstain
- “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr Seuss (consequences of our messiness on others)
- “Mouse Mess” by Linnea Asplind Riley
- “Just a Mess” by Mercer Mayer
- “Franklin is Messy” by Paulette Bourgeois
- “Messy Jesse” by Paula Bowles
- “Jasper and Joop A perfect Pair: One Tidy, One Messy” by Olivier Dunrea
- “Peg + Cat Peg’s Messy Room” by Jennifer Oxle
- “Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth” by Kate Klise