Having Children Pick Up After Themselves

Do you finding yourself constantly cleaning and picking things up?  If you do, you may want to stop and evaluate the situation.  This happened to me this past week.  I felt like I was spending most of my time cleaning and yet my house seldom looked clean and it was frustrating.   It would have been a good idea to stop and evaluate the situation but I didn’t.  I just cleaned more thinking that if I could just “catch up” I would be able to then figure out what the problem was…only I couldn’t catch up.

Then this past Thursday I pulled something in my back and could not even look down at my feet, never mind bend over to pick up the many things on my floors.  But, the mess was still there and still needed to be cleaned up.  So I started finding out who had created the mess and having them clean it up.  Seeing the slowness of response in the children and the surprise when I informed them that they would have to pick it all up because I could not help made me realize what was going on.   I was cleaning up after all 5 of my children constantly!!

It is easy to slip into a pattern of cleaning up after your children without realizing it.   It’s often easier and faster to pick it up yourself….that is at first.  It eventually catches up with you.

There are a number of benefits to having your children clean up after themselves…both for them and you.

1) They learn responsibility.  Requiring them to pick up after themselves teaches them to be responsible.  If you make a mess, you clean it.  You don’t leave it for someone else to pick up for you.  This will get them far in life….especially with their spouses. 🙂

2) They learn to evaluate things.  When they know they’ll have to pick up whatever they take out, they start evaluating what and how much they want to take out at a time.  Suddenly dumping out the whole box of legos is not as appealing as it was before when mom would be the one cleaning it up.  My son actually said to me “Mom, I think we need to get rid of some toys because there’s just TOO many to clean up”.  Sounds like a good plan to me. 😉

3) Mom will be less stressed because everything does not fall on her shoulders.  You know the saying “many hands make light work”?  Well, it’s true.  If everyone is helping out and cleaning up after themselves, you will not have to spend your whole day cleaning.

4) Everyone will be SO much happier! 🙂


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