Aurora ceaselessly focuses on providing our children with the best values and skills to aid their journey through life. A great occasion to help us in our mission is Clean Up Australia Day. This day enforces the development of good habits in us and our children that will aid our environment and futures tremendously.
This Sunday marks the 32nd Clean Up Australia Day which is dedicated to preventing rubbish from building up in our environments and taking away from its natural beauty. Therefore, in order to achieve solid prevention, this national event emphasises the importance of each ones’ societal duty to tidy shared outdoor spaces and indoor spaces such as our homes.
Unfortunately, many often look at cleaning up as a tedious chore that is not fit for a child. However, cleaning can be a great activity for children and rather enjoyable with the right approach as the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks especially for our developing little ones. For instance, cleaning can be very therapeutic, stimulating, calming, and a unifying experience for them as it helps them feel like a contributing member of a community, carrying out valuable duties. And we explore why this kind of activity, in particular, will help our children turn into better adults.
Why is cleaning up good for our children both now and later in life?
Research shows that when children are given some responsibility to look after their surroundings and themselves, their minds are able to process information at a higher rate. We must look at cleaning up —whether it be outdoors or inside the home, as a learning opportunity that is no different from any other learning activity they would participate in at a school or centre.
Accordingly, taking the time daily to slowly show our children how they can participate in cleaning activities like making their bed, putting toys away, or wiping down a counter with a diluted and safe cleaning solution, will gradually interest them to do other tasks that are usually done by adults as they become bigger like sweeping, mopping, or helping out with the dishes. Doing so helps them build stronger values for the environment, consequences, order, and work. These simple tasks urge them to learn principle values and skills that will make them become more independent in life.
Correspondingly, encouraging participation in day-to-day tasks helps our children become more responsible as they grow older and instils a healthy desire to be part of the real world whilst caring for it. And not only does organisation and cleanliness aid in building character, it also helps in administering success academically as it makes minds sharper by inducing the ability to think clearer in clear spaces.
Although some may state that cleaning was not always a part of a child’s upbringing and therefore probably won’t contribute much to intellectual progression, it is important to note that this isn’t an idea that has only risen recently. In the early 1900s, Maria Montessori stressed the importance of learning practical life skills in her curriculum —which Aurora adopts, as it prepares children for their higher education, helps them adapt to different environments, and ingrains great inner satisfaction. To support that, much later in 2013, a research scientist and professor at Indiana University in America, conducted a study that found that individuals with clean houses were physically and mentally healthier than others. The study also proved that house cleanliness positively advanced an individuals’ physical health more than walking as an exercise.
How can we encourage this?
In order to reap these benefits for our children, they must want to participate in cleaning activities willingly. And in order to build their interest, we can subtly encourage them by first, leading by example. We can show them how to carry out a chore in an easy manner and soon enough they will want to join in as well.
The younger the child, the more intrigued they will be in what adults are doing as opposed to being distracted by other activities and gadgets when they are older and have more interesting things to do. Thus, simply asking children in their early years to help you will show good results especially if they get to choose the type of task they want to help out with.
Once they have observed adults carrying out such tasks and have started helping out, we can encourage them to continue these activities by making it a part of their daily routine. Later on, these chores will slowly but surely morph into a good habit.
In some situations, getting children to help out in cleaning can be difficult. We can use this opportunity to explain to our children the importance of taking care of personal and public environments, as well as why it is good to be clean and have order.
Additionally, if that doesn’t get much out of it, this is also when we can refer to cleaning as tasks that can sometimes be rewarded perhaps with extra playtime, a trip to the park or a friend’s house for example.
Therefore, we can safely deduce that encouraging our children to participate in cleaning activities promotes productivity, critical thinking, and the construction of strong values. As the saying goes, “a clear space is a clear mind”, and we can imagine what wonders a clear mind can do.