Cleaning as an Educational Activity

Guest post contributed by Josie Pimm

Cleaning is an activity which should not be undermined. It has been incorporated in our lives since the dawn of human civilization. It’s every man’s obligation in present day’s society because now we consume more than ever and without cleaning not only we as a species but also the whole planet will perish. For us, adults, cleaning comes as a natural instinct but it’s actually an artificial one, i.e. it’s the result of a series of educational activities our parents and teachers have introduced in order to create that instinct in us. It’s our responsibility to create the same instinct in our children as well.

Let’s take Japan for example. The one country in the world which relies on students to maintain classrooms, public spaces and even the neighborhood around schools clean and presentable. If you think about it, that’s actually quite a good system. It teaches children discipline, respect, responsibility, the value of teamwork, etc. First-grade students are assisted by six graders; a part of older students’ projects is assisting youngsters. Of course, the main idea behind this method is not to eliminate janitorial systems, for, contrary to common belief, there are janitors in Japanese schools, but to teach the children responsibility respect for others’ property. And we must admit that they’ve achieved significant success in teaching those qualities among their young ones (have you seen a more disciplined nation?). The Japanese method, however, seems too weird for most nations. They could resolve to other activities incorporating cleaning which are just as educating.

Although no other country relies on students to perform the main cleaning duties in schools, most schools around the world have cleanup time routines. Experienced teachers realize that cleanup routines are just as important as playtime routines and that the former should be followed by the latter. This will teach children that upon finishing what their duties, they’ll get a treat – the right to play. Actually, routines, in general, teach us to anticipate our duties and, performing them often enough will create a habit in the child’s mind. What follows the habit is the instinct, and that’s exactly what we need to create in our children. Moreover, when giving cleanup tasks to children, it’s essential to provide them with a choice, rather simply than handing down assignments. Pick up two or three chores and let the child decide what to do – thus you’ll make the process more pleasant for them, it won’t feel like an order. Or, you could set up cleanup games. Pick an item that needs to be removed or a spot that needs to be wiped and announce a prize for removing it/wiping. This method is sometimes discarded as it could make the child too competitive, but overall it’s a good way to teach a child that cleaning could be fun, says specialist from Fast Tenancy Cleaning London.

Certainly, it’s great to have teachers develop the instinct to clean in your child (and by that children themselves learn how to be responsible, how to solve problems easily, respect others, etc.), but a parent must remember that it all begins at home. Involve your child in as much housework as possible. On top of that, communicate with your children – tell them what needs to be done and let them do it patiently and without pressuring them.

Well, cleaning turns out to be just as important in building a child’s character as is raising itself. However, make sure not to leave it solely to teachers to educate your child through cleaning, you too need to get involved in the process.

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