Bits of paper, bits of paper
Lying on the floor. lying on the floor
Make the place untidy, make the place untidy
Pick them up, pick them up
“Pick them up, pick them up, we all need to pick them up!” I sang this nursery rhyme as memories flooded my mind on National Clean Your Room Day, being celebrated in the US on the 10th of May. I reminisced about my daughter as a young child, tearing scraps of paper into tiny pieces and tossing them onto the ground. Before cleaning up the mess, she would sing the same rhyme. She even mimicked our housemaid while mopping the floor, showing a keen interest in household chores.
Out of curiosity, I asked some fellow mothers whether their children partook in similar activities. To my surprise, a vast majority of them believed that household chores were undignified, and would not permit their children to attempt them, even if the kids expressed a desire to help.
Fast forward! Corona pandemic! And the same group of mothers found themselves in a predicament. With no domestic helpers available, everyone was homebound, and the household workload had increased substantially. Unfortunately, most family members were not accustomed to doing household tasks, although there were a few exceptions. Though we could order food online, cleaning remained a herculean task for many.
Cleaning has always been emphasized by our forefathers, especially during festivals and holidays.
But, why clean the house?
Cleaning is important as it helps to eliminate germs and reduce allergies and asthma to some extent, while also keeping pests like mosquitoes away. A clean home also improves safety, increases the quality of indoor air, and extends the life of home materials. Moreover, it reduces the time required for the next cleaning session and makes it easy to find items, such as a long-lost article during cleaning. A clean room can also improve your mood and lead to better sleep.
But I have a maid, why should l clean?
Well, it reduces stress and fatigue, provides a sense of order and control, improves focus, and regulates emotions. Additionally, you remain familiar with household items, which can save you money. Some studies even suggest that maintaining a clean environment can help regulate your diet and aid in weight management.
How do I involve my kids?
- Practice what you preach – if the kids observe you, they will follow suit.
- Divide and rule – start will smaller tasks or a single room.
- Plan some daily tasks e.g., a wet towel has to go on a dryer every day.
- Ease the work e.g., put hooks at the lower level or add extra shelves.
- Respect them when they volunteer to do a task; also respect when they are creative and are trying to make suggestions.
- Be flexible if they don’t want to clean for a day or two.
- Set time limits – if the kids are feeling lazy, they can work for a set time and then take a break.
- Praise often – be specific and descriptive.
- Cleaning together will help increase the bond between you and the kids. You can have the cleaning spree as a game or a fun competition.
- Most importantly not all days are going to be the same; share your thoughts and feelings and know theirs. Have patience – give them time to inculcate the habit.
This ‘act out’ opportunity is going to teach them a few values and skills.
Start small, do what you can do at a time, and celebrate ‘National Clean Your Room Day’ in a true sense.
Dr. Aabha Pimprikar is a Dentist, Entrepreneur, Life skills trainer, and Owner and Founder of Subhojyam Spices