Teach Your Child to Clean Up After Themselves

A theme that comes up consistently in the Montessori approach to parenting is the idea that we want our children to become independent human beings even at an early age.

Maria Montessori taught the world that it is our job as parents to be our children’s guides, not their servants. Nowhere in my coaching practice does this become more clear than when a parent asks me how to manage the various messes their child leaves around the house.

Rather than running around behind your child with a sponge or cloth, create a station within the house with child-sized supplies they can easily access themselves. Children are naturally sensitive to order and neatness; if we show them from the beginning how to clean up after a mess they will systematically practice this activity themselves when the situation arises.

If you’ve already taught your child how to pour their own water, it’s a good idea to be thinking ahead to what the next steps might require — in this case, cleaning up after a spill.

Your child will find joy and satisfaction at their success in making a spill “go away,” which reinforces the behavior. That’s why it’s important we give them tools appropriately sized for their smaller hands, rather than an adult-sized sponge or an oversized drying mitt that are difficult for them to handle (just as we give them a smaller sized cup and pitcher for pouring their own water).

As you begin to witness this beautiful new habit take flight, consider other household chores where you can involve your child with these other videos. You’ll be helping your child on their path toward independence and confidence, rather than exhausting yourself working as their servant!

VIEW and download child-sized hand mitt DIY instructions

P.S. Would you like my support and guidance setting-up your Montessori home? If, yes then go ahead and schedule a ‘Discovery Session’ with me. It’s free and you’ll know if we are a good fit. 😉

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Parenting was never meant to be done alone!