Monday, 3 June 2013

How Do You Get Your Kids to Clean?

How do you get your kids to help clean up after themselves?  In yaya-friendly Philippines, you don't.  Admittedly I'm still not that hung up over it, either.

After reading up on Montessori principles of independence and mastery, I know I need to rethink this and encourage Ladybug Girl to take care of herself and her surroundings.  In fact, Montessori curriculum starts with a strong foundation on "practical life" activities like pouring, dressing up self, and cleaning one's environment.

Ladybug Girl and her practical life work from her school scrapbook : cleaning a table and pouring

Independence is empowering in children who often feel powerless.  It naturally progresses to caring for their environment and for others.

Nyark.  I am so not doing any of this on purpose.

In toddler school, I love how her teachers in Poveda used a song as a signal for pack away time.  I sang that song at home, but was never consistent about it.  I never left instructions to teach her to pack away either, having seen how it can turn into a fearful or negative situation.

Her yaya was the one who potty trained her - I didn't do a thing!

I was shocked during floor play one day :  she drew with a marker, tossed it carelessly on the floor after, and then reached for a new color.  After I told her to pick it up, she dumped all the markers on floor, looking curious about my reaction the whole time.  She was three, and testing her limits.

It was time to start being more consistent at home.

Half of what makes Montessori work is a "prepared environment" that makes everything orderly, accessible and inviting for children.   I try to adapt that in little ways at home.  Of course the tools that work for me may not have benefits for others, but they sure work for my little one:

These three stools are always in use and moving around the house.
In use in the kitchen and bathroom 

A low shelf in the kitchen where she can get her own water and a spoonful of Nutella

The kid-height outdoor gardening and messy play area

I am so thankful for her Montessori school for doing most of the motivating on independence.  In the middle of the school year, her favorite phrase became "I did it all by myself!"

Here she started to clean her playroom table with her lampin and water spray bottle (we keep that in her room for her aqua beads crafts).  She even cleaned the floor.

Here's something else I copied from Ladybug Girl's classroom:
A cleaning supplies station inside her playroom.

Such a simpler solution in contrast to this horribly expensive toy that didn't even clean:
Look at that sorry excuse for a mop.  This ended up in a garage sale.

I found these great tools at Muji that are perfect for kids:
And this costs less than the toy, too.   Now that's a mop that can clean.

And finally the crown jewel of independence tools:

A teeny toilet!

It was a surprise from Awesome Guy one day.  It seems like a luxury, but it has been a major life saver since Ladybug Girl still can't manage to do the toilet by herself.   We saw one of these things in a Singapore mall and fell in love!  This is also one step ever closer to sleeping independently because she still goes to pee at night.

She uses the towel hung low to wipe and then flushes by herself.  Her little fingers still can't work that bidet.
Surprisingly, this only costs less than 2,000 pesos.

Seeing this little person on her toilet really makes me grin.  Before this, Ladybug Girl would wait until the last five seconds to pee - sometimes I would just be lifting her up to the bowl one second too late.  But now she just disappears from floor time and comes back on her own.  (Now this is something I wish her Montessori school had copied from other modern schools today.)     

A few weeks ago, her cousin came and he was just starting potty training -- he sat down on his own with no fuss, too.   This would have been great for potty training!  Such a relief not to have the run to the bathroom with her anymore.

You think maybe this is what independence will look like a couple of years from now?

As early as now Awesome Guy and I bet on what age our Ladybug Girl will stop needing a yaya.  My goal ended up four years later than his.

Whoops.  Time to get a move on.

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