A messy house with toys scattered all around is one thing when your children are young. But do you want them to grow up with no responsibility for the environment they live in? Teach your children to be respectful of other people and their surroundings by inculcating a habit of cleanliness from a young age. Cleanliness is a good habit, most of us agree. None of us would like to go in un-flushed toilets. None of us would tolerate a neighbour spitting from the balcony. There can be no two opinions about the regular visits of the garbage van near our residences. While most of us want our surroundings to be clean, how many of us teach our children the importance of cleanliness. We might teach them to brush their teeth, wash their face and bathe regularly. But do we extend the concept of cleanliness to every aspect of their daily life? Here are tips for inculcating the value of cleanliness in children.
Start With the Room
If your child's room looks like as if it has been hit by a mini-tornado, you have to ensure that it is not taken over by a typhoon. Children have to be taught to keep the things in the right place. It is a habit of a lifetime. Parents cannot and need not be over attentive about this aspect in the early years of their children. But some discipline has to be injected at a later stage. Set down certain parameters. For instance, a child should never be allowed to use soiled hankies or towels. Never ever allow the child to bring the shoes on the bed, however tired he or she may be. Children must also be taught to tidy their beds.
The Next Step is the Bathroom.
It is here that we teach our children to brush their teeth, clean their bottoms and have a nice bath. They must also learn to keep their surroundings clean. For example, you could put up a funny little poster that reminds your son to pull the flush. Or put up a little bell that rings every time he forgets to shut the door.
A little girl hated to brush her teeth. Her mother devised a good plan to ensure that she did. She would apply the toothpaste on the brush before waking her up, and then all she had to do was to check whether it had been used or not. You could come up with your own little traps and plans to check on your children.
Let your children take turns to change the napkins, towels and tissue rolls. It is these little things that count and make a well-mannered child. These good habits will ultimately get internalised and add to the assets of your child's personality. For instance, imagine your son on a high-level political visit to a foreign country. He will never ever wear soiled socks, however busy he may be during the trip.
Leaky taps point towards an uncaring attitude towards the environment. Teach your children to conserve water by shutting the all taps in the house as well. Be it in the bathroom or kitchen, or anywhere under the sun.
What about Other Places?
Be it the dining table or kitchen or the balcony, children should be tutored not to mess up the belongings. In order to maintain cleanliness, never allow your children to eat in any place of the house except for the dining area. Teach your children, irrespective of their sex to lay the table neatly. Make sure that both your son and daughter pick up their own used plates and carry them to the kitchen sink. They should also offer to carry those of the aged members of the family. Washing their hands and gargling after meals is also a very good habit, as it will help them fight bad odour throughout life.
Help Them Create a Clean World
Encourage children to extend their cleanliness beyond their bathrooms and bedrooms. Set down some rules for their behaviour in the society at large. Teach them to apply the same cleanliness standards in public as well. You have to ensure that your children do not litter a park when on a picnic or that they do not throw garbage from a running bus or train.
The road is not for spitting or throwing other waste materials. Children have to be strictly warned against spitting, as it is an international menace. As parents, it is your duty to carry an empty bag with you wherever you are out of your house so that your kids may discard their litter in it in case of unavailability of dustbins.
Be a Role Model
Children will imbibe cleanliness only if they see their adults following the same standards. Parents should therefore never bypass the rules. For instance, if a schoolboy sees his father using a soiled napkin for three days, he is also bound to do the same.