Did you know that children naturally want to help with cleaning? OK, so maybe not from birth (although, on second thought, they do get us all to cleanup up our acts and language real fast…hmm). But practically speaking a child will be more developed and eager to help around 2 years and older. Now I am sure most of you are thinking I am CRAZY, because you believe all your kid wants to do is make messes and watch you clean them up! Which yes, kids makes messes, but they also can be very helpful.
I have found that there is a reason that most children throw their tantrums, and it’s not because they want to ruin our day; although, sometimes it may feel like that! See a child without purpose will choose to create his own mission, which can often appear as a mission to destroy and rebel. The terrible twos, threes, or any age, is a period that our children are growing and finding out who they are. They have new found strengths, knowledge, and abilities, and they often don’t know how to use them appropriately. So as their parent and guide it is our purpose to help provide positive opportunities to help our child develop their purpose. Which leads me to my point, cleaning is an awesome way that I have used to help re-purpose my child and save us all from meltdowns and messes.
As an example, I was at my nanny job recently and the 5 year old boy and my 2 year old daughter were just testing every possible boundary. They were on a mission to cause destruction and turmoil. I was trying everything, but they were relentless. So I retreated and began cleaning the dishes, in an effort to release some of my tension and come up with a new plan. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice that he sees me and is watching me – Like a deer in the headlights I’m frozen, hoping he isn’t going to charge at me again. But I was wrong, he was becoming enlightened. I could see a light go on in his head, his demon disappeared, and this sweet boy returned and he kindly asks – Miss. Sarah can I help? I was in shock, but I quickly said yes and let him take over. For 45 min the two of them stood at the sink playing in the water, washing the dishes (I mean those dishes had to have been washed 60 times, very thorough). And after they had enough of washing dishes he asked if I had more projects for them to do!!! I was in disbelief. The best part was, as he’s cleaning he looks at me and says, I quote -“I like helping – I like doing good things rather than despicable things – It’s fun to clean.”
As you can see, I am not making this up; the proof is in the pudding. Our children like helping, they want to do good things, and they want to have fun. When you see that your child is struggling see it as an opportunity to help them find their purpose. They are searching for their mission and they need our guidance in helping them to make positive choices. So I encourage you, let your child help, encourage them in being helpful and doing well then step back and watch your little cleaner make a difference.