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When it comes to the kinds of lessons that parents strive to impart to their kids from an early age, some are pretty universal.
Everyone with a moral compass will, for example, want to teach their children the importance of things like not stealing, and of behaving with honesty and integrity. And there are bound to be a number of more practical skills that you also make a point of teaching to your kids at the earliest possible stage — such as how to tie their shoes.
Perhaps one of the lessons that is most rudimentary but also most important, however, is to simply teach your kids the importance of tidying up after themselves.
We all value our living spaces, and will go to great lengths to ensure that they are well decorated with items such as Italian modern sofas. The benefits that come from having a neat and aesthetically pleasing living space are real, and they apply to all ages.
So, if you’ve been indulging your kids lately and have been cleaning up after them all the time, or have been letting them keep their rooms a bit on the messy side, here are just a few of the benefits of teaching your kids to tidy up from a young age.
A potential lifelong habit that can give structure to their days
Many of the habits that we learn in childhood have the potential to stick with us over the course of our lives — and this goes both for good habits and also for bad ones.
Teaching your kids to tidy up after themselves can help to put them in a position where — in future — they find it significantly easier to stay on top of the tidying and other household chores.
This, in turn, comes with a range of potential benefits — not least of all the fact that maintaining a habit of keeping a tidy living space can help to give a lot of much-needed structure to everyday life, which can in turn help to provide consistency, to support a sense of wellbeing, and more.
Of course, whether or not the habit of tidying up sticks will likely have something to do with how you’ve imparted that lesson to your kids. As a general rule, if you tyrannise them into tidying up and make it an unpleasant chore for them, they will be more likely to drop the chore as soon as they are able. On the other hand, if you encourage and reward them for tidying, they will likely end up with significantly more positive feelings about it.
Reduced stress and distraction, and a greater sense of mental clarity
Although we tend to think of childhood as quite a blissful and easygoing time — and while it certainly should be, and is in many ways — it’s nonetheless also true that kids experience stress, distraction, anxiety and the other negative emotional states that adults do.
One thing that is true for adults and children of all ages, is the fact that a messy, cluttered, and chaotic living environment naturally tends to promote heightened feelings of stress, while simultaneously making it harder to calm down and experience a good level of balance.
In fact, in his recent book “Stolen Focus,” the writer Johann Hari even looks at some evidence which suggests that the recent spike in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD might have something to do with elevated stress levels among many children — which is known to be associated with ADHD symptoms.
Regardless, there’s good reason to think that by getting your kids into the habit of tidying up after themselves and keeping their bedrooms neat, they will end up experiencing significantly less stress, and a greater degree of mental clarity and calm as a result.
An enhanced sense of their own abilities to influence things
A healthy level of self confidence is a very important thing for children to develop, as — among other things — it helps to develop their sense of self worth, and to help them to approach life in a proactive and optimistic manner.
Generally speaking, one of the best ways of helping your kids to develop their sense of self confidence is to put them in situations where they regularly overcome small challenges that push them a little bit, but which aren’t insurmountable.
Something as simple as getting your kids to regularly tidy up their room and pack away their toys can help to give them an enhanced sense of confidence, and a greater belief in their own power and ability to influence things in their lives and surroundings for the better.
Training the skill of discipline and a sense of responsibility
When all is said and done, we all have to do certain things in day-to-day life that we don’t necessarily want to do. Things like taking out the bins, sweeping and vacuuming the floors, and other household chores.
The term that we use to describe doing things that we don’t really feel like doing is “discipline,” but “willpower” works too — and both discipline and willpower tend to be pretty closely associated with a sense of responsibility.
Interestingly, psychologists have found evidence that willpower and discipline aren’t set absolutes, but are the kinds of things that you can train, bit by bit, by pushing yourself in small but manageable ways on a daily basis.
Getting your kids in the habit of tidying up can help them to develop a sense of responsibility, and a decent degree of discipline, too.
Teaching your kids to take pride in themselves and their rooms
There’s a wholesome sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with doing some chore that helps to make your living space neater and more organised — and, for that matter, there’s a similar sense of pride that comes from taking care of yourself and your own personal presentation, too.
Getting your kids in the habit of tidying up can help them to experience this sense of pride, which can in turn help to contribute to confidence and a sense of overall well being.