When we clean up in our classroom, the children are expected, and required, to clean up after themselves. This seems pretty simple, you make the mess, you clean it up. However, this is a new concept for many Kindergartners and First Graders who come to me from homes where Mom/Dad or someone else cleans up after them. What a shock it is for these children when they find out they have to clean up themselves without adult assistance. One of the questions that I ask parents at our parent/teacher conferences is what type of responsibilities/jobs does your child have at home? What job will only get done if your child performs it? Many parents have the answer right away since their child does have responsibilities at home. Other parents, after giving it some thought realize that their child has no home jobs. Now some of these parents realize that it IS time to help their child mature and do small tasks at home, but others will listen to my advice and then go home and continue to do everything for their child. Kindergartners and First Graders are old enough to do many things at home: Make their own bed, put their dirty laundry in the hamper, help sort/fold clean laundry, empty the silverware from the dishwasher, feed the fish/dog/hamster/guinea pig/, set the silverware/napkins on the table, the list is endless. The point is, NOW is the time to have your child start helping out at home, as these self help skills will carry with them wherever they go throughout the day.
re-posted from 2009