Montessori at Home: Lunar New Year Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning season is here! There are many rituals and traditions associated with celebrating the start of the new Lunar calendar, and for many families in Singapore, spring cleaning is one of them. They believe that cleaning and decluttering their houses symbolises driving away the bad luck from the year before, and starting the new year afresh. 

With children at home, this is a great chance to get them involved, and to let them help share in the responsibility. It is important for children to understand that maintaining and cleaning a home is something that everyone in the family should help with since everyone benefits from a clean home.

Here are some of the ways that you can involve them!

House Cleaning

Children love to help clean, sweep, scrub, and wipe. Such chores allow them to practice their large physical movements and manipulative tasks are an awesome way to engage them in spring cleaning.

Remember to first demonstrate the task step by step, modelling the whole process while your child waits and watches until you are finished. Once you hand the task over, try not to interrupt or comment, so your child can experience a sense of accomplishment.

It may not be a perfect 10 in your eyes, but it is important to let children be satisfied with their efforts! 

Sorting and Organisation of Clothes 

Doesn’t it feel like children outgrow their clothes with amazing speed? This is a good time to empty closets of clothing they have outgrown, as well as sorting through and organising them so that children can become more independent and take care of their belongings on their own. 

Children as young as 2 years old can begin to learn sorting. Have your child help match and sort out socks, or they can sort their clothing by colour. Not only does this build math skills and help them identify colours, it can become a fun game for them as well!

For older children, guide them to fold or hang the clothing up. Model how you would them to do it, and try not to expect perfection immediately. Practice makes perfect! 

Playroom and Toy Boxes

We highly encourage parents to organise playthings on open shelves in a designated play area. This helps to support your child’s developing sense of order. Toy boxes are wonderful storage places for big items such as stuffed animals or big trucks.

Start by sorting out the items your child has outgrown. Involve your child in decisions about whether to store or pass on an outgrown toy. You might also want to put away some of the toys and rotate them onto the shelves from time to time throughout the year. 

Whatever the activity or chore, it’s always good to work alongside your child as we are not only supporting their independence, but also modeling with our behavior. By showing children how to accomplish one small task at a time, they will eventually, as Dr. Maria Montessori in Discovery of the Child said, become “Masters of their own homes”, meaning they will have the skills to do things for themselves. Practical Life Skills teach caring for the self and for the environment, grace and courtesy, and control of movement.  In this case, they will have learnt  how to prioritise, organise and maintain a system.

The House on the Hill team would like to take the opportunity to wish a Happy Lunar New Year to everyone celebrating this festival. Let’s pack away the Year of the Tiger and start afresh with a peaceful and harmonious Year of the Rabbit.