New Year Clean Up with multicultural kids

People usually don’t celebrate Chinese New Year in Spain, and you certainly do not see decorations on the street. However, Chinese New Year is the most important festival in Taiwan, and I want to introduce some key elements to my multicultural children to celebrate this special event together even though we are in a foreign country with a less festive atmosphere. 

Cleaning the house is one of the Chinese New Year traditions. In Taiwan, if young children express their interest in helping clean up, most parents often think it’s either too young or worried about getting wet and dirty. The majority of the cleanup work is done by mothers in Taiwan!! However, clean-up activities can be fun and a great way to educate children about getting organized. Tasks can be as simple as picking up the toys.

According to research, children from two to three-year-old love to imitate parents. Among the actions toddlers love to imitate are household activities, such as sweeping and mopping the floor. Therefore, besides introducing the Chinese New Year traditions, let’s make this clean-up more than just “picking up the toys.” 

Chinese New Year cleanup activities with toddlers: 

Allow kids to observe and imitate

An imitation is a powerful form of learning commonly used by toddlers. Children have developed a strong observation and learning ability by age two to three. They are usually interested in everything. They want to be part of whatever parents are doing, imitate parents, and sometimes insist on doing things themselves.

When parents are cleaning the house and allow kids to observe, toddlers are usually curious and will charge toward parents very quickly. Note that It is a positive sign when children offer to help proactively. Therefore, instead of declining their request and asking to return to their “play area.” You can encourage toddlers to participate in the cleaning process. You also can motivate them by saying, “wow! Your are  a grown-up now! you want to help, such a good girl!” When children receive validation from parents, not only can this improve a child’s confidence, children usually make an even more significant effort to complete the tasks.

Make it fun & Don’t pick on kids

Parents can assign kids age-appropriate chores, clean up activity can always start with a simple task, and adopt new ones slowly. If the cleaning task is too challenging, perhaps provide rags or a small duster as an alternative. Through these activities, you can also demonstrate how to use the tool properly using simple vocabulary. 

To make the activity slightly more fun and less dangerous. You can prepare a mini cleaning set in advance and tape some designated areas to provide specific visual instructions.

Toddlers are young, and their learning ability is unlimited. However, even if they want to help, the results may become a disaster. For instance, broken glasses, flipping the trash can, wet clothes, etc. Take a deep breath, make sure there is no injury to the children, and direct them to the proper cleaning method.

Don’t get stressed out! Whether they are just trying to play or wanting to help. Children pick up the parent’s anger and anxiety which may also affect their emotions. Remember, this is part of the learning process; Take this opportunity to show children that all men make mistakes, and learn to accept and fix them.  On the other hand, when children complete a task, draw their attention and encourage them to take pride in what they have accomplished.

Not just for New Year’s Eve


Sure, cleaning with kids is challenging, but it can be done. Many experts advise starting young; leaving them out of the cleaning equation till later age does not benefit both parents and children. According to a child and family therapist in Harvouriside Counseling Centre Vancouver, a child is ready to start tidying things when he/she has the motor skills to pick something up and can understand what parents are asking. The earlier, the better. It is much harder to teach good habits at an older age.

For toddlers to understand the Chinese New Year cleanup tradition, this has to be done repeatedly each year to create awareness. However, teaching a child to clean up is essential to a young person’s development. The mindfulness of the activity develops the mid-prefrontal cortex associated with attention span, problem-solving skills, mood, and body regulation. Don’t wait too long to start, and don’t expect the habits will happen overnight, but with a little patience and consistent practice. In the long run, this can teach children responsibility and create a good habits.

Over the course of two weeks of Chinese New Year,  there are many ways to design a few activities to introduce this important event to our multicultural children. Here are some of the suggestions:

Chinese New Year In a Multicultural Family  

Teaching Toddlers About Money After Receiving Chinese New Year Red Envelope

Multicultural Family Celebrates Chinese New Year Lantern Festival

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