Should Children Help Clean Their Own Schools?

Photo provided by Singapore Press Holdings

The fact that children in Japan help to clean their own classrooms and schools is back in the news.  That is nothing new though, as they have been doing so for many years.  It is a tradition called o-soji (cleaning).

According to Fino Menezes, author of the online article Should Children Clean Their Own Schools? Japan Thinks So, Japanese children are better for it.  How? “They are learning to respect their surroundings. They are learning that it’s better not to make a mess if you are the one who has to clean it up.”

Children spend about 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week, and then a longer time at the end of each semester cleaning.  Often, students from higher grades assist students from the lower grades.  As a result, young children are being mentored and older children are teaching younger ones.   The cleaning is done to fun music and the children are happy and smiling doing the tasks.

According to Donald Ash, an American who teaches in Japan, in his website article Huh? Japanese Kids Clean Their Classrooms?!?, he was very surprised to see this tradition in practice.  Coming from the public school system in Georgia, he never cleaned at the school except if it was part of a school club project.  The common thinking was “Let the janitors handle it.” But, once he was a teacher in Japan, he was awe struck by the children so willingly cleaning.  He comments that even the most difficult students gladly cleaned.

At the end of his article Mr. Ash asks: “Do you think it could ever happen at your school (in the US)?”  What do you think?

For more, read: Should Children Clean Their Own Schools? Japan Thinks So, or Japanese Kids Clean Their Classroom? 

Helping Your Young Teens Find Summer Jobs

I don’t usually write about issues relating to young teens but thought a blog post about helping them find summer jobs would be informative.  As a teenager, I wanted to work during the summers to earn that extra bit of spending money and I’m sure that like me, your children are eager to do the same.  Of course, you should first check the employment laws of your state to find out the age that your children can start working at an official job and if a work permit is required.  There are full and part-time jobs that your early teens, especially, may be willing to do.

Babysitting is at the top of the list.  I did that a lot during my teenage years – both during the day, when necessary, but mostly in the evenings.  As I babysat for one family, soon other families heard about how good I was and then I was in high demand.  I eventually limited babysitting to one family who used my services frequently. 

If your young teen enjoys being with children and is mature and responsible, consider babysitting.  It is not all fun and games, though, as the safety and well-being of children are involved.  Your child should be prepared for all that may happen, with you as the parent being available as a backup in the event of an emergency.  A great babysitting training course is offered by the Red Cross in many areas, both in person and online.  The link to the course is provided below.  Being a certified Red Cross babysitter will give your child bonus points for prospective employers.

Being a dog walker and pet sitter are also age-appropriate jobs.  Families travel a lot during the summer so they need someone to take care of their pets.  Again, your young teen must like pets. Have your child become familiar with the pet and the pet familiar with him before taking the job.  Make sure that he understands all the feeding and walking instructions before the family leaves.  Also make sure that the route for the walk is safe for the child and the dog.  Your child should not walk the dog in unfamiliar areas.

House sitting is another job that is available in the summer, as families travel.  The duties usually involve watering plants, picking up the mail and packages, mowing the lawn, and keeping an eye out for anything that is happening around the house.

There are many opportunities for your young teen to get out of the house during the summer and earn some money.  Help him network and prepare.  He will benefit tremendously.

Please check out this website for more information on the Red Cross babysitting training course: CLICK HERE