In this episode of the Raising Resilience Podcast, host Sara and parenting coach Danielle Bettmann discuss the importance of maintaining a clean and organized environment for children's mental health.
They introduce KC Davis, a therapist and author, known for her insights into coping with mental health issues and self-care. KC emphasizes the impact of clutter and messiness on mental well-being and shares helpful strategies for teaching children to maintain their environment effectively.
They discuss the Mighty + Bright Room Reset board as a tool to guide children in resetting their spaces and establish routines that reduce overwhelm. By breaking down cleaning tasks into manageable steps and providing visual cues, children can learn to take care of their surroundings and experience a sense of accomplishment. Sara and Danielle stress the significance of teaching this skill early on, as it positively influences children's mental health and fosters a peaceful and safe environment.
Hi there. Welcome back to the Raising Resilience podcast. My name is Sara and I am the founder of Mighty + Bright. And I am here with Danielle Bettmann, who is a parenting coach and early childhood educator and the parent coach behind parent wholeheartedly. We are talking about the protective factors for kids mental health. And that is all based on research about what it is that helps protect kids from having mental health crises. And this month, we are talking about maintaining your environment. And that sounds a little bit weird, probably. Because, like, really, why would we want to teach our kids like what does cleaning your room have to do with your mental health? Oh, my gosh, friends, it has everything to do with it. Your environment and the amount of clutter in it. And the amount of messiness has a profound impact on your mental health. And Danielle, and I decided to partner this month with someone who is really just fantastic about explaining the impact of taking care of yourself on your mental health. Her name is KC Davis, she is a therapist and the author of the book, How to keep house while drowning. She is also on Tiktok. And Instagram just shares like all these amazing hacks for people who are coping with mental health issues or are, you know struggling with, you know, neuro divergence, ADHD, that sort of thing, and who struggled to take care of themselves. And part of what she talks about, which was like so eye opening to Danielle, and I was when you are cleaning a room, there are only five things in that room. There's trash, dishes, laundry, things that have a home, and things that don't have a home yet. And when you break things down in that way, for yourself or for your child, what feels like a giant task becomes so much more doable. And that way of teaching kids was like, Oh my gosh, if we could teach our kids how to maintain their environment at a young age, by doing something that feels totally doable. This is something that will pay dividends for a lifetime. Because all of the studies show how much it impacts your, your mental health positively to feel safe and peaceful in your environment. So Dan, now let's talk about maintaining our environment. Yes, yes.
I'm sure that if you imagine walking into your kid's basement playroom right now, you can elicit some sort of a physical response as a result of how much clutter you see. And that is a scientifically proven response that most women have less with men, unfortunately, but like women really do have a big correlation between the clutter that they see and the stress response that comes as a result, because there's just a lot of connection between our environment and our mental world, and how we experience it and how it sends messages that are overwhelming or about how many tasks need to get done in that space or just what the what it creates in like the idea of peace or the idea of tension based on where we're at. And our kids have a similar response to their playroom where if they see the playroom messy, it's overstimulating and overwhelming for them to be able to choose through that many options to play. So they jump out bins, and they jump from one thing to the next. And they don't actually find the whitespace they need to be creative or play in a deep way and go deep with one toy in particular, or be able to find ways that they collaborate toys together or do a lot of open ended play. And so unfortunately, like they're not playing and we're stressed out and it's you know, a loose, lose all the way around. So what we want to be able to do is help kids and us understand that there can be structure that helps set us up for success for our expectations of what it looks like to maintain, or to reset our spaces in ways that make sense to that outcome that we're looking for, of how good it feels to be in that space as a result and how good it feels to be proud of our space, or just how good it feels. To be fulfilled with that sense of accomplishment at the end of that task. So it's not a sense of like, who can have the most minimalist house, or who can have like the cleanest room ever, or being super vigilant to, you know, not have anything out of place at the end of every day, it's much more of a lifelong commitment to understanding and having the tools so that our kids can cope with the mess and be able to know how to hit reset when they're ready to and be able to be able to do that not only in their own bedroom, but with all their things all around the house.
Unknown Speaker 5:40
Yeah, I think that's a big pain point, at least for me is because my mental health is so connected to my environment. And I get really overstimulated, it's really important to me, and one of my big values to have a tidy house. And I recognize I am probably in the minority here, but it's just that is my thing, as far as my mental health goes. And so when my daughter's art supplies are all over the place, that has been a real source of contention in like, how do I even begin to get her to maintain this space? Like, it's, it feels like such a big job. And this month tool was like, Whoa, we've figured it out, we've cracked the code friends, because the tool this month is a task chart that comes with a clean sheet and magnets that allows a kid to learn how to reset their space. It's 14 steps, some of them are very easy to check off, to reset their bedroom. And you can also use it as a daily and weekly kind of to do list for your responsibilities and tasks around the home. And one of those things is the stuff hunt. And that's basically where you're like, Hey, kid, it is your responsibility to now go and find all of your stuff all over the house and put it into this basket. And it's by incorporating that into your routine. And teaching this skill so that nobody is overwhelmed by this task. Because kids executive functioning wise don't have these skills. And until they're much much older, like your brains aren't developed until you're in your 20s it is it is a skill to learn to be able to take care of your environment. And but as parents, we don't really necessarily know how to teach this skill in a sustainable way. You know, there are chore charts out there. There are you know, sticker charts, there's reward charts, there's like all of these things, but they don't even really teach you how you teach this to your kids and you don't like have to nag them on going. This is a method of teaching that is a skill that adults can use and kids can use that is a total game changer for the way that you approach your spaces and caring for yourself. And, you know, one of the things KC Davis talks about is that whole notion that you should clean as you go and that for people who struggle with executive functioning, whether you are neurodivergent or you are a child that is not easy to do. Like you have to remember to do it you have to know how to do it like for my daughter showing her what done looks like was such a big game changer for us because you know I was getting frustrated where I'm like it is your responsibility to make your lunch in the mornings. She's now 12 And part of that means cleaning up after yourself and I couldn't figure out why it was so difficult for her to not leave jelly all over the counter after she made her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She was forgetting she needed these things broken down into smaller steps. Because clean up after yourself is a very general thing that I take for granted as someone who is not neurodivergent and is pretty good with executive functioning from and for her that is not something that comes naturally it is not something that she understands. So to be able to you know, take a picture of the space and say this is what it looks like when this is clean. And it becomes a like Spot the Differences game. Yeah, it was a really it was a really big deal and then she was really proud of herself. And also you No, I felt better and like not annoyed that I had to keep cleaning. I was like, literally stuffing and jelly. Like, why is this happening.
Unknown Speaker 10:09
And that's what ends up happening is so much frustration between parents and kids. Because we feel like we're nagging and criticizing and like borderline parading them to, you know, look at the path behind them of destruction that they create in almost every space that they're in. And, you know, to see the wrappers and to see the dishes and to see the laundry, and, you know, fold your laundry and just make your bed and like all the things, when you tell a child to clean the playroom, or clean the room, their brain just like, Sure, yes, it like literally doesn't have a first second third type breakdown of steps, it just cannot handle a task that that big. So we have to help them learn what that looks like, by processing those steps, doing it with them, taking a picture of what's done having those steps up on the wall, and then we can empower them to start to do them themselves. And then they can, you know, make that a shorter situation or be able to do more maintenance steps or to do things weekly and daily. But without that instruction, we're just kind of doing that vicious cycle of like cleaning your room, and I don't know what that looks like, and I'm just gonna stuff everything under my bed and you know, like, then then it just continues to spiral that frustration.
Unknown Speaker 11:34
Absolutely, I think, I think that like knowing how to teach the skill is the biggest barrier, at least for me in some of the families that I've talked to. Because it is really hard to know, we are not all given the gift of being able to teach, and being able to understand the big picture and how it's made up of all these little pieces. And then being able to convey that to a small person and be like, hey, small person, like, this is why you need to do this thing. This is how you do this thing. And this is when this needs to be done in a way that they understand. Right? It's not that is not a that is not an easy task.
Unknown Speaker 12:20
No, because we don't we don't remember the the instruction that we got. And we if we got any, basically got any Yeah. Or like, we don't know the why of why we even do things. It's like trying to teach the English language to someone who is an English language learner, you run into all of these things that you just take for granted of like all these words that you know, are spelled different, but sound the same or sound the same or smell different. And, you know, all these grammar rules that make sense until they don't and you're like,
Unknown Speaker 12:52
I don't know, what's this anymore? Do it okay, because I don't know how to explain it. It's
Unknown Speaker 13:00
yes, we want to it really does come down to our poor communication or leadership skills is really what that is telling us. Yeah. Right.
Unknown Speaker 13:09
Which like, no shame, because, like, we're expected to do everything and be everything. And that is not easy. And, um, you know, our goal was to give you everything that you need in order to implement this and nothing that you don't need, because extra information and extra thinking is that takes up space in your brain that you probably don't have. Right? So Right. We want to make it easy on you. We want to make it easy on your kids to learn these things that will make everybody feel better. In summary, right? All right, cleaner space. Yes. Because that is always really nice and not having to nag is also super nice. Super nice. Well, thank you so much for being with us today. And we are so glad to have you here. If you have any questions about maintaining environment or why doing that is so positive, please don't hesitate to leave us a question. You can go to mighty and bright.com/podcast then click on the button that says Ask us a question and we will answer it for you. Thanks for being here and we will chat with you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai