How to get your kids to clean their room

9 October 2019

If you have children, you
know how hard it is to keep their rooms clean, especially if they are younger
children. When my older children were smaller, I couldn’t believe how quickly
they would mess up their rooms. I implemented some key things that help to
teach my children to keep their room clean and recently, I had to remind myself
of these things when our younger two children were falling into bad habits that
were causing them to have a messy room.

A CONSISTENTLY CLEAN ROOM HAS A LOT OF FACTORS:·        
the age of your children·        
amount of toys and
belongings·        
where the toys and
belongings are stored (in the bedrooms or another area)·        
how much reminding and
helping you’re okay with·        
if your kids do their
own laundry (I have kids helping with laundry from age 2 (putting socks away,
helping to ‘fold’, etc.) and once they are in 3rd or 4th grade they can pretty
much do the folding and putting away themselves – decide what works for you!)REGARDLESS OF THE AGE OF YOUR KID(S), THERE ARE A COUPLE
THINGS THAT WILL HELP YOUR KIDS LEARN HOW TO CLEAN THEIR ROOMS ON THEIR OWN.Less is always more.Keep
toys to a minimum – too many toys are overwhelming to choose from and they are
overwhelming to keep picked up. If you have a lot of toys consider a toy
library system, where you keep some things put away and pull out a bin at a
time. This keeps toys and choices fresh and it also ensures that kids will play
deeper and longer with the smaller amount of toys and choices. If this sounds
strange, try it for a week – keep out three main items and see how differently
your kids play with them.

Teach “if you do this, then you get that.”
Logical order works with kids – once your bed is made and your room is picked
up you get to choose what you do. In the summer this is easier to manage and
it’s a great time to reinforce good habits. Give them simple daily task check
list  – they can check off their tasks
and then they can choose to read  and play and maybe do a little media
time after their work is done.Work with them to clean their room
This is more work and definitely can be time consuming, but it’s the best way
to encourage them to put things away the way you want them to be put away.
Learning the ‘right’ way to put things away alleviates questions and confusion
in the future. This works especially well with laundry. Teach them simple task
such as “put in basket” “fold” “arrange in cupboard”, this will set them up for
good habit.Teach kids to make their beds AND have them make it daily
A made bed helps to give the bedroom a picked up appearance and it’s a simple
task that even kindergarden kids can help with. DO NOT go back and re-make the
bed – look past it if you have to but let the job be completed by them.

Give them one thing to do at a time – and don’t just say, “Go
Clean Your Room”
Just
like us adults, kids like specific directions. If you tell your child to “Go
clean your Room” and come back in an hour and it looks the same, it’s probably
because your directions were unclear. Unless you’ve taught them what a clean
room includes, they will most likely give you the confused look and they are
going to be overwhelmed with the mess. Instead give them very clear directions,
one step at a time. For my older kids I will write or print up a quick
checklist with boxes and put it on a clipboard for them to work through. For my
little guy I am most likely working with him or giving him one task at a time.
I’ll usually be hanging out in the laundry room outside his room folding
clothes and keeping an eye on him, ready to assist if needed. A common
conversation would be, I’m going to be right here folding clothes, why don’t
you pick up your Legos (so I don’t step on another one) and tell me when you’re
done. Then when he’s done, I’ll say, “Great job, that looks so much better. Can
you pick up your books too? Then we can head outside and have fun.” One thing
at a time is so much easier for everyone.

Model good behavior

This
is going to be an unpopular one but if your room is a mess or if you don’t make
your bed, asking your kids to make their beds or put away their laundry is
going to fall flat. Work with them. I’ll say something like, I’m going to make
my bed and pick up stuff on the floor in our bedroom – why don’t you do the
same and then we’ll head outside. OR I need to fold and put away these clothes,
why don’t you put your fold and put your clothes away too. Modeling good
behavior is always a good idea and I promise you, your kids are watching and
paying attention.Use a timerI
use a timer all the time for myself to stay on task but it’s especially helpful
with kids too. We’ll race the timer, do a quick before meal pick up, or just
set the timer for 5 minutes and see what we can get done in that little spurt.
I’ll use the timer on the oven or on my phone. Make it quick and simple – don’t
set the timer for 60 minutes, keep the time to 3- 5 minutes to keep their attention.Kids love using (playing with) tools!During
the school holidays I keep my daily and weekly cleaning routine running like
clockwork BUT I also get my kids involved in the process. Kids like to clean
with real tools. If you want them to dust their room, give them a duster. If
they are able to vacuum, let them! Even baby wipes can be used to clean with!Need some ideas? Here’s what a list typically looks like for my
kids (ages 6-12):
·        
put clothes in laundry
basket·        
put toys away on the
floor into toy basket·        
stack books up·        
make bed·        
double check if there
anything on the floorSo…..do
your kids clean their rooms? Have a tip to share? Share it in the comments!

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