10 Surefire Tips to Get Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms {And Keep it Clean} | Organizing Made Fun: 10 Surefire Tips to Get Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms {And Keep it Clean}

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

10 Surefire Tips to Get Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms {And Keep it Clean}

I hear from lots of you - LOTS - that you need help to get your kids to clean their rooms. All ages. All stages of life. Well, here are my tips and tricks to helping your kids keep their rooms clean. Mind you -- I have kids too and they don't keep their rooms perfectly clean all the time, but they're definitely better than they used to be!

1.  Teach them Young

If you are just starting to teach your kids at age 14, good luck! It's not easy and you'll need to work extra hard. It's like cement - when first poured, you have the opportunity to mold and make it what you need. Once it's hardened, you need jack hammer and a lot more back breaking work to get it to do what you need. Same thing with kids, start them as young as you can to learn to clean up after themselves.

2. Don't expect perfection 

Listen, I KNOW it's easier if you do it yourself and have things looking the way YOU'D like it to. But, they are kids. They aren't perfect. Teach them, again and again. Show them how. Don't expect it to be perfect or go back and fix everything they did. 

3. Be patient

Most likely, your child won't get the task of cleaning and picking up the first time, the way you want it. Be patient, kind, and loving - but firm about finishing the task!

4. Don't take over

Don't get frustrated and say something like "Oh forget it, it's easier if I do it myself" - because they'll be on to you and make you frustrated on purpose so they don't have to do it - EVER! 

5. Know what YOU expect

The first few times you show them what you'd like, do it together and teach them where things go and show them what it should like - maybe even taking a picture with you and them in the room when it's clean and hang it on the back of the door. 

6. Start with one thing at a time

It's so tempting to want your kids to clean up everything right now! For some, that could mean stuff from everywhere. I have one child that I think resembles "pig pen" in that everywhere they go, there is some piece of them left behind where they were. I have to start this one with one thing at a time.

7. Break it down

Especially for little ones, you'll need to break up a big, cleaning job up into small areas. If the entire room is a mess from floor to ceiling, telling them to clean it all up at once is overwhelming. Break it up into small sections. If they are really little, sit in the room with them and be helpful and give directions, but don't clean up everything for them. They made the mess, they need to clean it up -- and if there are a few breakdowns in the process, may it be a lesson to them AND to you not to let this happen again because you need to...

8. Be consistent 

Don't expect your kids to do this automatically every time. Be consistent. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME they leave something out, make them put it away. Is it a pain? Yes, but it will pay off later in life. If you aren't consistent - just like with bad behavior and discipline - you will be sorry! 

9. Consequences 

Got a slow mover? Mopey Molly? Give consequences. Set a timer and give them a realistic expectation of time to finish cleaning their room - small mess? Give them 15 minutes. If it's not done in that time, X will be your consequence. And FOLLOW THROUGH with them. Don't threaten and then never really give the consequence you said you would. Make them reasonable -- if you have a kid who has clutter constantly and can't ever clean it up, they need to get rid of stuff. No kid needs so much they can't play with it all. 

10. Get a reply! 

When asking your child to clean up or organize their rooms, you need to get an "OK, Mom" or something respectful that indicates they HEARD you and they are going to do it within the time you allotted for them. 

Remember, you aren't perfect and no two kids are alike. You're going to get frustrated, mad, impatient, and perhaps even inconsistent here or there. But, ask your kids for forgiveness, move on, and keep at it. I promise it will eventually work. My oldest was about TEN years old when suddenly it clicked in his mind and started automatically cleaning up without being asked. If you feel discouraged, go HERE and watch this video. It made me cry and feel better {FYI: I'm NOT a crier, so watch out}. 

I believe it's our jobs as parents to raise independent children who can do things for themselves, not depending on everyone around them to do it. I have a child with autism and he is expected to do everything I talked about above. He is probably more independent and responsible than most typical kids his age. Please don't use that as an excuse - expect great things from your kids and they will definitely attain this ability!

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