Cleaning…ahh..who has time for that? None of us really,but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. When your kids are little, the duties mostly fall to you but when they are older you can use them to help you out- especially when it comes to their own bedrooms. By teaching kid to clean their own rooms you are teaching them life long valuable lessons that it’s important for them to take care of their own things and take pride in their work. You are also teaching them that it is THEIR responsibility to help with their own things- and while the finished result will be different depending on your child’s age, abilities and your expectations, but the lessons will be the same.
Here are some tips for getting your kids to clean their own rooms:
Show Them the Correct Way
We often think that it is common sense for our children to know how to do certain things. After all, how hard can it be to make a bed or fold clothes?? This is not true though and not all children naturally “get” this. So, before you send them on their way, take the time to work through it with them. Show them how to correctly do the things that you are asking them to do. How do we make our bed? How do we put our clothes in the drawer? Where do the toys go? Make sure they understand the steps that are required. This may take one time of cleaning with them and it may take multiple times. Just like learning to ride a bike or play a new sport takes time, cleaning the proper way takes time.
Let them do it on their own
As moms, we often think that it’s our job to go in and clean up after our kids and yes, when they are really little, most of the duties fall to us, but as they get older they have the abilities (and rights!) to do much of this on their own. I honestly believe it’s doing or kids a disservice to not show them the correct way to clean up and not to expect them to do these things on their own. If we do it for them, we are creating the expectation that someone else’s job to clean up their rooms instead of expecting them to do it. The longer we do it, the more ingrained in them it becomes until eventually the thought of cleaning up doesn’t even enter their mind. After all, why should they bother cleaning if they know that we are going to do it anyway? So, stop cleaning up and start standing up! Make your child take responsibility for their space! It is THEIR room after all.
Set Your Expectations
Sit down with your child and WRITE OUT a list of expectations. Make a star chart if necessary. What jobs are expected of them? How should things look? When should the jobs be completed by? Whether through charts, lists or some other way, be sure to have a visual way for your child to recognize and be accountable for the standards that you expect. Hang it on their wall or put it a public space (like the kitchen) where they will see it. Set a timeline of when things need to happen and take into account they other obligations like homework or sports. Check to be sure they are doing their jobs, and if not, there needs to be concequences.
Set up Consequences
Probably one of the hardest things for a parent to do is follow through with consequences. It can be challenging, but it’s SO important. If you are never following through with what you say, they they will figure that out and then you will be in even bigger trouble. This is bad! Yes, it will be hard for you to be the enforcer the first few times, but if you do not set out solid consequences and stick by them, you will cause your child to think that they can do as they please and then talk their way out of any type of punishment. So, lay out what will happen if expectations are not met and then stick to it. After just a few times, your child will see that you mean business.
Set a good Example
We all know that our actions speak louder than our words. Our kids look to us to teach them by what we do and not just what we say. So in order for them to keep their space tidy, let them see you doing the same. If the rule is beds have to be made before school, then you do the same. If they see you doing these things, they will know that this is an expected behavior of everyone in the family- not just them.
- Give them adequate places to store their items: you can’t expect them to have their books neat if they don’t have a place for them.
- Make it simple: put the hamper in their room or in a place they can easily put their clothes, keep their beds made in a simple way. Remember they will never do it like you, so make it easier for them.
- Get them involved in how things should look. Do they like their books a certain way? Or certain clothes in certain drawers? Ask them.
- Binge and purge. Do your kids have just too much stuff?? Go through things so it’s easier to keep what they do have neat and clean.
- Use rewards. Did they do a great job keeping their space clean all week? Well, maybe a trip to the ice cream shop is in order, or maybe a cool new book they have been wanting. Everyone like a reward for a job well done.
- Set reasonable expectations: remember they are not you, they are not adults. They won’t do it the same way as you do, but as long as they are doing it the best as THEY can do, that should be good enough.
- There’s an app for that: there are oodles of kid chore apps out there- if your kids are tech driven, find one to help make them more accountable.
Cleaning with some kids can be hard and these things may not happen over night, but with time and perseverance, you can teach your child to clean their own room the right way! Be patient: know these things won’t be learned overnight but be consistent about your expectations and keep modeling what you want in your own items. Soon enough, you may just have clean kid’s rooms without you having to do anything.
What are your tips for teaching your kids to clean up their own rooms??