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Clean Rooms: Getting Your Kids to Clean Their Own

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June 29, 2012

There is a room that is a part of your home, but not fully under your control. It’s the kids’ bedroom.

It’s usually a disaster because kids just don’t understand the process of how to clean up a room. Standing over them pointing out what needs to be done can result in a lot of unneeded stress. So how do you teach children the process of cleaning a room and keeping it clean?

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

To start with, you’ll have to give the kids some control. Yes, you read that right. You see, we constantly say it’s their room yet we tell them how we want it, and therefore they don’t feel like the owner. Complaining starts when we ask them to clean up their bedroom, but they haven’t the foggiest clue where to begin. Since their room probably needs to be reorganized or updated, now is a great time to break it down into steps. As they help to reorganize, they will see and learn the process (in a non-judgmental way). All cleaning begins with a process.

Begin by getting the child excited or it will end up being a chore for the both of you. Talk about the upcoming day to build anticipation with statements like ‘your room is going to look awesome!’ and ‘can you imagine having your own reading area?’ It will motivate them to want to start right away. Maybe the child wants to change the color or style of their room. Brainstorm new decorating ideas with them such as window treatments, posters, pictures, colors, themes and so on.

Out With the Old, In With the New

The best way to begin is with a totally cleaned out space (everything but the bed).  Talk with your kids about how they envision their new room. If they have some control over the process, they will gain understanding about how to clean it. Ask them where they want the bed, and what about the shelves? Do they want the desk by the window or over by the door? Once the large pieces of furniture are placed per their requests, they will get excited. They are making decisions. Make sure you keep that excitement flowing by doing something special, like going out for lunch during the sorting or having a fun picnic in the middle of the mess.

One Kid’s Trash is Another Kid’s Treasure

When you sit down with your child to help sort through possibly outgrown toys and books, never assume your child is too old for them. They might have special memories associated with particular objects and are not ready to give them away. Talk to them about what they choose to donate, where it will be going, and how it ultimately helps out other people.

A Feeling of Accomplishment

When their room is finally done and looks fantastic, they will be thrilled to call it their room. They saw and experienced the steps it took to create and organize it. They probably will not keep their room perfectly clean but they learned the process of cleaning and organizing.

Now when it’s time for them to put their clothes away – they can do it themselves!

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