***Disclaimer*** I am not a child psychologist, I have not taken any college courses in psychology. I just have the side of personal experience. These are just my opinions on issues we encounter when raising children. These are only the ways I have either handled them, or looking back think would have been a better way to deal with the situation.
Today’s topic: Getting children to clean their room.
Is this one of the most common arguments parents have with their children? Is it a battle you fight with your child?
I have to first say that I think each child and the parenting style they need are unique. Not every child responds to the same tactics we as parents use on them. I just think there is a starting point for all.
Getting a child to clean their room and the tactics you use have to first and for most be age appropriate. Telling a 6 yr. old that if their room isn’t cleaned then they lose phone privileges isn’t going to really work. Nor will putting a 16 yr old in time out if they don’t clean their room work. Common sense huh? Only you probably wouldn’t believe the amount of parents battling it all wrong. Or as I see it wrong. So I will start with what I think to be a good starting point and go up from there.
I think all toddlers 2-3 should learn how to pick up after themselves. Starting at this age may reduce a headache later on in life. Show them how to put the toys in the toy bin by taking turns, I believe is a good starting point. My rule of thumb was, if you could take it out yourself, you could put it back yourself. Children learn by example; so if mommy picks up a toy and puts it in the toy bin, then the toddler can “show” mommy how they do it. Taking turns going back and forth. Also, showing them how to properly put the toy in there. For example, going to the toy bin and setting it down versus flinging it from across the room and attempting to make it in. Hard toys can ding walls. This was a lesson learned the hard way.
At ages 4-6 they should really be learning to clean their room by themselves. Now how do you convince your child to clean when it’s not as fun as just playing with the toys, or they get distracted when they pick one up and start playing with it? I tried at this age to make it fun. My daughter loved music, so I’d put her favorite song on and have her pick up her toys while the song was on. If the room was really messy from a play date I’d help. They aren’t going to spend an hour cleaning their room. That’s a battle that neither parent or child want. However, if it’s just toys from her normal play day the song was usually enough. Some days we needed two songs and she’d dance and sing as she put her toys up. I also had a scheduled room cleaning time. She picked up her room before her bath.
Ages 7-10 I really tried to start enforcing putting things away after she was done using them. That way there wasn’t a mess at the end of the day and it was much easier to clean. I think this is an appropriate age to start really giving them the responsibility of keeping their room cleaned on their own. I’d go in and check it every few days and show her what needed to be fixed. If memory serves me right this was when she learned the quick clean method all kids eventually do. Hiding it all under the bed, stuffing things in their drawers that don’t go in there….or the dreaded stock pile in the closet.
The teen years I have found to be the hardest to get her to keep her room clean. She used to keep it clean and in order all the time. Now it’s clothes piled everywhere. So it’s back to the drawing board to come up with a plan. She’s 18, she knows her responsibilities of keeping her room clean. So I won’t make fun games, or give a reward for having a clean bedroom. However, if her room isn’t kept straightened up then she will lose her privileges. No phone, no friends over, no going out….things like that. As a teenager you shouldn’t have to be told to clean up, or be checked up behind. I really would have thought all that we did thru the years would have sunk in. Again, all children are different!
What do you do to get your child to clean their room?
*** If you have any parenting questions you’d like seen answered you can either place them in the comments or email me at email@example.com