Regardless of how often you clean, there’s no room in the house that’s quite as disastrous as your lovely child’s bedroom. There may not be a kid alive that wants to clean his or her room, but that doesn’t mean you should lay down and let it slide. It may be a simple thing, but getting your kids to clean and organize their own stuff is a crucial aspect of growing up. It teaches responsibility, appreciation for what they have and organizational skills that will actually come back to help them in a major way in high school, college and beyond. But what can you do to make this happen, other than ply them with candy and late night TV? It is possible to get your kids to organize and clean their cluttered bedrooms. It all relies on the approach.
First of all, you’ve got to set a rule and stick to it. You probably know all too well by now that if there’s any leeway your kids will find it and work their magic. So the law must be laid and followed. It’s up to you to decide how frequently you want this issue addressed. It may work best to require them to straighten on a daily basis, putting away clothes, toys, books and games that were taken out during the day. Then once a week they should go in there and really clean and organize. Make it a required chore, just like their daily homework. You can tell them they can’t get a bedtime story until they handle it, or even tie it to the night’s dessert if you’re really desperate. They may grumble or throw a fit, but if you stand firm they will get used to the new rules.
Of course it doesn’t always need to be a battle. Almost no one actually likes cleaning, but what if they had some sort of incentive to get it done? Think about creating a system of rewards. You can mock up a chores poster, with each aspect of their room cleaning detailed out. Every day that they do it they get a sticker or a star. And at the end of every week, they get some sort of fun reward. It doesn’t have to be huge. Maybe an ice cream cone on a Friday night, or a fun little set of temporary tattoos. Vary the reward every week, and make it a surprise. They’ll end up cleaning without you having to ask, just so they can find out what they’re getting!
Organization is all about having a system, and this is something you’ll need to help your kids learn and understand. For starters, make sure that there’s a place to store everything in their room. Check out the shelving situation, and set up a closet organizer with tubs for their games and extra books. This is also a great way to cut down on the clutter in their room. Since everything has its place, when they get a new toy they’ll have to go through what they have and pick something to get rid of. Tell them that their older toys can be donated to kids who don’t have anything to play with, so they understand they’re doing a good deed. You’ll avoid their stuff overflowing from their room and taking over the house, and the kids will learn the importance of charitable giving as well.
You can make organization even more fun by adding a decorative aspect. Buy a set of colorful adhesive labels and turn the process into an art project. You and the kids can create labels for all of the plastic bins they use. Buy stickers that fit the theme of each storage bin, so the princess doll bin is decorated with little Disney stickers and the book bin is decorated with images of their favorite subjects, whether that’s dinosaurs, space travel or circus performers. The visual aids will help them remember where everything goes, and it will allow them to express their personalities while also making sure you can find the floor when you go in there to vacuum!