Tips for Getting Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms

If you’re a parent, you know that the messy kids’ room struggle is REAL. For some unfathomable reason, most children are not born equipped with a sense of organization or a desire to take care of their possessions. Alas, these are attributes that usually come only with age and experience (let them step on a favorite toy that they bought with their own money, and see if they still strew their belongings about willy-nilly!)

But in the meantime, SOMETHING must be done to at least keep the kid mess from spilling out into the rest of the hallway, and to ensure that there’s a path to walk through between the bunk beds and the toy box when Grandma comes to visit. And, although throwing up our hands and cleaning the room ourselves might be easier than cajoling, lecturing, and ultimatum-ing, it is a parent’s job to instill responsibility and a positive work ethic, amiright?

The good news is that there are ways to get your kids engaged in the care and cleaning of their own stuff without blowing a mental fuse in the process. Often, we think of reluctance to clean as a behavioral issue in children, and sometimes it is. But, often, it is more a matter of inexperience. This is especially true of younger children. They see the mess, they don’t know where to start, they get overwhelmed, and they shut down or turn to another activity to distract themselves.

So here are a few tips for how to get your young children to tackle their messy rooms without resorting to lectures and shouting matches.

·      Remember the Five Steps. Make sure your child knows what it means to clean their room. In most cases, this can be expressed in five steps: Pick up dirty clothes and put them in the hamper; pick up any trash and throw it away; pick up toys and books and put them in their designated spots; make your bed; vacuum/sweep the floor. And you’re done! Remembering the five simple steps can make your child’s task of tidying seem less enormous and more doable.

·      Make it a game. This is especially effective for 2-5 year-olds. Have a clean-up song that you sing together while your toddler picks toys up off of the floor and puts them into a bin or toy box. Or make it a scavenger hunt by asking the child to find a red toy to put away, then a green one, then a yellow one, etc. When you are done, exclaim over how nice the room looks.

·      Quadrant Cleaning. If your child knows the five steps to a clean room, but still seems overwhelmed, it may be helpful to institute “quadrant cleaning”. Divide the room up into quadrants (or whatever division makes sense) and have your child pick up one section before moving on to the next.

·      Model a Positive Attitude. One of the most important things we can do as parents to encourage a positive attitude toward chores and cleaning is to model a positive attitude toward chores and cleaning. Kids always pick up on their parents’ attitudes and tend to imitate them. So when you are washing dishes, vacuuming the living room, or doing laundry, avoid complaining. Turn on some music and try to have fun while you do the chores.

·      Reduce the Stuff. Sometimes the reason kids are so overwhelmed at the prospect of cleaning their rooms is that the task is genuinely too large for their level of development. Why? Because they have too much stuff. If this is the case, it’s probably time for a major Goodwill drop-off. After that, you may want to implement a “one in, one out” rule. If your kid gets a new toy, she must donate an old one. New school wardrobe? Time to get rid of last year’s clothes. This rule will not only help your child maintain order in their room; it will also inspire a sense of generosity that will stay with him into his adult years.

We hope these tips help you achieve a cleaner, greener, and less stressful home! And if you ever need reinforcements, give us a call at 828.505.7320 or contact us via our online form. Happy cleaning!

A Busy Mom's Letter to Santa

Hey Santa! Blow some of that Christmas magic over here!

Hey Santa! Blow some of that Christmas magic over here!

Dear Santa,

I hope things are going well for you and Mrs. Claus and the elves. I hear the North Pole is experiencing a more-or-less permanent warm spell these days. Hope you’re enjoying the nice weather. Have you had a chance to go swimming?

I have been a very good girl this year. In the midst of work deadlines, colds and flus, budgetary constraints, and the odd family emergency, I’ve managed to keep the kids well fed and get them to school on time most days. Not to mention soccer practice, dance lessons, slumber parties, summer camps, scout meetings, bake sales, school plays, and parent-teacher meetings. I’ve kissed all the boo-boos, cleaned up all the spills, and I believe I’ve read more than the requisite number of bedtime stories. It would really help if I could get an eighth day in my week. Do you think you could swing that? We could call it “Santaday”.

I can’t say my me-time hasn’t suffered this year. I can’t remember the last time I took a bubble bath, or read an entire novel in less than three months’ time. And date-nights with Mark, which we instituted as part of our New Years’ resolutions, lasted only through the third week of January. But I am grateful for my family and happy (for the most part) with my career. If it’s not too much to ask, I’d be thrilled if you could somehow arrange to let Bob in marketing leave the firm. He is such a boor. He shoots down all of my ideas and never allots my department the funding we need to complete our projects. Plus he smells like sardines. His departure from the company doesn’t have to be due to anything horrible. Maybe you could just let him find a better position with another firm. Far, far away. Are there any openings in marketing at the North Pole?

I have been nice, for the most part. I was very gracious to my mother-in-law when she spent her entire visit in July criticizing my cleaning and cooking skills. I tried so hard to refrain from yelling all those times Becky dragged all of her toys out into the living room and refused to clean them up. Oh, and when Greg’s teacher called me to say that Greg had not done any of his homework in two weeks, I feel I handled the situation firmly, but lovingly. I might have slipped up a little in October when Mr. Johnson from next door backed into our mailbox FOR THE FIFTH TIME.

You know, it’d be a lot easier to be nice throughout the year if I had a little bit of time to relax. If that Santaday thing proves too difficult, I’d gladly settle for a self-cleaning house. Or a gift certificate to Green Home Cleaning. I heard they are very professional and detail-oriented cleaners, AND they use environmentally friendly cleaning products, so we can both feel good about our decision. What do you say, big guy?


A Busy Mom

P.S. To get a Green Home Cleaning gift certificate, all you have to do is call 828.505.7320 or send them an email. I don't know what kind of international calling plans you have up there in the North Pole. I'd probably go with email.