Teach your kids to clean their own rooms

By: Badbadivy Feb 28, 2007

My daughter Megs was shocked when I told her to go ahead and let her room get messy. Normally, I expect a clean room, and my kids generally comply. But I wanted to take some pictures to teach you guys how to teach your kids to clean their own rooms.

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Start them off with a level playing field

 

Before you can expect your kids to clean their own rooms and keep them clean, it helps to have the rooms set up in a manner that the kids can easily keep their rooms clean.

 

If your kids struggle with keeping their rooms clean, they have too many toys.  Heck, my kids are able to keep their rooms clean and they still have too many toys. A kid with way too many toys will get overwhelmed and will end up playing with your vacuum cleaner attachments instead. They'll let their rooms turn into a complete disaster and won't know where to start. Keep the toy level under control, and it'll be much easier for them to clean their rooms. 

 

Once you've got the toy monster under control, make sure their room has lots of low shelves and baskets to put their toys in. With plenty of storage, they will be able to put their things where they belong more easily. A "pet net" is great for kids like my daughter that have obscene amounts of stuffed animals.

 

Low shelving is key. Let them organize the shelves as they see fit. It might not be perfect and beautiful, but it'll be their own design, which they can be proud of.

 

 

 Now, let's get them started cleaning

 

I bet you've sent your kids to clean their rooms and you walk in there, and they're sitting there playing, or reading, or something. It used to completely infuriate me- I sent them to clean their rooms, not play! One day as I was standing in my totally trashed kitchen, not really knowing where to start, I realized the kids are probably the same way as I am. If I don't know where to start, I get stalled and often wander off to watch some TV or surf the internet.  Once I realized that, I taught my kids this system to cleaning their rooms and they now always know where to start and can go from there.

 

 First, tell them to make their bed. My mother always told me, you could have clothes on the floor, but a made bed, and the room will look better than a room with an unmade bed and nothing on the floor. This also gives them a surface they will use later to aid in their cleaning. 

 

Megs always wants to put 42,000 pillows and stuffed animals on the bed. We've compromised with 2 large pillows, 1 regular pillow, 1 small pillow, and 1 stuffed animal.

 

Then have them pick up all the laundry in their room and put it into a laundry basket.  Keep the laundry basket handy in case you missed some laundry.

 

 

Why, yes, we are big fans of Hello Kitty, thanks for noticing!

 

 Next, have them pick up toys in groups. I have Megs pick up all her stuffed animals and toss them into the pet net. I have my boys pick up all the cars and put them in the car box. Then move on to another group of toys until you've run out of groups of toys. 

 

You'll usually end up with a bunch of odds and ends that don't really belong anywhere. Have them toss all of those items on the bed.

 

 

Oh where, oh where should this other junk go?

 

The floor should now be completely clean in their room.  Have them pick up each item from the bed individually, and decide where each item should go. If they cannot find a place for it, it has to go in the trash. (Or the freecycle bin, or the goodwill box, etc.)

 

Once the bed's cleaned off, they can dust and vacuum (if age-appropriate, I don't generally let my kids vacuum until they're about a head taller than the vacuum cleaner- my 6 year old is not quite tall enough yet, although she's been cleaning her own room since she was 4.) and the room will be clean!

 

It might not be showroom perfect, but let your kids revel in the fact that they did it themselves!

 

 

Remember our compromise about how many stuffed animals and pillows were allowed? Looks like I lost that battle. 

 

 

Yes, I did let her decorate her room herself.  

 

 

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39318 views | Comments (18)

Comments

well im a kid and i wanna find a way to clean it i can't evan walk in it.

My fix for grandma buying to many toy's is to not let the toys come to my house. If she wants to get it for them it can go to HER houseandthey can play with it there.

What I did for my children's birthday cards is I asked kids to buy a present for a boy or girl and gave them an age and asked that it be unwrapped. I was asked why from the parents and I told them that instead of my children getting gifts since they get enough from family throughout the year that we were going to donate the toys to those less fortune. Some parents refused to buy a gift at all but some gave 2 gifts instead of one then before the party ended I showed the kids where their presents would be going to and they were very excited to help out someone else like them. We sent the toys to africa  so that the kids there would be able to play like they do here! I try to do that type of party every year. Sometimes I have taken my kids to the local shelters to hand out the toys themselves to needy children and the look of the other children's faces are priceless.  All of my kids toys that they have grown out of or just don't play with anymore go there. You could also ask friends and family members to give gift cards to a store your child really likes going to so that they can buy something they really want in stead of getting gifts they won't use. They can learn to save their gift cards up for something big or buy their friends a birthday present with their own money. I always tell my kids that for everything they get new they need to give at least one thing up that they don't really play with.

My 4 year-old daughter refuses to clean her room most of the time but will help me clean the rest of the house. So I let her clean the living room and as I get her room (which typically isn't that bad). However my 3 year-old son cleans his room when he is procrastinating on going to bed. With him I send him to bed about 20 minutes before I expect him to go to sleep and by the time I walk in to tuck him in, it is nice and clean. He is so proud of himself when he is all done too. 

We have same problem with grand ma buying too much. What I suggested was trying to tell grandma to take trips to bank to deposit for them instead of store. Later kids will have this money for something they really need like car or school or insurance. Let her know that right now the kids are incapable of taking care of these things and it is not her fault. But money is going to waste
We have same problem with grand ma buying too much. What I suggested was trying to tell grandma to take trips to bank to deposit for them instead of store. Later kids will have this money for something they really need like car or school or insurance. Let her know that right now the kids are incapable of taking care of these things and it is not her fault. But money is going to waste
We have same problem with grand ma buying too much. What I suggested was trying to tell grandma to take trips to bank to deposit for them instead of store. Later kids will have this money for something they really need like car or school or insurance. Let her know that right now the kids are incapable of taking care of these things and it is not her fault. But money is going to waste
We have same problem with grand ma buying too much. What I suggested was trying to tell grandma to take trips to bank to deposit for them instead of store. Later kids will have this money for something they really need like car or school or insurance. Let her know that right now the kids are incapable of taking care of these things and it is not her fault. But money is going to waste

kids are not obsene stuffed animals are good the more u have the better

I can't help but notice the" Dekalb" sign hanging up...I live there :) too funny

Great article! I take photos of my kids rooms when they are clean, and ask them to refer to the picture if they forget what clean looks like! I wrote about it at www.therobomom.com, hope you like it!

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I just helped my little sister clean her room yesterday, and we did the exact same thing you said, and it works wonders! Also, I find that it helps if you get a piece of paper, and write them some weekly goals, and stick it on the wall or on a bedside table. (Such as clean the room every night, vacuum daily, make bed, etc.) If they complete all the goals, let them skip one chore. If they don't complete all of them, give them an extra chore. I have been doing this for a few weeks, and it works wonders.

These are some really great tips! It’s always good to teach kids at a young age to clean up their own room. If you think that your child isn’t old enough start with the cleaning themselves, let them at least help out if you’re the one who has to clean. Kids can be really tuff sometimes and refuse to listen to what you’re saying but kids are kids, be patient!

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Your ideas are great, and I agree that keeping the toy level under control is key. 2 months ago I let my daughters pick one milk crate each full of toys, and I donated everything else. It was great for a while, and they could clean their room by themselves without any problem at all in about 10 minutes. One Christmas, one birthday, and about 10 trips to the thift store with Grandma later (she goes there once a week with them, and always finds many things they can't live without), and now it's totally out of control again. Sooooo frustrating. I'm starting to feel like all the gifts my kids get are a burden! To me and to them! and I hate to keep getting rid of stuff that people have given them, but I don't know what else to do. Grandma is especially bad about buying them lots of things. I've told her to stop, but she won't.

Anyway, I guess I'm looking for suggestions on how to stop toys from multiplying! I mean, I literally just put 2 trash bags full of things in the crawl space, some of them new, and can't figure out what to do with it all.  HELP!

this is a great tip for organizing the room!

I liked this a lot.  Thanks.  I will try your strategy when I get home tonight from work :)

These were some really excellent suggestions. I also like Jasimar's idea about the collapsable bins. And the Hello Kitty decor is to die for!  :)
Great post.   I've noticed that there's this magic limit to items in a room that make it very easy to maintain.  If I have too much stuff in a room, it never looks neat.  Either that or I have to work too hard to make it so.  One thing to add for the bookshelves.. Target and sometimes Dollar stores have these fabulous collapsable bins.  They look great on shelves and are great for just chucking stuff in.
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