If you missed part one, “Decluttering Toys,” you can find it here.
I posted a few tips about getting kid’s rooms decluttered but once you get it together, how do you get them to keep it that way?
One thing is to place a chart at their eye level. We often put the chore charts in the kitchen, which is fine, but you might consider putting a chore chart with just bedroom chores in their rooms. Write or place pictures of things like make your bed, pick up clothes, pick up toys and so on and, as with other charts, be sure to give lots of praise, stars or stickers when they do a good job. Kids tend to respond better to things that are put in writing (or in pictures) than they do with barked orders.
Train your kids. Show them how to do a chore. Then show them again and then show them again and again and again. We often think if we show children something once, twice or even three times they should be able to do it on their own but they can’t always learn things that fast. When I start a new job, if they show me how to do a job I have never done before for just one or two days, I can’t always get it. I would become very overwhelmed, discouraged and stressed. A good company will train you for at least two weeks every day. Our children need the same training and more.
Be specific when you tell a child to do something. Their idea of a clean room and yours are worlds apart. If you say, “Pick up your room,” don’t be surprised if they pick up two things and call it good. You need to say something like, “Pick up everything off of your floor.”
Work with your children. Whether you are an adult or child, you feel so much more motivated to do a job when you have someone helping you or encouraging you on. How many of you come to our website for encouragement and motivation? Children need encouragement from their parents so when you can, work together on their rooms, especially if they need a big clean up.
Make any cleaning up project a game. I was watching my grandkids today while Tawra was at the doctor’s office and told the boys I would race them to see if they could pick up all of the toys in the living room before I cleared the kitchen table and counters. You never saw any kids move as fast as they did trying to beat me. Of course I let them win.
I also get them to see if they can clean their rooms in less then 10 minutes or we all see how fast we can pick up 10, 15, 20 items.
We all do a better job if we have the proper tools, so buy small sized cleaning things for them like little brooms, dust pans, small dust rags (socks made into hand puppets are fun) and stools so they can reach things.
The biggest factor in helping control kids’ rooms is to get rid as much excess stuff as you can. They don’t need 50 race cars, 25 dolls or a shoe box crammed full of crayons. I used to have one box of 24 crayons in my room and you had better believe I took care of them because I didn’t want to lose that “special” color. If you don’t think your children have that many things, lay out their dolls, cars and other toys and count how many they have. I think you will be shocked.
Be sure to check out our Saving With Kids e-Book Series for many more tips like these.
Warning: Don’t become discouraged. It may be that only a couple of tips from this article may work for you. It has been a never ending battle throughout the ages (well maybe for the last 50 years) to get kids to pick up their rooms and to find functional ways to store things. Bigger people than I have tried to find the answer and so far have failed. Even if they get the storage down to a science, getting the kids to use the storage has failed.
The main thing to keep in mind is not to give up. It takes patience, time and work. This is one area where you won’t see the rewards of your hard work for many years – like about 20-30 years, but it will happen. It comes when your 20 year old son takes your trash out without being told. You sit there in amazement and wonder, “When and how did this happen?” Then there is the phone call from your daughter bemoaning the fact she can’t get the kids to keep their rooms clean.
Ahhhh, the sweet sweet rewards of seeing your offspring being tortured in the same way they tortured you years earlier! : ) : ) : )
photo by: horiavarlan