Summer is over and keeping a clean room often goes by the wayside as kids have friends over and parents enjoy a bit of free time from the busyness of the school year. With school about to begin again, teaching your kids to keep their rooms clean and organized is more important than ever. And with clean and organized rooms, kids and parents can breathe easier when school starts, and all runs according to plan.
Keep in mind, that the amount of cleaning and organization needed varies depending on the age of your children, the size of your home, the total toys and belongings and the extent your children can help with laundry. While you may think laundry is unusual here, consider how much laundry your home generates as well as the washing, the folding, and the put away required and you’ll understand.
Toy Control and Organization
Toys can overtake a space quickly, so keeping toys organized and out of sight is a great place to start. You might consider keeping some toys tucked away and rotating toys in and out of your designate storage. Many families have found this system keeps children and parents from being overwhelmed during play and cleanup and keeps your children’s choices fresh and their play more imaginative.
Cleaning and Consequences
When you begin teaching your kids to clean use the tried and true teaching by example method. Work alongside your kids to clean their room the first few times. By doing so you will accomplish two things – you’ll teach them to clean and organize the way you like it, as well as develop confidence and a sense of pride in your children. They’ll also learn the right way to get things done the first time.
Making the bed should be part of your children’s daily routine, making the room look neat and tidy from the start of the day. If your kids are too small to accomplish this task alone, help them get the job done until they can manage it on their own.
Above all, let your kids know that making the bed and keeping their room picked up results in positive consequences – like choosing a favorite activity for the day during the summer, or a special weekend activity while school is in session. This method will help reinforce good cleaning and organizing habits for a lifetime.
Like adults, children respond well to specific instructions and singular tasks. While it’s easy to say “clean your room” it’s not necessarily easy for kids to understand or accomplish. The result will more likely be children who are overwhelmed with the direction given. You can make the tasks easy to accomplish by giving your children step by step instructions, even providing a simple checklist for older kids to mark off as they accomplish the room cleaning goals. Always be sure the instructions you give are age appropriate and can be done successfully by your children, avoiding frustration. Here are some ideas for kids who are six and up: make bed, put clean clothes and toys away, stack books on the shelf, sort laundry, dust, and wipe down the bathroom. Keep cleaning supplies on hand – a duster, a vacuum, even a small cleaning caddy.
Provide a Good Example
Be sure you provide a good example for your children. By making your bed and keeping your clothes, shoes, and other items picked up and put away, your children are more likely to follow your instructions willingly. Remember modeling good behavior is a great way to teach cleaning and organization skills.