Nothing is more frustrating to a parent than a child’s messy room. Teaching kids to clean their room is such an important tool for navigating our relationship with our child. I see the process of helping a child learn to manage their room as a life skill that will be with them into adulthood.
Before you begin to discipline your child, it would be helpful to consider the following:
- Who needs this room clean now? Usually, it’s the parent and not the child, so realizing the parent has a high level of motivation and energy toward getting the room clean, and the child may not have any interest at all in getting the room clean. Being clear and understanding your child’s perspective can drive the communication more effectively.
- Are your expectations age appropriate? Because little children love to help, we often expect them to be able to keep their room clean. But really, it’s a big responsibility and a big chore, and it takes time for them to learn.
- Is there a consistent expectation for your child? So often, we do not consistently implement a message about the room. Kids work best with clear directions, personal attention and a consistent message from us as to what we want them to do. Along with this is appreciation for the contribution their helpfulness makes to you and the family environment.
So now that you have thought more about it…let’s jump in with some hands-on advice. In this article, and in more detail on the accompanying MP3, you will learn 6 specific ways you can help your child learn responsibility for cleaning their room.
- Look at the messy room as an opportunity to parent each of your kids more effectively
- Give only 1 small task or chore (responsibility) to a toddler
- Be willing to help as is age appropriate – giving more responsibility as they get older
- Break the task into smaller steps…”Pick up everything that is red first” or “pick up all the toys first”
- Have a Saturday “Room Cleaning” day for the messy room
- Create an agreement to provide a “Room Check” with your older child.
I have recorded a 3.5 minute Parenting Pep Talk with more details about each of these 6 tips for Getting Their Messy Room Clean.
If you would like to learn how to deal with power struggles, take my Video Class on Dealing with Power Struggles.
For more ideas, I would also suggest you take my Positive Parenting Teleclass on MP3.
I strongly encourage you to respond to this post and to share your ideas for helping kids keep their room clean. Not every idea works for every child, so the more discussion about this, the more helpful it can be. I also encourage you to share your successes and challenges with these ideas.
Messy Room No More!