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8 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms

This morning as I was perusing Pinterest I saw a pin telling you how to get kids to clean their rooms.  My initial response was, "Really"?  But, then I took a step back and considered.  Are there families out there struggling to get their kids to clean their rooms?  The answer is YES.  Are there families who value the power of objects more than a calm and happy space?  Yes.  In response to this stream of thought I decided a blog post was in order.

You see, when I was growing up the idea of whether or not I would clean my room did not exist.  Cleaning my room was just a part of life.  Now that I AM an adult, when we have guests I get these kinds of comments:

"Where is all of your stuff?"

"How do you keep your home so clean?"

In response to these questions I want to share some tips and tell you how they relate to your children's rooms.

Make a decision to create sacred space in your home, your sanctuary, your refuge from the world and share this idea with your children on whatever level they can understand.  As I have walked these many years on my spiritual journey and have had the opportunities to study so many traditions with so many masters - including the sacred art of Feng Shui, I have been reminded over and over again that my home is my sacred space. This does not mean you must have an altar or it must look and feel like a Buddhist temple or a church but it should be where you feel safe, relaxed and yourself.  It is difficult to feel any of these things if you are sleeping with all of your laundry.

  1. Keep Your Home Neat and Clean.  Yes.  I mean you. You cannot expect your children to keep their room clean or make their beds if you are not setting that example.  I'm not talking about making your home look like a Pottery Barn ad.  What I am talking about is just keeping it tidied up.  Walk through the house each morning and evening before bed and tidy up.  It will make life much easier each day and will help the kids know how good it feels to be in a clean space. Promise!

  2. Remember LESS IS MORE.  I'm going to tell you something absolutely true.  We rarely eat fast food.  Why am I telling you this?  Because I do not allow things like toys from a fast food box into my home.  Even if we have a weak (busy) moment and pull into a Sonic I can promise you that no food is ordered that comes with a toy.  We are mindful of what toys and books our children have and believe in SIMPLICITY in those regards.  Just say no to the excess.  It's really that easy and it will bring peace to your home.

  3. Be organized and give your children tools for organization.  You cannot expect your children to put their things away if there is not a designated space for said things.  An open bin or toy box is a recipe for disaster.  When he was younger (okay, he still plays with them), my son played with three types of toys.  We have Playmobil, Legos and wooden trains.  I have designated bins and spaces for all of these things.  Why does that matter?  It allowed for easy clean-up and kept him from melting down because he could not find [fill in the blank] piece.

  4. Purge regularly.  Every 6 months I do a clean sweep of the house.  As diligent as we are in regards to toys, paper, food in the bedrooms, etc. it is AMAZING what sneaks in.  I cannot imagine what would happen if we did not adhere to simplicity and cleanliness.

  5. Teach your children how to put things away.  This sort of goes hand in hand with Number 1 and setting an example but really, children must be taught how to clean up after themselves.  When they are really small it is singing a clean up song and putting their toys (the very few toys) into appropriate bins.  As they move into late toddlerhood and preschool years it is continuing to work side by side with them (think of the developmental side by side play) to help them pick up. By the time they enter Kindergarten there is really no reason for them to not be able to clean up  on their own (provided they are not overwhelmed by the amount of toys they have or the lack of organizational materials).

  6. Tell your children to clean their rooms.  This is where it gets real for the school-age set.  Tell your children to do it and mean it.  (Gasp!) As a general rule, children need EXPLICIT instructions.  "Little Susie (or Teen Susie), clean your room."  There is no room here for discussion and that is okay.  Really.  I give you permission as the adult to teach good habits to your children.  We want to hold them and coddle them.  I know!  I have those urges too.  There are times we can do that.  But, we are not doing our children any favors by allowing them to be slobs or not help in the home - especially in regards to their own rooms.

  7. Stick to your guns.  It seems like this is the same as Number 5 but that is for them.  This is for you.  Do not waiver.  You need to decide what level of cleanliness you need in your home  for you and your family to be healthy and happy and to be able to think of your home as sacred.  Once you make that decision stick to it. "No, you cannot go outside.  No, you cannot read your book.  No, you cannot play on the Wii, text your friends or do your nails.  You can clean your room and when it is finished let me know so I can determine if you are ready for free time. "  I know this seems harsh but looking for a mate to a shoe is no fun if it is buried under a pile of dirty laundry when you have to be at school in 15 minutes.  At least it does not sound like fun to me.  Sticking to your guns can be hard but these life lessons are what help build strong adults.

There are really some great resources out there in the library and on the web for  assisting you even further.  The article that prompted the initial blog post was from Living Well Spending Less and...well... I went back and read it and was really great.  It's definitely worth taking a look at.  Another great resource is Kim John Payne.  I had the pleasure to work with him over the course of two years through my son's school.  His work on simplicity is fantastic.  Click here to read one of his blog postings on what he has dubbed Simplicity Parenting.

Now put on your big girl panties and get to work.  You can do it!


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