Guest article by Cherie Rodriguez. A crafty mom, Cherie shares her tips with other DIY moms. She loves jogging along the beach and playing catch with Dusty the family dog and hanging out with her 2-year-old, Greta and 6-year-old, Travis.
In an informal survey conducted by Good Housekeeping, most parents agreed that their biggest battles with their tweens and teens are about messy bedrooms. To prevent this in your home, it’s important to develop cleaning habits with your children at a young age and continually enforce them as they grow older. Here are seven tips for raising neat and tidy children to get you started:
Instead of just telling your kids to clean their rooms, clearly spell out what tasks they need to complete. Parenting experts at TheBump.com recommend you “set clear, age-appropriate expectations for your child” to help set them up for success.
Develop a Sense of Accountability
Once you’ve set clear expectations, it can help to visually track your child’s success. One way to do this is by hanging a chart on your child’s bedroom door with columns for each cleaning task. When each task is completed place a sticker in the column. It helps to add an incentive, such as for every 15 stickers earned your child gets to go to the zoo, ice skating or another fun experience. Avoid using toys and candy as incentives in favor of adventures where you can spend quality time together.
Let Kids Redecorate
Establishing pride of place is an easy way to help your child take on the responsibility of cleaning their room. You can do this by letting your child decorate his or her bedroom. From selecting a bright hue of paint at the hardware store to sorting through the selection of Macy’s duvet covers and rearranging the furniture, the entire process can be an enjoyable bonding experience for you both.
Make it Fun
Who said cleaning has to be tedious? Make the chore of cleaning the bedroom exciting for your young children by relating it to something they’re interested in. Does your daughter love to sing and dance? Turn on some upbeat music and have a cleaning dance party. Does your son love animals? Play a make-believe game where his room is a zoo and all of the animals have escaped. Putting his toys, books and clothes away can be “returning animals to their cages.”
Downsize & Donate
Kaboose parenting experts note: “Extra stuff complicates our cleaning and makes kids discouraged. It caused problems because we lose things and get frustrated and it can be the source of family fights.” Make an effort to downsize the clutter quarterly or at least every six months. This can make the task of cleaning their room less daunting for your kids. Get rid of any toys, books and clothes that you children haven’t used in the last six months. Donate gently used items to a local charity, church or Goodwill.
Establish a One-In-One-Out Rule
Prevent clutter from accumulating by setting a one-in-one-out rule: for every new toy or article of clothing that you purchase, you must get rid of one. This will teach your children an important lesson in consumption; perhaps your daughter will think twice before asking for a new Barbie doll when she knows it means she’ll have to get rid of one.
Set a Good Example
Remember, you children look to you as a role model and they often pick up on bad habits that you may not even know that you have. Ensure that your little sponges learn the best habits from you by being mindful. Go the extra mile to keep your own bedroom and the rest of the house neat and tidy.