Feeling outnumbered when it comes to cleaning your home? Here are some top tips to get your kids to clean their room, and there is no nagging involved!
A clean home provides a safe, healthy and creative space for you and your kids to enjoy. The problem is, with so many things on the go it can feel impossible to hold their attention long enough to complete chores, like cleaning up after themselves.
If your own sanity isn’t enough of a motivator for inspiring your kids to help with keeping their rooms organised, what about the long-term benefits? Having good cleaning habits is important for their time management, well being and respect for themselves and their possessions growing up. So get them started as early as possible by making it fun.
Here are some simple and effective ways to get your kids to do their part and maintain a clean and open space.
ONE THING AT A TIME
It’s a good habit to get into, packing up one thing before starting another. Giving your kids a five-minute warning before changing tasks gives them time to wind down and pack up before running out of the room (to go out, sit down to dinner or take a bath).
Once you have this firmly in place they will have better focus and attention on what they are doing.
If you are still getting started on the one-thing-at-a-time rule you may be faced with a situation where you literally can’t see a way from your child’s door to the bed.
That’s okay, the one thing at a time rule can still apply. Ask them to choose one thing in their room to pick up and put away. This will help break through the overwhelm of where to start. All that needs to happen is one thing. You might find it helpful to divide the room in half (or quarters) to give them more direction. What about one thing in that part of the room?
Cleaning each section entirely before moving on to the next will give them a clear snapshot of how anything is possible, if you just focus attention and energy on one area.
Adding some music (or singing a cleaning song if they are small) will help keep their mind from wandering off tasks, as well as make it more fun.
DO IT TOGETHER
Leading by example is the fastest way for your kids to learn. When it comes to packing up an activity, sit with them the first few times and do it together. Tell them what you are doing so they are able to understand the process and can copy what you are doing. Remember they are still learning and developing, cleaning up is a skill that needs to be taught, we are not automatically born understanding how to be tidy. It’s important that they get involved and not allow you to do all the grunt work. Praise them when they do a good job and show them the correct way when things start to fall apart. If they are tired or hungry or impatient, just keep reminding them that rest, or the next game, or something to eat is going to happen as soon as the clean up is done.
After the first few times gradually do less and less yourself and let them take full responsibility for the cleanup step by step.
3. CHALLENGE THEM
The younger your kids are the easier it is to make fun out of a challenge. Let them compete against each other for the cleanest room or most items picked up or work them against the clock (one with seconds is most effective). Time them to see how long it takes or give them a time restriction in which to operate.
Dare them to set their own challenges.
Have rewards on hand for who can keep the cleanest room all week.
4. CHART THEIR PROGRESS
A star chart is a great way to give kids a big picture of their performance.
It’s also a healthy and rewarding way to give them praise and recognition.
For each completed goal or chore that is completed correctly a star is added to the chart. If the goal number of stars is completed in a week then a reward is received.
Tip: activity rewards work better than gifts in most cases. Allow the child to choose an activity or have an activity already picked that you can enjoy as a family.
Cleaning up together can mean more time to spend doing the things you like together. Getting them connected to the idea of what can be gained from cleaning will be a positive lifelong lesson.
5. MAKE A VIDEO
Let your kids be the star in their own how-to video.
This can be a lot of fun and a great school holiday project.
Takes turns in front of and behind the ‘camera’ (aka phone or iPad). Commentate on the work being done to show the audience ‘How To Clean Your Room’.
Edit it together and add a soundtrack and special effects for memories you can keep and bring out for their 21st birthday.
6. DO IT YOURSELF
Get together to make your own cleaning products.
Kids love seeing where things originate from. If you’ve ever grown anything from scratch with them you’ll know the fascination of something coming alive before their eyes.
Set them up with their own cleaning kit (a mini spray bottle, cloth and gloves).
Recipe for multi-purpose surface cleaner:
- Half a cup of vinegar
- Six drops of lavender oil
- Spray bottle
Combine ingredients in spray bottle and fill to the top with tap water.
What better way to start the New Year than a clean up with all hands on deck! Use these top tips to get your kids to clean their room and the benefits will be felt throughout 2018.
Peta Stewart – Certified Practicing Conveyancer