13 Imaginative ways to get children to tidy their bedroom.
Wouldn’t it be ideal if children would just tidy their bedroom, without nagging or ending up doing it yourself? Parents requests go from a polite, ‘Tidy up your bedroom, please,’ to ‘How many times do I have to tell you?’ To ‘Tidy up your bedroom, or else’ although the parents usually don’t know how to follow up their ‘or else’ and children know they are empty threats.
Parents may have allowed their children to pass by the ‘or else’ so many times that instead of respecting and listening to their first command, the matter usually escalates and both sides get frustrated, to say the least. Consequently, the child may tidy up their room but only the bare minimum and by that time the parent is so exhausted they usually make do or do the rest themselves.
But children should be taught how to clean up their mess so it becomes routine in their life, after all ‘cleanliness is part of faith/ iman’. Establishing a regular routine allows them to grow up with these core life skills as normal.
As parents, with busy schedules, we feel that many a time it’s just easier and quicker to do things for our children, but we actually do more harm than good for their development.
Here are top 13 imaginative ways to get children to tidy up their bedrooms with the least amount of fuss:
Schedule a clean-up time every day.
So this could be a ten minutes tidy up each day, be persistent so they get used to this. Don’t let a single day go without this routine, surely over time children will get used to it and it will become part of their normal routine. Be specific on the instructions of what ‘tidy’ means to do.
Set a morning and night-time routine.
You could also set a morning schedule and night time schedule, the morning time can include make their beds and do not leave their pyjamas on the floor. The night-time schedule could be ensuring all their toys are picked up and their uniform and school bags are ready for the next day. Even younger kids can make a habit of packing their reading books and pencil cases in their bags the night before. Younger children can also make their beds as best they can, they improve with age, as long as the habit remains. Be clear on your expectations of them and when you first start this routine, communicate what you mean by ‘tidy’ for example ‘make your beds’, ‘pick up your toys and put them away,’ ‘put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket.’
Taking a photo of before and after.
Get them to take a photo of their bedroom and once they have finished tidying, get them to show you. Do not enter their bedroom until you have seen the photo. This gives them a sense of empowerment, and it’s nice for them to see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ in the photo too.
Set a timer.
This works like a treat, set a countdown timer, you can do this on a mobile phone or a stopwatch. Leave the timer in their bedroom and set a specific, realistic time limit. Don’t leave it too long otherwise, they will get bored, and don’t be too ambitious otherwise they may just give up mid-way, feeling doomed to fail. Set the timer for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on their age.
You may want to give them a treat on completion, but be warned, don’t always give children a treat after a chore. Children have to learn, that in life, they may have to do things they may not necessarily want to do, it builds up a sense of resilience and not just entitlement. Treats work best with younger children, for example, a sticker chart, that is placed visually in the house so they can see (perhaps on the refrigerator or on their bedroom door). For older children, this may be to reduce their gaming time (setting a game time for electronics, tablets, or phones, is a necessity for older children).
The Sibling Race
If you have siblings, let them race each other, the person that puts away the most things wins by counting each item they put away.
Teach them to fold their clothes and use hangers from an early age. They won’t be perfect, but it’s the habit that counts. If they are too young, you can buy or make them a clothes folding board that makes folding fun.
Remove dirty clothes
Teach them to put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket daily. The best time is before they sleep, when they remove their clothes or their socks to put them straight in the laundry basket.
Ensure all storage is accessible
For younger children, make sure all their storage is at an accessible height, so avoid the excuse they can’t reach.
Teach them how to vacuum.
Even early on in life, children can be taught to take responsibility to vacuum their own bedrooms. For younger kids a hand-held vacuum or a cordless one helps. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, it’s the habit that counts.
Ensure everything has a clear place.
Make sure children know everything has a place, so things don’t just get piled up in the cupboard, desk or shelf. It helps to label boxes for younger children and put pictures on the boxes if they are too young to read e.g. a picture of a train on the box for where the train set goes. Don’t encourage children to just dump everything into one bog box, but buy separate storage boxes for each set of toys, apart from things like teddies or dolls, which can be grouped together in one box.
Give old belongings to charity
Encourage children to give old toys and clothes to charity and throw away broken toys, unless they can be recycled. Perhaps leave a bag or a box in their bedroom for this purpose, and when it gets full, take it to a charity shop and take the children with you, so they know where they old belongings go.
Don’t let them leave clothes on the floor
Encourage them to not leave items of clothing on the floor, make a rule that each item of clothing they remove goes on their bed, on their door hanger, or on their dresser. Every time they leave an item of clothing on the floor, they have a consequence, maybe it missing some of their gaming time, or having less of a dessert, or an earlier bedtime. Do not allow them to they say will pick it up later or tomorrow, be firm and consistent. Children will always try to change the boundaries and if you give in, they will know next time that you will give in again. After this becomes a habit, the consequence can be removed.
General cleaning of their bedrooms
As children get older, include things like dusting their shelves and wiping their windows, doors and skirting boards. The more they get used to this, the more it forms a habit and the less of a chore it becomes. You can set a timetable as to how often this should be done, perhaps weekly on a certain day.
People that end up having successful careers, become successful entrepreneurs and even those having happy, fulfilled relationships are those with effective management and organisational skills, whether it’s staff and the work process, or home organisation. These trivial but necessary, core life-skills allow children to develop as better human beings in their life.
It helps to be more minimalist so when children get new clothes or toys, encourage them to give away their old toys or clothes to charity. Tell them to get rid of broken toys.
A few things to be aware of as parents:
Don’t be a slave to your children. Experts agree that children learning to do things for themselves builds up self-esteem and resilience later on in life. By the time children are five, they are able to pick up their clothes, straighten their duvets, put their toys away, put their dirty clothes into the laundry basket and help set and clear the table. Don’t use the excuse, they are too young.
It helps to empower the kids when buying things for their bedroom, so they feel a sense of responsibility to keep it tidy.
Don’t aim for perfection, aim for the habit. Children need to know it’s a family home and they don’t need to be told off for not cleaning to their parent’s standards.
Are you house-proud and tidy? Remember children naturally copy more than being told something. If you feel your children don’t take any responsibility to keep things tidy, perhaps you need to look at yourself too?
Don’t forget to always pray that you are able to bring up your children with good character, faith and upbringing xxx