My friend Jenny Ingram from Jenny on the Spot recently took to Facebook to ask other mothers for help. She said she was having a hard time getting her 6- and 9-year-old girls to keep their rooms clean and needed advice.
Holla! My children’s rooms become more and more dangerous throughout the week, and then we make them clean up on the weekend as part of their chores. Usually. The 10-year-old handles it fairly well, while my 5-year-old freaks out at the mere mention of tackling the giant mess she has made. It’s frustrating every time I walk in there and break an ankle tripping on something. Soon I won’t have any ankles left.
Jenny got a lot of responses on Facebook and was happy to share them with Babble readers in case any of you also have messy room issues.
Please tell me some of you have kids with messy room issues.
After looking at all of the responses, it seems like there were five general options that most parents cited:
1. Tell the kids to keep their doors closed so you don’t have to look at the mess. Let them live how they choose. They’ll grow out of it eventually, or they won’t but then it won’t be your problem anymore.
2. Have group cleaning days where everybody pitches in around the house, including the kids cleaning their own rooms with your help. The rest of the time, don’t worry about it.
3. Take something they love away, like their phone or video games, until they keep their room clean for a period of time. This requires the parent to be consistent in checking for cleanliness, and starting the period over again if they stop keeping their room clean.
4. After fair warning, take everything out of their rooms and make them earn it back piece by piece through good behavior and doing their chores properly.
5. After fair warning, take everything they’ve left on the floor, put it in garbage bags and take it to Goodwill. Case closed.
We usually do #2, where we all work together as much as possible on a Saturday to clean up. I’m not sure I could go as far as #5. Especially when it’s not exactly like I always model good behavior. You should see the mess on the floor next to my side of the bed.
There were two other unique suggestions I thought you might like:
6. Jessica Bern explained, “My kid has money saved from gifts given to her. I am in charge of the account. I tell her if she doesn’t keep clean, I’m taking money out of her account to pay for a housekeeper to come and clean it then.” A couple of other moms said something similar. They’ll clean the room, but the kid has to pay for the energy used by mom and dad to do so in some other way.
7. Jeannine Van Sandt shared a positive reinforcement story that was pretty cute: “My best friend and I would trade being ‘room fairy,’ with all the room fairy dress-up, with each other’s kids. We could pop in at any time! The treat was small if their room was clean or they earned stars that lead to a treat … the kids loved it.” Somebody get me a fairy costume.
Have you used any of these methods to get your kids to keep their rooms clean? What has worked?
Photo credit: MorgueFile/anda2007