As a parent, I feel like the only thing I ever say is, “Please clean your room.” I’m sure my children would agree. I feel like the majority of parenting is figuring out how to establish cleaning tips for kids, like how to put things away when they are done with them. But, after a little reflection and a long conversation, I realized that we need to do more than tell them how to clean up, we need to show them.
So I started by letting go of my too-high standards. It doesn’t matter how the bed is made, or if the shoes are lined up in the closet. It matters that they learn why we do those things. I have some ideas that have worked in our house on keeping things neat and tidy, for you to share with your kids, and eliminate the struggle.
Here’s 3 easy cleaning tips for kids:
I remember reading an article about how a little girl was just so overwhelmed with her messy bedroom that she didn’t know what to do. That hit home. So I spent some time looking at my approach. Instead of saying “clean your room” I now say, “Put away all the books.” Then I follow that with, put your clothes away, make your bed, etc. I give each direction individually. That way they know exactly what to do.
Be age appropriate.
The simple way I instructed my five-year-old to clean her room, is not going to work on her brother, who is now almost 10. He is capable of doing more than one thing at a time, so he may get a written list of what to do in his room. As children age, they can handle more demanding chores, even though they may not do them the same way. They can also be expected to remember to do things on their own.
“Clean your room,” is not a reasonable direction for anyone. What is clean? There are so many deep thinkers masquerading as children who will challenge us on this. To a child, clean may simply mean “not dirty.” To a parent, it may mean orderly and tidy. Laying down guidelines early on and enforcing them throughout the house will help here. In our house, clean means things in their place. So cleaning the playroom means toys are away.
Parenting is hard, let’s not make it any harder on ourselves, or our children as we train them to be contributing members of society. One day at a time, one battle at a time. One piece of folded laundry at a time.
I know that when my children are older, they aren’t going to remember why they roll their t-shirts instead of folding them. Or why they put socks and pajamas in the same drawer. I hope they don’t remember all the times I scolded them about it. But I’m sure they will do these things.Read comments