Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kids and their messy rooms

Earlier today my youngest daughter spilled her entire bowl of cereal on the floor and right after that my other daughter stepped in the milk and then needed to change her socks. Ugggghhh. The 2 things that I dislike, messes and laundry.

Dirty laundry is one of those things that almost everyone has. And messes, well when you have kids you have messes.

I know most kids are not going to put everything away where they find it. I know most kids will leave things out and forget where they put stuff. But in my girls’ room I can see why they can’t find anything.

The messes are terrible and I’m tired of the constant battle on trying to get them to clean theirs rooms. I’ve certainly struggled with this dilemma in our household. My kids, like their father, tend to be what I would kindly describe as “untidy,” while I have some OCD tendencies. There has to be happy middle ground, right?

Well instead of making myself stir crazy on keeping a tidy house, we 've been playing a game to get their rooms clean. They seemed to enjoy it. And they don’t know it, but they cleaned it themselves. They just think I helped.

To start, what I want you to do is walk into your child’s room. Stand right in the middle of it. Look around. How do you feel? If “exhausted, overwhelmed or frustrated” can to your mind then great. That is how your child feels when you send her/him to their room to clean it up.

Now get out some 3×5 cards and markers. Go back into your child’s room and write down on each card a step that is involved in cleaning up their room. It might look like this:

~Books back on shelves
~Laundry off floor into hamper
~Toys put back in bins
~Games picked up and stored in boxes
~Clean clothes hung up/put away.
~DVDs put back in their cases and put away
~Make bed

Now when your child comes home from school tell your child that you are going to help her clean up her room. She’ll be thrilled! Kassie was ecstactic when I told her I was helping. Hand her one of the cards and tell her to do what is on the card and then come back to you with the card completed. That’s when you put a sticker on the back of the card or draw a happy face.

Hand her the next card and so on. Do this every day until your child starts automatically putting things where they belong. You have created a system for your child that is easy to follow, clear, and has a reward attached to it. If your child cannot read, draw pictures on the cards.

My girls had fun cleaning their rooms and I didn’t even get frustrated. I only handed them each card. Now they’re getting into a routine of what they need to do.

It is nice not having to argue with them about cleaning their room….as for the rest of the house we are still trying to find our happy medium

Helpful Tip: A messy room is like an archaeological dig. You've gotta approach it in layers.

1 comment:

  1. Laura - I LOVED THIS POST!! My sons will be experimenting with it. Another thing someone recently told me was once you get the room cleaned and the way you want it - take pictures of each section of the room and tac the picture on the wall in each section. Tell your child that you want them to keep the section looking just like the picture. For example - a picture of the inside of the closet shows no clothes on the floor and all the clothes on hangers, shoes on the rack and so forth. Their task is to make it look like the picture each day....