Clean Your Room!

Clean your room! The very words that no child wants to hear and parents wish they never had to say. Anyone who has a child or who has ever been a child knows how awful those words can be. No one wants to hear that they are messy or that they have work to do. From the parent perspective, no one wants to criticize their children or make them feel bad about themselves. Keeping a clean room is a good lesson in responsibility. Teaching kids to keep their rooms clean can be a daunting task. Or…it can be a lot of fun. Let’s explore some ways to encourage cleanliness in a fun and more positive manner. 

Provide Incentives

It can be very difficult to motivate a child to clean their room. Cleaning is work and work can be a boring thing to do. Providing incentives for a job well done can go a long way toward getting the job done. Choosing something that a child will enjoy and offering it upon completion of the job is often helpful. If a child loves ice cream (and what child doesn’t) then a trip to the neighborhood ice cream parlor for a treat might help him/her get the room clean in a hurry. Maybe your child would not be motivated by food but would rather get an extra half hour of TV or video game time. The trick is to find something that will encourage results and offer it.

Financial Incentives

Some children may not respond very well to the offer of a material reward. If this is the case perhaps a monetary reward is the answer. Adults go to work and get paid for the product that they delivered. There are parents who find that paying their child for cleaning their room teaches things such as a good work ethic along with responsibility. The added bonus here is that children can begin to learn about money. Fiscal responsibility is an important lesson and can begin at a very early age.

Make It Fun

Everybody likes to have fun. Making the job of cleaning their room into a fun activity increases the chances that it will get done. Competition can be helpful. When a parent challenges a child to see who can get a job done first the competitive edge kicks in and before you know it both jobs are finished. Turn on some music and dance and sing while the cleaning is getting done. If everyone involved is having a good time it seems a lot less like work and chances are their will be less whining and complaints.

Use a Visual Tool

Visual tools can very helpful when attempting to encourage a child to clean their room. A chart hanging on the bedroom door that reminds them what they need to do means that the parent does not have to nag. A sticker chart, where one small sticker is given for each accomplishment allows a child to see their progress as they save their rewards for something more substantial. This method teaches children the value of waiting and working towards a goal rather than the instant gratification that they are often used to.

Be An Example

Last, but not least, take a look at your own room, desk or workspace. If you see a mess then that is what your children will see too. It is pretty hard to make a child see the value in a clean room if you don’t show that you value it. By keeping your own areas clean and neat you are teaching your children by example. This can be a much more effective teaching tool than the ‘do as I say, not as I do method’.

Cleaning your room will never be as much fun as a trip to the park or your favorite ice cream sundae. But it does not have to be as dreaded an event as a trip to the dentist or a pile of homework either. With a little work parents can find the appropriate encouragement to get the kids to clean their rooms. Make it fun, reward in some small way and make sure that you are “practicing what you preach”. It will be worth the effort to know that the room is clean and a valuable lesson has been learned.