How To Get Your Kid To Clean Their Room


Kids can be adorable, with their boundless energy, toothy smiles, and buckets of giggles. But they can also be slobs. Their cuteness only sugarcoats the messes they leave trailing behind, to the side, and even in front of them. The moment you get one room clean, they have somehow managed to destroy another. If only parents could take all of that energy and put it to good use! When it comes to cleaning a house, the kids’ bedrooms are where parents often don’t go. My mom would let our rooms pile high with clothes and random items and let the stench force us into cleaning it. If it was our mess, it was our responsibility. I do admire her for sticking to rules even while we used every excuse imaginable on her. By creating rules, routines, and rewards, kids can be motivated to clean their rooms from a young age clear through their teenage years.

Set rules and stick to them. This may seem basic, but it can be the hardest step. Kids will test you; they will try anything to get out of cleaning their room. Have a rule that the bed needs to be made every single morning before eating breakfast. When I make my bed, my messy room seems less chaotic and is easier to clean, and kids focus and work best when there is only a single task. It will help motivate them to keep their room clean the rest of the day. Before bed time, have a rule to clean their room; pick up toys, put clothes away, and clean that day’s mess. Follow your rules almost every day despite the excuses you are sure to hear. Do not back down! Whining will be the first thing you hear. Then suddenly, your child’s legs will be broken; cleaning is, of course, impossible with broken legs. The stomach flu will hit them next, accompanied by sneezing from allergies developed from their room. When the crying stops and you are positive the battle is won, they will sweetly ask you with big innocent eyes for “help” because “We work so well as a team.” Don’t be fooled by the cuteness: Stick to your rules!

Kids thrive on routine. When I think about the chores we did regularly around the house growing up, I don’t remember hating them or crying over the work. They were chores we did every day, and so I never really thought much about them. The chores that weren’t a part of our regular routine were the ones my mom dragged me to do kicking and screaming. Routines take away the surprises and will cut back on the fits. Every night, have your children brush their teeth, dress in pajamas, clean their bedroom, and get in bed for a story. Mixing cleaning with other important tasks takes the focus off of work.

Don’t take out a loan so you can pay your kids large amounts of money to keep their rooms clean. It isn’t worth it. While allowances are great, there are many rewards that kids enjoy that don’t involve money at all. Ask your child to clean their room before choosing a favorite board game to play as a family. Giving extra time and attention to your child is one of the most priceless and memorable rewards a parent can give. For tweens and teens, allow extra computer or game time after a bedroom is clean. Give them a cell phone as a gift that can only be used when they continually keep their room clean. Most importantly, talk with your kid about what will help them keep their room clean. Everyone is different, and only trial and error can tell you what will work best for your child.

Need more ideas? Here are some tips:

Image Courtesy of Woodleywonderworks (Flickr)

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