7 Basics for Getting Kids to Clean Their Rooms

Posted by Pam Young

May 30, 2014 5:00:00 AM

It’s a battle that’s waged in millions of households across America every Saturday morning. When I was a kid, I called it the SRF, Saturday Room Fit!

Mom would stand in the doorway to my very messy bedroom, hands on her hips, eyes blazing like a drill sergeant barking commands to her new recruits and her voice, behind clenched teeth, like a cat in battle for its life, would hit my tender eardrums, “You are NOT leaving this room until it’s clean!”

Most moms feel frustrated with their kids’ messy rooms and they feel they need to impose some sense of order or they’ve failed. If your kids have messy rooms, you are not a failure and neither are your children. Let’s not freak out about this issue. Hey, Stephen Spielberg’s mom was scared to go in his room when he was a boy, because it was such a mess.

My mom was so frustrated with my disorganized sister and me that she researched the problem. One psychologist said, “Just shut the door to their room and out of a natural desire for order, they’ll clean it up eventually.” Those were pre-Google days, and unfortunately that recommendation is still being disseminated to weary moms throughout the Internet. It’s not good advice. My sister and I had no semblance of a natural desire for order and that’s what lead to the dreaded SRF.

You Already Intuitively Know This

Establishing regular routines for yourself and your children provides some predictability and stability in your home life. Knowing how to clean and do basic chores will serve your children when they grow up and manage homes of their own.

Having kids put things in order teaches them to be responsible for their things and when we moms can make the process fun, we change the game from the SRF to joy and excitement! So how can you change something that’s been a battle into something that’s suddenly fun?

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Topics: Cleaning, Chores and Children

Laundry Put-away

Posted by Pam Young

May 29, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Jones’s Delivery Service

My sister had three babies in three years (that tells you how disorganized she was). One day she asked her middle son Jeff to put away the clothes she’d folded. He was playing with his Legos and ignored her. She asked him again, getting the typical response of a four-year-old, “Okay, just a minute.” She wanted the clothes to be put away immediately and as she drew in a big breathe to yell the order; she decided to change her tactic. She put a hand to one of her ears and said:

“Ring, ring, ring?”

Jeff looked up with a puzzled look on his face, but she had his attention. She said,

“Answer your phone,” pointing to a pretend phone in the air.

He picked up the imaginary phone and said: “Hello?”

“Hi, is this the Jones Delivery Service?” She then whispered out of character, “use that box as your truck.”

“Yes, this is the Jones Delivery Service.”

“Oh great! I’ve heard so much about you! You’re quick and dependable and you travel anywhere to deliver stuff.”

“Yes, we do!”

“Well, I need you to come to 6934 SW Gleason and pick up some stuff to be delivered.”

Jeff proceeded to run the box (using a motor sound) all around the living room, ending with the sound of squeaky brakes.

“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here! I need these clothes to be delivered to their owners.”

Jeff proceeded to put the piles of folded laundry into the perspective rooms with a great deal of joy!

Peggy warned, that the next day, she tried to get Jeff’s attention with, “ring, ring, ring,” and Jeff responded, “The Joneses are not in.”

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Topics: Chores and Children