Teaching Children to Keep Their Rooms Clean and Organized


Kids voluntarily cleaning their rooms and keeping things organized? Yes, it’s possible! You’ll simply have to dedicate a bit of time to instilling healthy habits and setting the rules. If you do a good job, kids will have the right stimuli to help in the cleaning process and keep their things organized.

So how does this miraculous process start? It’s very simple – all you have to do is set the right example.

Set the Right Example

You can’t expect kids to maintain order in a house that’s generally disorganized and cluttered. The best way to teach kids important habits is by setting an example yourself.

Kids are very sensitive and they pay attention to just about everything happening in their immediate surroundings. If you can’t be bothered to pick up the pile of dirty clothes from the floor, why should kids be bothered to keep their rooms organized?

Order and cleanliness have to be a part of your everyday existence. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself incapable of getting results.

Set Rules

When it comes to less desirable tasks, kids are very unlikely to take cleaning up on themselves. This is why you have to create structure as a parent. There should be rules and rewards that will be the ideal stimuli to provoke favorable behavior.

Let kids know that when they’re done vacuum cleaning, they’ll be allowed to have TV time or anything else that little ones desire. This structure is essential. If kids are allowed to come home from school and turn on the TV immediately, they’ll have no incentive to participate in tasks that are boring or cumbersome.

Once the daily structure is clarified and internalized, it will become a lot easier to maintain order and tidiness throughout the house.

Communicate Your Expectations Clearly

The definition of a clean room varies from parent to parent. In addition, the mess that you see may seem like perfect tidiness to little ones. To avoid lengthy and completely pointless negotiations, you should let kids know right from the start what the definition of a clean room is.

This definition should also be used to determine the daily cleaning activities that kids will have to be involved in.

Some of the most common cleaning and organizing tasks that kids are expected to participate in include:

  • Making their beds in the morning
  • Putting toys in the right place when they’re done playing
  • Keeping clean clothes in the closet and dirty ones – in the laundry basket
  • Vacuum cleaning and dusting their rooms (at least once per week)

This is it! Most of these tasks require just a few minutes per day. Once kids get used to the routine, they wouldn’t even notice that they’re picking up toys and putting them in the bin or on the shelves.

Notice and Praise Their Efforts

Kids are eager to get your approval. If you don’t notice and acknowledge the effort that they’re putting in cleaning a room, chances are that their enthusiasm to do chores will die in a very short period of time.

Praise efforts, even if little ones are just learning how to do it. True, the bed may not be made ideally. Still, the effort and the desire to do a good job should count much more than the actual outcome.

Help Kids

To teach kids how important cleaning is, you should be involved in the process. Don’t hesitate to spend 10 to 15 minutes helping on more challenging tasks that little ones may be incapable of handling on their own.

Depending on the age of the child, you may be required to help with heavier or bulkier items, vacuuming or folding clothes. Take some time to show your child the right technique. Repeat a couple of times and allow your child to observe. The next time, let your kid try the chore and supervise the execution. By teaching children how to clean and organize, you’ll be involved in the process, you’ll spend quality time together and you’ll also make sure that cleaning isn’t going to lead to injuries or accidents.

Don’t do the Job Yourself

If your child is old enough to deal with room cleaning, you shouldn’t step in and get the job done.

Some parents get so mad and they simply can’t stand the mess. Instead of getting children to do the job, however, they clean up everything. Needless to say, this behavior teaches kids that they can get away with anything and they don’t need to be involved in common family responsibilities.

Once kids get the message that they can get away with flunking their responsibilities, your authority as a parent is going to be ruined completely.

Hold kinds accountable, change the stimuli and take away privileges if the job isn’t right. By the time they reach elementary school, kids are capable of doing all of the chores on their own. Cleaning the entire house by yourself may seem like an easier thing to do but it’s not going to be beneficial in the long run.

Teaching kids to keep rooms clean and organized does require parental involvement. Dedicate some time to helping little ones and make sure that the rest of the house is kept clean, as well. By having everyone involved in the process, you’ll enjoy a much more exciting living space.

By Cliff Derksen, owner of First Impressions Janitorial, a Winnipeg cleaning company (www.firstimpressionsjanitorial.ca)