Source: Project Nursery
I have two young kids, and I want to teach them the value of hard work. Specifically, I want them to be responsible for cleaning their rooms. So, despite their whining and complaining – I make them clean their rooms at least a couple times a week.
But here’s something you probably know about young children – they’re not very good at cleaning. When they tell me their room is “clean”, this usually means toys are not put away properly, things are shoved under the bed, and I’m actually kind of scared to even open the closet. And that’s okay! I think it’s more important to help them get used to a regular cleaning routine, then worry about a perfect result.
However, after a few of these kid-led cleaning sessions, you might notice their room is getting more and more cluttered. Even if their room is picked-up, their belongings start to accumulate – and before long it’s time for mom to step in. So you ready for my secret to getting their rooms organized to your standard?
Clean their room while they’re gone.
I know, I know. What about teaching them how to clean? Aren’t I spoiling them by cleaning their room for them? No. Don’t forget, you will continue to let them clean it most of the time. But every once in a while it’s mom’s turn. And here’s why you should do it alone:
You don’t have to argue about what needs to be donated or trashed.
I don’t know about you, but my kids will not part with their belongings for the most part. And I’m not just talking about toys. I’m talking about a small broken piece of concrete that they found out in the yard and now apparently is their greatest possession. I’m talking about the broken and dusty crayon that’s been under their bed for 2 months. So when they’re at school, I grab a trash bag and I do a quick sweep of their rooms. I throw away anything that is obviously trash – crumbled papers, broken McDonald’s toys, food wrappers, etc.
Next, I assess what needs to be donated. This can be old toys they don’t play with and clothes they’ve grown out of. I know which toys are very special to them, and of course, I don’t try to get rid of those. But if I haven’t seen them play with it for a while – into the box it goes. Telling them what you’re getting rid of is up to you. You can show them the box and explain the concept of donating, and hopefully, they won’t put up a fight. Or often, if you don’t mention the old toys – they won’t even notice.
You can set up new organizing systems to help improve their cleaning.
With my kids out of the way, I can really dive into their stuff and decide what organizing systems need to be put into place. For example, my daughter has a large collection of Hatchimals. They’re tiny little plastic animals that she loves to collect. Once while she was at school I found a cute bucket and gathered all her Hatchimals in it. I displayed it on her bookshelf next to her Hatchimal house. When she discovered what I had done, she was thrilled. And the next time she cleaned her room, she knew exactly where to put the Hatchimals.
You can display the things that are special to them.
Organizing and cleaning while your kids are gone, isn’t some cruel trick to secretly throw away everything they love. It’s more about having the time and space to properly display, or make accessible, the things they love. Instead of all their papers shoved into their desk, your solo-cleaning session is an opportunity to hang up a bulletin board and pin up their favorites. Your child will appreciate you taking the time to make their room not only organized but specifically designed to show off the things that are special to them.