How to Teach Your Child to Actually Keep Their Bedroom Clean
How many moms and dads are out there that dread going into their child’s room because it’s a disaster? You may tell them “Go clean your room!”, but to no avail. Do you end up doing it yourself or leaving it a mess? I know parents whose kids stayed in their rooms literally all day and didn’t pick up a single thing.
I’m going to show you how to successfully teach your child to clean their bedroom and keep it that way. First, I will show you a picture of my son’s room (as proof).
No, he doesn’t have a beautifully decorated, perfect bedroom like you see browsing moms on Instagram. And, I’m not a professional photographer so I just snapped this picture with my phone. I am also not an interior designer. But this is a real kid with a real bedroom. This is real life. This is where he sleeps and spends his time.
So there’s his room. That’s him on the bed playing video games, and he keeps his room this way with very minimal help from me, his mother.
Why is it so hard for kids to clean their rooms?
The reason it seems so difficult for a child, especially a child with autism or ADHD, to clean their room is actually quite simple. They do not yet have the executive functioning skills to do it.
Cleaning your room involves planning, organization, and the ability to stay focused on a single task for a period of time.
What makes it more challenging, is that what needs to be done to clean the room may be different every time. Depending on what the mess is, the process of cleaning the room won’t always be the same.
So your kiddo needs to be able to look at the room, see what’s out of place, and make a plan for how to clean it. This can be extremely overwhelming. I mean, there have been times where his room has been overwhelming to me.
How to Teach Your Child to Clean Their Bedroom
I have three tips that will simplify the process of cleaning, giving your
Show The Steps Involved
First of all, break down all the steps they must do in order to “clean their room”. So this may be: pick up toys, put away laundry, and put books away. Or, it might be: pick up dirty laundry, take dishes out to the kitchen, and put blankets on the bed. Whatever it may be, breaking it down will take away some of the overwhelm.
Using a visual to shop the steps is the best way to remind your kiddo what needs to be done. I’ve created a free printable PDF which includes 10+ visuals and a page to place them so you can create a unique visual for each time you want your kiddo to clean up their bedroom.
Labeling your kiddos dresser so they know where each item of clothing belongs is a quick and easy way to take the guesswork out of putting away clothes for them.
My son is 7 and even though his clothes have never moved, he still couldn’t remember what went in each drawer until I labeled them. Now, he’s able to put his clothes away on his own – and he’s also able to get his own clothes when he’s getting dressed in the morning without my help. Win-Win.
Now, I’m no artist, but I made these labels myself on index cards and attached them to the dresser.
Make a “Jig”
If your kid’s stuff just seems to randomly be all over the place, this is the perfect tip for you. Making a “jig” is basically like making a little puzzle to show your child where everything in their bedroom belongs so they can put items back in the right place.
All you do is trace the item on construction paper. Cut it out and tape the construction paper down where the item belongs. You can include a picture of the item as well if necessary. Then your child can put items back where they belong by matching them to the cut-out and placing them on top of the construction paper.
This is how I set up my son’s dresser so he’s able to keep it neat and tidy.
Neat and Tidy
These three tips will help you teach your child to clean their bedroom. Make sure you also use plenty of positive reinforcement! Your kiddo will be able to take pride in their work and feel good about them self. Plus, there will be less work for you too do which is always a good thing.
Being a mom is a full-time job! But you can teach independence and give yourself one less thing to do each day with these three steps!