Cleaning a child’s room and keeping it clean can be a source of frustration and irritation for both children and parents alike. However, it need not be a constant source of friction. Creating a system for cleaning a child’s room and teaching the system to the child by modeling the behavior and helping the child when necessary will help keep the room clean. A parent will need to remain consistent, provide the appropriate storage solutions, and provide incentives to keep the room clean as well as consequences if the room is not kept clean. Smaller children can be encouraged and motivated using songs and stickers on a cleaning progress chart while older children can be motivated by connecting room cleanliness to their ability to have privileges.

1 Place all laundry in a laundry basket. Encourage the child to help. Sing cleaning songs, race against a timer or toss clothes into “fun” laundry baskets like basketball hoop laundry baskets to making cleaning your child’s room more fun for parent and child.

2 Place all books on book shelves and toys in designated containers such as toy boxes, bins or baskets. Provide enough book shelves for books or toy boxes, bins, crates or baskets for toys, to make it easier to keep the room clean.

3 Make the bed. Straighten out the sheets and covers. Fluff the pillows and pull a duvet, blanket, cover or comforter over the bed. Teach children how to make the bed or help you. Keep it simple.

4 Fill a bag, bin or crate with items that don’t belong in the child’s room. Remove the items and put them elsewhere. Set a timer and make a game of putting the items in the appropriate places around the house.

5 Sweep, mop or vacuum as needed depending on the type of flooring in your child’s room. Depending on the child, this might only need to be done once or twice a week.

6 Go through clothes, toys and books to find ones to donate or toss on a weekly or monthly basis. Allow small children to participate in reducing clutter and getting rid of things they have outgrown, broken or stained.

7 Clean bed sheets, blinds or curtains, windows and windowsills, and baseboards on a weekly basis to reduce dust, potential allergies and indoor air pollution. Open windows when using cleaning products so it will not be trapped in the bedroom air and linger as indoor air pollution.

8 Teach and require your child to put away toys, games, clothes, books or art supplies before moving to the next project. It is easier to teach this to children under 5 years old; however, it can be taught at any age.

9 Provide a progress chart with stickers for children who are smaller. A chart that receives checks can also be used for older children; these can easily be made with Excel or another computer program.

10 Tie activities, incentives and rewards to keeping the room clean. Verbally communicate to your child about the benefits of cleaning their room (activities, incentives and rewards) and write down the “rules.” For instance, children cannot go outside to play or talk on the phone until the room is inspected and clean.

11 Use ample, appropriate and clearly marked storage devices for the child’s clothing, shoes, books, toys and games.

Consider marking the drawers or shelves with labels (underwear, shirts, pants) to make it easy to keep the room clean. Use storage bins under the bed with wheels to store board games or off season clothes. You could also install a shelf above the normal shelf in the closet for additional storage.

12 Catch the child putting their toys, clothes or games away and compliment him or her on the job well done. Positive attention will encourage the child to repeat the behavior and it costs nothing but a parent’s time and attention.

13 Use photo boxes to store photos, small toys, small board boxes, CDs, DVDs or
movies. Designate a space for the photo boxes on bookshelves or closet shelves. Children can handle them easily and they reduce the look of clutter.




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