Do you find yourself saying to your children at least once a week something along the lines of, “it’s time to clean up your room!”? If so, don’t worry – you are definitely not the only one! As parents we feel like we have to do something about the mess in our kids’ rooms. Little ones – on the other hand – aren’t at all bothered as they are only interested in moving on to the next fun game or activity. 

 Trying to get the little ones to clean up their toys can a big head-ache – but it doesn’t have to be! Just in time for ‘Spring Cleaning’ we have some tips for you to make cleaning with children fun and efficient.

 Establish a routine

Establishing a routine is basically resetting the rules of playing and cleaning. It is important for your child to know when the cleaning will take place. Set a specific timeframe – it can be right after playtime, before dinner or after a nap. If they fail to do that, there will be consequences – toys will be taken away for a period of time, or playtime will be reduced. Providing them with a schedule is a great way to make them become efficient, organised and responsible. We should never forget that we are not raising children – we are raising adults.  

Make it fun!

Who says cleaning can’t be fun? Children love competitions, so why not spice things up a bit? “Who can put his toys back in the box faster” is a phrase that will trigger kids into getting the task done. If there is a prize involved things will get more interesting in just a few seconds. You can also add music in the background for more fun and inspiration. 

Be a part of it

 If you are one of those parents who sit on a chair while your children clean up their rooms, this will not work very well. Start by helping them out and showing them the correct way of completing their task for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then be a part of the family’s cleaning session by doing some of your chores during the dedicated cleaning time. Your child will feel like it is part of a family activity and it will do its best to impress you with its cleaning skills.

 Be exact and to the point

For children it’s hard to understand generalised phrases like “clean up your room”. It is good to start by explaining to them what a clean room actually is. Make a checklist, or ask them to start with little, manageable steps. They can first put the blue toys in the box or place the clothes in the basket. This will help them learn that it takes a lot of little steps to get a big job done.

 

Sometimes it can be hard to make your children clean up their rooms and toys and it just seems so much easier to clean up after them yourself in a fast and efficient manner. However it is important to understand that children develop the sense of responsibility in the early stages of their lives and all they need to do that is guidance and opportunity. Praise them when they do a good job but explain and stick to your rules when they don’t.