Right now many of you are de-cluttering your children’s room as a part of our 91 Day De-Clutter Challenge. While we are working in our children’s spaces during this challenge, I am reminded of a topic I’ve meant to share for a long time.
Sometimes, families develop patterns that can do harm in the hearts and minds of the children. Over the years, I’ve seen children made to feel useless and inadequate for not being able to keep a clean room. Usually these situations are complex, with lots of layers, and I don’t pretend to know your personal circumstance, but I do know a thing or two about kids and cleaning and organizing.
One time I walked into a home covered in weeks and months worth of mess and clutter, everywhere. My host was showing me around, and when we got to the kids room, she said something like “___ was supposed to clean their room, but getting him to clean his room is like pulling teeth”. The child felt embarrassed and the parent was completely unaware of her part.
Since then, I’ve felt a special calling to advocate for children in regards to keeping a clean room. The following is my opinion on the subject.
Stop telling your child to clean their room IF …
- The whole house is a disaster. Listen: if you’ve been keeping your house a mess for years, your children have not had the privilege of witnessing how messes get cleaned up on a regular basis. In your flustered state of being overwhelmed by your own mess, you are shifting the blame to your children where it does not belong.
- They have not been trained. Most kids do not naturally come out of the womb understanding how to keep their room clean. It takes a lot of training, even years worth of training. It is a gift to train your children to act responsibly in their own space, because that gift will serve them their whole lives. You are just setting them up for failure to send them off to clean unprepared.
- You’ve left a whole bunch of junk in their room that doesn’t belong to them and they don’t know what to do with it. This should be self-explanatory, but it isn’t to everyone. Expecting a child to clean and sort around YOUR JUNK is nuts.
- You are trying to keep too much stuff in their rooms. You need to regularly de-clutter your child’s room with them, they need to learn that things come and go, and become accustomed to that flow.
- There aren’t organized systems setup in the room or in other words, they don’t know where things go. Organized systems don’t have to be fancy, they can be bookshelves, baskets, drawers, etc. It just comes down to everything having a set place to go!
Less is more is especially important for any kids who suffer from attention disorders. They have an even more difficult time coping in an over-cluttered messy space.
Disclaimer: KIDS SHOULD CLEAN THEIR ROOMS. Hopefully, kids are trained and given the fitting responsibility of taking care of their own space.
And just to keep it real – One of my favorite summer time games is called “Hey kids, go clean your rooms!” And I’ve been known to do that when I just need a moment to myself, because my kids will get lost in the cleaning and start playing happily together. That is just how it goes sometimes. :)
Next week as we wrap-up our weeks de-cluttering our kids’ rooms, I am going to share strategies for keeping the rooms under control moving forward. Right now focus on getting to a good place for a fresh start.