As seen in the Dayton Daily News on May 25, 2019.
Have you ever raised your voice to your child because their messy room was driving you crazy? If so, you’re not alone. Many children today have way too many things, and it’s causing stress in households.
As mother of five, I have had my share of messy kid’s rooms so I can sympathize with you. Here are some ways I have found success with the messy room ordeal.
The best time to motivate your child to organize their room is when they need something from you. The next time they want to go to a birthday party, need a ride to a friend’s house or need something special like a prom dress, tell them you would be happy to do this after their room is picked up.
Don’t expect perfection. Kids today are busy with school, sports and extracurricular activities. Just as your home is not always picked up every day, their room won’t be either. Every few weeks or so encourage them to organize so they can find things quickly and their room can be properly cleaned.
Being organized is a learned skill. Start by teaching your child some simple organizing ideas.
- Ask your children what they like and don’t like about their room. This will give them an idea of what to keep and what to let go of. Kids are more likely to keep their room clean if they like the space and it makes sense to them.
2. Label some boxes: Donate, trash, recycle and other room. This last box is for items that belong in other rooms of the house. As they sort through their room, have them put items in the proper box.
3. To keep them focused, have them start in one corner of the room and work their way around the room.
4. Kids need guidelines in place or they will want to keep everything. Give them storage bins and say things like, “You can have as many stuffed animals that fit into this bin.” Or, “This bin should be big enough to hold all of your favorite cars.”
5. Don’t make them keep something because it is expensive, or you are emotionally attached to the item. These things should be donated or moved to your space.
6. Don’t make them keep things just because they are educational in nature. If they say they aren’t using them, take them out of their space.
7. Anything that belongs to you or an older sibling, who used to have the room, should be taken out. It’s hard to organize when you have to work around other people’s belongings.
8. If a child is old enough to understand trust, don’t sneak anything out of their room and get rid of it. You wouldn’t like someone doing this with your stuff.
Once the room is purged of items they have outgrown or no longer play with, set them up for future success.
- Their room should have a trash can.
- Give them furniture with drawers that open and close easily.
- Provide a hamper for their dirty clothes.
- Keep a donate bin close to their room so they get rid of things easily.
Whenever they announce they have finished organizing their room, make sure they didn’t just stash everything under the bed or into the closet. My kids have actually tried pulling this one on me.