Is your child’s bedroom constantly a mess? Does it drive you nuts when you clean their bedroom and then it is a mess again a day or two later? If so, your child’s bedroom probably isn’t organized enough for them to maintain it.
When your child is otherwise occupied and you have an hour or two to yourself, sit on your child’s bed and really look around the room. What do you see? Really try to group the things into categories such as clothes, stuffed animals, books, toys, etc. Then realistically look at the space in your child’s room. How many children share the room? What are the ages and personalities of your child(ren)?
Could you, yourself, clean your child’s bedroom in under ten minutes? If the answer is no, then really pay attention to step one. Determine what has to go. If your child’s room is really that messy, there are too many things on the floor for them to easily pick up and put away. They get overwhelmed and feel like it is an impossible task, which just leaves them feeling stuck. You need to create a space that they can enjoy and maintain with minimal effort.
To do this, you really do need to go through their belongings and get rid of what is outdated, broken, no longer played with or, in some cases, they have way too much of a certain category, or simply just doesn’t fit into the bedroom. The last is the hardest, I know, but perhaps you can find another area of your home to keep the item or even move it to grandma’s house as a special toy to play with on visits?
Once you have completed the difficult task of cutting out some of the excess, you can move on to establishing a place to put everything. So many parents are shocked when their child starts preschool or kindergarten and are able to keep their books in a cubby or their coats on a hook, when they can’t seem to perform these tasks at home. The trick is to create a place for everything that is well understood and defined.
This is what I call the fun part. You can make your child’s bed and dust and vacuum the space, really giving it a good cleaning. Then look at the shelves, dressers and whatever other furniture is in the space and start choosing areas for things. You might want to invest in some baskets and plastic bins, which are wonderful and inexpensive. They really help you to separate Mr. Potato Head parts from game pieces or blocks and all of the other little gizmos you find.
Once you have completed the bedroom, present it to your child as a present. Tell them how you have cleaned up the room and organized it into areas. If you have two (or more) children sharing the bedroom, make it a point to have a certain space for each child, even a special shelf with their name on it is a real treat, when space is at a minimum.
Then, choose a time every day, maybe before bath time in the evening and have your child pick up their bedroom. If they are overwhelmed, walk them through it, but don’t do it yourself. It is important for them to be the one to do it. Have them pick something up and then ask them where it goes and show them where, if they don’t remember.
The point here is that you are teaching them the most effective way to clean up their bedroom, without doing it for them. It may require patience on your part for a little while, but it will pay off. Then, when you think they are ready, perhaps tell them that you will be checking their bedroom every day and they will get a sticker on the days that it is clean and then a certain reward after so many stickers in a row.
This really will help, however it will have to be done every six months or so, to keep up with the influx of toys from birthdays and holidays and grandparents. Also, as your children get older and are busy with sports and other activities, you can cut back to checking their bedrooms once a week.