Kids’ bedrooms can be sparkly clean one minute and absolutely destroyed the next. Let’s face it – getting kids to keep their room clean is usually more of a chore than the actual cleaning! But, if you teach your kids how to keep their room clean, you will prevent a lot of arguing, complaining, and whining.
The problem is, when a child’s bedroom gets out of control messy, it takes a long time to clean. Kids don’t want to spend hours in their room cleaning, and most will do absolutely anything they can to avoid it.
That is why teaching them how to clean their room and how to keep their room clean is so important.
My kids are a prime example of this. They will whine, cry, scream, beg, and just overall drive me crazy until I give up trying to have them do it themselves.
When I give in to this, all I am teaching them is that if they drive me crazy long enough, I will do the work for them. And that is not ok.
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How to Teach Kids to Clean Their Room
The trick to teaching kids to clean their bedrooms is to slowly start teaching them simple ways that they can keep their rooms nice and tidy, without having to spend a ton of time on it. If they do a few quick tasks every day, their rooms will mostly stay tidy.
What Age Should a Child Clean Their Room?
First things first, you need to have realistic expectations of what your kids are capable of. Your 5-year-old is not going to be able to do a thorough job but your 12-year-old definitely can.
Children can start learning to clean up after themselves when they are toddlers. If you need help figuring out what chores are age-appropriate you can find a list here.
Why Children Having Clean Rooms is Important
Beyond just having a clean home, by having your kids clean their bedrooms you are teaching them responsibility, and how to be self-reliant.
This is incredibly important for their future when they are out on their own for the first time.
Children should not be taught how to do laundry and dishes the day they move into their first apartment. These are all tasks that kids need to start learning from a young age.
Last year, another mom from school told me something that stuck with me. She had gone on the overnight class trip with our fourth graders.
She was able to tell exactly what kids had parents who did everything for them, and which kids had responsibilities at home.
Some kids left their clothes and belongings everywhere and expected her to pick up after them. Other kids put their stuff away and kept their spaces pretty tidy.
How would you rather have your child behave when away from home?
Model the Behavior you are Teaching
It’s very important to set a good example. Kids pay way more attention to what you do versus what you say. If you are leaving your things everywhere, why shouldn’t they do the same thing?
Taking care of your own belongings and creating a clean and tidy environment for your family sends a message to your kids that these are good habits they should follow.
So, if you are keeping your space clean, it is much easier for kids to understand why they need to clean their room and keep it clean.
No Eating in the Bedrooms
Except for water, keep all food out of the bedroom. This will prevent messes from even happening. The last thing you want is wrappers all over the floor, crumbs on the sheets that were just washed or spilled drinks on your carpet.
Declutter Your Kids’ Rooms
Clutter is what makes a clean home still look dirty. If you are just getting started teaching your kids to clean their room on their own, I would suggest doing it with them the first time.
That way, you will really get a nice deep clean to start with, plus you can get rid of the clutter that they would probably keep out or just stuff in a drawer.
Storage Solutions for Kids’ Rooms
It’s really important to invest in some good, solid storage solutions for your kids’ rooms. Make it easy for your kids to keep everything in its place.
Baskets and cubbies are a mom’s best friend! It makes it so easy for kids (and moms) to quickly put stuff away – especially all the little stuff that accumulates!
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Here are some great storage solutions for your kids’ rooms that will be really helpful in keeping their rooms clean:
It’s important that you make sure that the toys that are played with a lot are easily accessible. That way they can take them out themselves and put them away by themselves.
Teach Your Kids How to Clean
There are certain things that kids just won’t know how to do without instruction – bathrooms being the best example. When I first added bathroom duty to my son’s chores, I first started by giving him two disinfecting wipes: one for the sink/counter and the other for the outside of the toilet.
Twice a week he was responsible for just wiping down the vanity and toilet and I did the full cleaning. But, as he got older I switched his responsibility to do the full bathroom cleaning.
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I spent some time with him showing him how it’s done. So now he has no excuse not to do it – I mean he actually has like 1000 excuses, but none are valid😉
Make sure you praise them for a job well done, and that they don’t see you re-cleaning anything. I definitely re-fold some laundry and wipe down the toilets just in case, but I never let my kids see me do it.
Seeing you re-do their chores will be a hit to their self-confidence plus they may start becoming more resistant to doing their chores.
Break Cleaning Into Small Chunks of Time
Don’t expect them to clean for long periods of time. Children have short attention spans so having them clean for 10-15 minutes at a time will usually get better results than having them clean all afternoon.
Work Together with Your Kids
Have you ever noticed that when you start cleaning something, suddenly your child wants to help? They will make a stink about doing it alone, but if you’re in the room working with them, suddenly they want to help.
Kids love to be “big helpers” and working together with you and getting praise from you will give them a big sense of accomplishment and pride.
This is also a great time to model how things are supposed to be properly put away and cleaned up. This is basically teaching them how to clean their rooms without them realizing it.
Tips for Making Cleaning Fun for Kids
Make cleaning fun! As an adult, cleaning is a bore. Just imagine how boring it is for kids! BUT, there are ways that you can make it fun for them.
Cindy from Living for the Sunshine has a great tip! “If you have multiple kids, this works like a charm to get your playroom cleaned up. Tell the kids you’ve picked one ‘magic’ toy and whoever picks up that toy will get a special treat (or the reward of your choice). They’ll go crazy trying to be the one who picks up the ‘magic’ toy and your playroom will be cleaned up in no time.”
Karissa from Fit Mommy Strong says, “Since my son was able to walk, my husband and I would always sing “Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share – clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere” together as we would clean up after playtime, dinner, etc…now that our son is 1.5 years old, whenever we sing the song he ALWAYS pitches in to help with cleaning up his toys, clothes, putting his cups in the sink and more!”
Amanda of AmandaSeghetti.com says, “We set a timer and see who can clean up the fastest! Or I let the little ones help out just like mom with a toddler-sized broom, mop, dustpan, and a water spray bottle.”
Jenn at Take Them Outside says, “When our kids were younger we’d do a quick party clean up by each choosing a song to play on the stereo. We’d turn the music up loud and sing and dance around the house tidying up and putting things away. The kids just loved it and our cleaning parties often turned into dance parties when the chosen cleaning songs were over.”
Priscilla from The Mother Lode says “We have a few tricks for our little ones (ages 6 and under.) First, I have an Amazon playlist with clean-up songs, so I turn the Echo on. Second, we pick something extra fun we get to do afterward. I also have a toy rotation going so we don’t have ALLLLL the toys in the playroom. Some are in bins in the basement and they can’t get switched until it’s clean!”
Charlene Hess from Hess Un-Academy has a great reward system set-up. “We have a chore point system and every time the kids do a chore, they get paid in ‘points’, and then they can spend these points on things like screen time. This is a great way to get my kids excited to do their chores, and as a bonus, I don’t have to fight them about screen time anymore because all I have to do is ask them if they have enough points!
Offer Rewards or an Allowance
I know not everyone agrees with giving rewards or an allowance for children who complete their chores, but I choose to do both for my kids. Let’s face it, sometimes getting kids to cooperate is hard.
Providing incentives can help make things easier plus giving a small allowance is a great way to teach kids how to save and spend money wisely.
Learning that money does not grow on trees is a fundamental life lesson, and I believe it is important to start young.
Set Your Standards & Stay Consistent
When it comes down to it, kids are going to have messy rooms from time to time. While they can destroy a clean room within minutes, cleaning up after themselves can take a LONG time! Teaching them how to keep their room clean is going to save you a lot of headaches in the future.
The key is to set some reasonable standards and make sure your kids know exactly what your expectations are.
If you want things done a certain way, show them. If you want their room cleaned by a certain time or before they are allowed screen time, let them know.
Knowing exactly what is expected of them from the beginning will prevent confusion and frustration in the future. And, make sure you stay consistent!
The minute you start letting them get away with not cleaning their room, they will stop and you will be back at square one again.
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