The never ending chore of keeping the bedrooms clean can cause a fair amount of tension if we choose to let it. I’m not a mother who requires that bedrooms get picked up every day, because imaginary play often goes on from one day to the next, and I hate to squelch it. That said, there are plenty of things that can be handled consistently to help keep a bedroom under control. But eventually, it all needs to get cleaned up so we can vacuum or sweep… at least once or twice a year! :blushing: This task can be overwhelming for a child, and we need to be understanding about that. Considering the number of decisions required to put away 9,743 objects in an hour, we should have some compassion. Here are a few tips to help it be a manageable – and hopefully successful – task!
- Make it clean-able. Sometimes there’s just too much stuff to even be able to have it put away. Maybe it’s a small bedroom or there aren’t enough places to put things. Fix that! Declutter, pass on some toys, buy storage solutions, etc. A room full of things with no place to belong will be a constant frustration for you and your child.
- Have one container for “all the little things that feel like they should get thrown away but your child sees value in them.” Yeah. Those things that you want to pitch while they’re not watching? Chances are good that they’ll notice. (Ask me how I know.) We use an under-bed container for these things: random flashlight, receipt, Chick Fil A toy, etc. Anything that isn’t a group deserving of its own storage goes in this miscellaneous container, and it’s so appropriate to tuck it under the bed! Most of this stuff lives on the floor, so it’s really easy to put it away here. 🙂
- Pick up everything and put it in one pile. This is hands down, my best tip. Pick up everything – EveRYthInG – and put it into one pile. On the bed, center of the floor, or wherever you choose. (We choose center of the floor because we can sweep it there easily!) It automatically eliminates the visual clutter that can be overwhelming to children, especially younger ones.
- After everything is in one pile, we pull stuff from that pile in categories. (Make a list of the order in which you suggest they do things if you are teaching them to do this independently.) Shoes are easy to start with because they usually all go in the same place, so it’s easy and quick success. Clothes next because they are a big part of the pile. Then the pile is usually manageable after those two categories. After that, just take one item at a time.
- Don’t rant while they’re cleaning or you’re cleaning with them. (How would I know this is a temptation?) It will make only serve to make the experience miserable for you both and make them feel like a failure. Turn on some music to keep the mood light if you need some help. 🙂
- Be willing to help while they clean. This may look like picking up and putting away while they work alongside you. Maybe it’s in the form of company and reading aloud while they work. Maybe it’s frequent checking in and encouraging. There are a lot of ways to help, and the younger the child is, the more involved you will likely need to be. But regardless of the age of the child, encouragement will go a long way!
You can do this, Busy Mom!
Do you have tips to share that simplify this task at your house?