Making a mess of their room is one of our children’s great specialties. Toys here, books and crayons there, we don’t know which way to turn. No matter how many times we tell them to put everything back in order, they do as they please, and anarchy reigns in their room. How do you get them to understand the importance of tidying up? Here are a few tips to help you talk some sense into them.
Teaching children why they should tidy up
For children, the notion of tidying up is totally abstract. Younger children don’t understand what you want them to do. So you need to use simple gestures to explain what needs to be done and why it’s important to put things in order.
For example, teach your little ones the importance of taking care of their toys. Tell them that if they leave them lying around, someone could step on them and break them. They might not be able to play with them anymore. What’s more, if they don’t keep their toys tidy, they’ll lose them and never be able to find them again.
Explain to your children that they could injure people, including themselves, by leaving objects on the floor. Marbles, toy cars, figurines and balloons are the main causes of falls in a messy room.
We need to persuade them that a tidy room contributes to their well-being and health. It makes vacuuming easier and helps eliminate disease-carrying parasites.
A clean room also promotes concentration. They’ll be able to do their homework without being disturbed by the mess around them. Let them understand all these benefits by repeating them as often as possible, so that it becomes ingrained in them.
Give them a simple, effective tidying method
Children can sometimes be put off by difficulties. Faced with so many objects to put back in their room, they can easily lose motivation. To avoid this, teach them a tidying methodology.
First, you can explain to them that tidying up as they go along prevents them from being overwhelmed by the mess. Teach them to put a toy away immediately after using it. They can then pick up another if they wish, and so on.
Secondly, set up a storage system in their room. Ask your children to classify their belongings according to their usefulness and correspondence:
- Books, notebooks, photo albums, etc.
- Sheets, blankets, pillowcases, etc.
- Cars, trucks, helicopters, boats, planes, etc.
- Teddy bears, dolls, figurines, etc.
- Pens, pencils, felt-tips, crayons, paints, etc.
- Clothes, underwear, shoes, bags, etc.
- Hats, umbrellas, boots, belts, etc.
Finally, teach them how to use a garbage can. They can throw away their snack wrappers, failed drawings and other garbage. You can also set up a dirty clothes bin in their room and ask them to put their clothes in it for washing.
Would you like your child to clean his or her room spontaneously? Include this program in their daily schedule. To do this, give your little one a time slot during which he’ll have to clean up and put his affairs in order. But don’t make him do it alone. All other family members should stick to this routine. This way, he won’t feel excluded and will see this action as a tradition.
In addition to daily tidying up, plan one day a month for a little spring cleaning. During this event, young and old alike should join hands to make the whole house spotless. To encourage your children, try to add a fun aspect to the activity. For example, you could organize a treasure hunt and ask your little ones to find the objects you’ve hidden.
Getting your children accustomed to cleanliness isn’t just about their bedroom. Ask for their help in the living room, bathroom and kitchen too. Create a schedule for taking turns cleaning other rooms in the house.
Praise, not bribe
Many parents have a habit of blackmailing their children into doing something. While this may be effective at the time, it’s still a bad habit. Little ones will tell themselves that they won’t tidy up their room until you’ve given them a treat or a new toy. In short, you’ll be no further ahead.
The best way is to explain to children the benefits of living in a clean and tidy space. Tell them it will help them sleep better, concentrate better on their homework and relieve stress. Give them a few tips on how to furnish their room.
Once they’ve finished, go after them. Check whether they’ve followed your instructions and, if so, congratulate them. The idea is not to give them a reward for the task they’ve accomplished, but to show them that you’re proud of them. Learn to praise your child by giving them a hug and a kiss, or by preparing a snack to enjoy together after the hard work. This will be more than enough to encourage them to take the initiative themselves in tidying up their mess.
Education is the key. Children often copy what their parents do. If they see you tidying your room or house every morning, they’ll naturally start doing it too, to imitate you. That said, they may only do it every other morning.
To make cleaning a real habit, you need to gently encourage them every day. How can you do this? Create educational games for the whole family. For example, you could organize a race against the clock to see who can clean up their room first. The winner could receive a treat, sit in the front seat of the car on the way to school, or get an extra hour of playtime before bedtime.
For younger children, teach them the notion of order with toys such as construction sets or puzzles. Make a mess of the pieces and ask them to put them back together. Congratulate them on their efforts with a round of applause. This will make them feel proud of their accomplishment.
Have plenty of storage space
Storage space is essential for a well-ordered bedroom. With this type of furniture, your children can organize their personal belongings: toys, shoes, books, office supplies and so on.
We recommend installing as much storage as possible in their room. For example, you can create a bench with storage compartments underneath. There are also storage poufs that can be used as a chest for your little one’s precious items. If you have a daughter, buy her a jewelry box to store her necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets.
Your child should have a dirty clothes bin to sort out the clothes they’ve already worn during the week.
Shelves are another essential storage space in a child’s bedroom. They save floor space. Books, photo frames, pictures and other decorative accessories can be placed on shelves to embellish and personalize the room. But be careful! Always install shelves against a wall to prevent them from falling over if your child decides to climb on them.
Baskets can be useful here and there. They can be used to store sheets, curtains, pillowcases and other items.
A well-appointed nursery
A well-organized bedroom makes it easier to tidy up. Teach your children to create specific spaces in their room:
- Dressing room
- Reading corner
- Play area
- Sleeping area
If you’re not sure what to do, follow our tips for designing a small nursery. By delimiting these different areas, it will be easier for your little one to find the right place for the different objects in his environment. They’ll have no trouble sorting them out.
In addition, try to provide them with furniture at their own height: work table, storage bench and shelves. The latter should not be too high, so that your children can reach the top without having to climb onto a chair or stepladder. This could lead to dangerous accidents.
A closet for clothes
Clothes are one of the most common items to be found inachild‘s bedroom. After a hard day at school, our little ones tend to throw them on the floor, the bed or the chairs when they change clothes. In the end, they’re almost everywhere in the room. What can you do about it?
In thenursery, use closets rather than cupboards or chests of drawers. With this structure, your child won’t need to make folds to put his clothes away. All they have to do is grab a hanger and hang their shirt, pants, t-shirt or jacket on it. It’s a very practical way of encouraging him to put his wardrobe in order.
This type of furniture is especially recommended for toddlers. They don’t yet know how to fold clothes or linens.
Even if a closet is preferable, opt for models with a few drawers or shelves. This will enable your children to store their underwear, socks, scarves, belts and shoes.
Helping your children
Your children may be demotivated by the total anarchy in their room . To motivate them, suggest that they do it in pairs. That way, they’ll feel better and be more enthusiastic about their work. To do this, share the chores equally. For example, you could divide the area in two and each take charge of one half of the room.
But be careful! Don’t offer your little ones this alternative too often. They might get used to it. They’ll wait until they’ve made a complete mess of their space before asking you to intervene. Don’t let it happen to you!
Teaching children to tidy their rooms: the essentials
Tidying up their room is one of the tasks that puts children off, and for good reason. It can be time-consuming, depending on the amount of clutter involved. To encourage them, you need to make it easy for them to do the job.
To do this, install several types of storage furniture in their living area: benches with lockers, shelves, toy storage boxes, dirty laundry baskets, desks with drawers, etc. This will enable them to get on with the job. This way, they’ll be able to find their way around easily and organize all their little things methodically. To simplify clothing storage, we recommend closets. That way, there’s no need to fold them.
To ensure that your children spontaneously want to tidy up their rooms, set up family routines. Everyone should start as soon as they get out of bed before breakfast, for example. Whoever finishes first gets the best slice of tartlet! Mind you, the aim is not to bribe our little ones, but rather to give them a fun image of tidying up.
And what about you? Have you succeeded in getting your children into the habit of tidying up? How did you go about it? We invite you to share your stories in the comments. Maybe it will inspire some of you. We look forward to hearing from you!