Are you concerned your kid’s bedroom may just have been ransacked by burglars?
Are you worried that a tsunami of stuff may spill out of their bedroom and swoosh over some unlucky passerby?
Are you wondering if you should just close their door and pretend it’s not happening?
(Because, who even has the energy to fight about a messy bedroom anymore?)
You’re in the right place.
And keeping their room tidy is a good place to start.
Now, I know this sounds like a herculean task that you just don’t have the energy for.
But there are a few simple tweaks you can make to help you get the kids to tidy the room - all without you morphing into Mary Poppins and singing about spoonfuls of sugar.
So, if you’re wondering how to start getting your kids to tidy their rooms - this post is for you.
1 | Set Them up for Success
Before you dive into creating a chore chart or buying any reward stickers - both of which are fabulous ideas BTW - let’s set your children up for bedroom-cleaning-success.
Make their bedroom easy for them to keep tidy.
Firstly, this means a quick declutter.
If there's too much stuff, it will be too difficult for them to keep the bedroom tidy.
Depending on what’s age appropriate, you could ask your child what toys they’ve grown out of and might like to donate. I’ve often been surprised by how generous children’s hearts can be when they hear about others less fortunate than themselves.
Or you could have a quick declutter there yourself.
You don’t have to KonMari the room - start easy. Here’s a helpful list of items you could start decluttering from your kid’s bedroom.
Secondly, let’s get organized.
Keep any organizing system simple with these helpful tips:
Use baskets to organize so kids can just throw stuff in without faffing with lids;
Use big, kid-friendly fonts on labels or for younger children use picture labels;
Don’t categorize toys in too much detail. A few broad categories makes tidying easy and stress-free;
For the love of Nutella, do not organize Lego by color! You’ll drive yourself, and everyone else, crazy with that color-coding shit;
Give your kids a bin for trash;
...and a hamper for dirty laundry (no they’re not going to walk to the laundry room - in your dreams, mama bear!)
Thirdly, toy rotation is a life saver.
This simply means removing a bunch of toys from your kid’s bedroom to keep back for a rainy day. The idea is that when you give them the toy again, there’ll be a novelty about that toy and it’ll keep them occupied for ages.
And it legit works.
And it means there are fewer toys to tidy. Win!
2 | Be Clear About your Expectations
I’m a qualified teacher - frightening, I know.
And during my rookie years, one thing was drilled into me: Always keep a small bottle of gin in your locker for the bad times!
But another thing that was drilled into me was this: be crystal-freakin’ clear about your expectations.
So mama, be clear about what a ‘tidy’ bedroom looks like. What EXACTLY do you want your kid to tidy?
Make a list.
Print the list.
Stick the list to the wall of your kid’s room.
Go drink some gin.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make the bed
Put books on the bookcase
Put toy cars back in basket
Get ALL Lego off the floor and into that bin
Put any trash in the bin
Put dirty clothes in the hamper
Put clean clothes away
It may be worth tidying their room with them for a little while to show them exactly what they have to do.
‘Tidy’ looks like different things to different people - just ask my husband.
3 | Help them Become House Proud
If kids are proud of their space, they’ll be more willing to keep it tidy.
Or at least that’s the idea - so why not give it a shot?
Try to include them in any decisions about decorating - even if it’s just a lick of paint or a new set of bed sheets.
4 | Making it a System
You know I love a system.
But honestly, the best way you can get kids to tidy their room is to be consistent and make it part of their routine.
So decide what works best for you and your child and pick a few times when you expect their room to be tidy.
Maybe you decide to have them do a quick 5 minute tidy before bedtime each day.
Maybe you ask them to do a thorough tidy each weekend.
This also means kids don’t have to have a tidy room all the time - and that’s not a bad thing.
They’re kids. So let them be creative and messy and go on wild flights of fantasy - no mom, it’s not a mess. It’s a Ninja-Pirate-Fortress with Cowboy Princess accessories. D’oh!
And in the beginning, don’t worry too much about how perfect a job they’re doing. The important thing is to make it a habit. (You can enforce your OCD-esque white glove inspection standards later, mama.)
5 | Offer Rewards and Sanctions
Ok, this one’s up to you, mama.
You may decide to link a tidy room to getting their allowance or other perks such as screen time or visits with friends. Yep, this is your ‘spoonful of sugar’, mama.
Personally, I would. But I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to parent your kids.
If it helps, I find ‘when, then’ statements helpful. For example, ‘when your room is tidy, then you can watch TV’. It de-personalizes the request and reduces arguments.
6 | Let it Go
Yep, if all else fails, just close the door, walk away, and pretend like it’s not there. Object permanence isn’t actually a thing, right?
Keep things in proportion and shoot for a 75% tidy-bedroom success rate.
Your kids will be parents one day and then they’ll suffer as bad as you are. So, karma!
A Very Good Place to Start
Teaching kids to be responsible, independent, proactive and to keep their own shit tidy starts with teaching them to keep their bedroom tidy.
But no, it’s not easy.
Hopefully this post has given you some ideas that you can try today.
Don’t forget to pin for later.