Have you ever stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night? Ask any parent about the pain involved with these little plastic bricks. Have you trampled over your child's favorite happy meal toy in your heavy winter boots? Those cheap things shatter into a million tiny pieces. Even though sometimes I may as well be talking to myself, I have tried to make my children understand the consequences of leaving their toys out everywhere. The bottom line is people get hurt and toys get broken when everything is left on the floor.
As any good parent does, you ask your child to clean up their room. When you check on them, your child is playing or just sitting in the chaos. We parents we tend to get very frustrated over the state of our kid's bedrooms. There is stuff everywhere. Since we live in the land of more than plenty, maybe your child just doesn't know where to start.
Cleaning a whole room can be overwhelming for children and adults. Below are some tips that can help make cleanup time easier on everyone!
1. Break down the jobs in steps. For example, first ask your child to make up their bed. Then, pick up any clothes in the floor. Next, clean up toys. Continue in this manner with each task. In the beginning have your child check in with you after each task is complete. You can direct them to the next job.
2. Have your child pick up toys by category. First, ask your child to put away all the cars. Next, clean up blocks and then legos. Keep going until all the toys are put away.
3. Use simple systems for storing toys. Bins without lids work great for everyone because there is only one step to putting things away. Dish tubs, inexpensive totes, and laundry baskets from a dollar store make great toy storage.
4. Resist the urge to do it yourself. This is my weakness. Sure, it is faster to take five minutes to clean the room by yourself. But, in order for kids to learn how to clean their rooms they need to be shown how to do it.
5. Make life simple. Cut down the amount of toys your children have and cleaning up will be a snap. I recently went through my four year old son's toys. Does he need 50 hot wheels? I think not. Twenty cars are too many. What about the forty tractors he inherited from his older brother to add to his already large collection? Does your child really need twenty stuffed animals or dolls? I think you know the answer to this rhetorical question. Are there books on the bookshelf that they have outgrown?
Give your child a number to guide the downsizing process. Tell them to pick out ten puzzles, five dolls, fifteen small cars, etc. Then get rid of the rest.
6. Donate, sell, or, rotate extras. Do it immediately so that no one gets anything back out of the tubs. If you want to rotate toys put the extras in a storage tote away from children's reach. When you get the other toys out be sure to put the others away.
7. Ask relatives and friends to give experiences instead of things. Kids love to go to the zoo, museums, movies, beach, bouncy house, theme park, ice cream parlor, book store, and the list goes on. I Tunes, Google, and other sites have games, music, and videos for children. Grandparents can buy tickets, gifts certificates, and gift cards for these activities at many retail stores and online. These kinds of presents are like giving parents a gift as well.
These tips will help you get a handle on teaching your child to clean their room. Download the coloring chore chart and hang it on your child's wall as a visual reminder. If cleaning your child's room is a daunting task I will be glad to help you out! Give me a call and we will tackle this job together. We can do this in person or by phone and email.