Asking my daughter to clean her room up has yielded no fruit so far, she either stages a bit of a protest or completely disregards my instruction. Her room looks so terrible! If you’re passing through a similar predicament then you definitely have some company…you’re not the only one! Complaints have been made by several people who utilize 1-on-1 coaching of their inability to easily navigate through the rooms of their kids due to the presence of heaped piles of a mixture of neat and dirty laundry on the floor as well as trash littered all over their rooms. It is extremely annoying, to put it nicely, having to put up with a child that’s not willing to clean her little space. But then what should a parent do? Keep reading for tips from CJL (house clearance specialists) on how a parent can handle such a situation.
The reason behind most children not cleaning their room is a very straightforward one – they don’t just want to do it — and a lot of kids throw fits when they are asked to do so. They’ll rather chat with their friends or watch TV, as they derive more fun from doing these. Some kids are carried away by these stuffs that they could devote all their time to it. The perspective to view this from is as if one was given two options and asked to make a choice between a boring chore and a fun activity. There is obviously going to be only one outcome.
Refusing to clean their rooms is often times a manifestation of a bigger, unfolding power struggle – a struggle in which your child is not only interested in abstaining from cleaning their room, but also trying to provoke you and oppose your orders. Trying harder to exert authority over your child and forcing them to act as you wish will only result in them refusing and resisting you. This in turn will cause you to feel frustrated, angry and exhausted, at which point you’ll start to ponder on how through your hard work you’ve been able to provide a roof under your child’s head, and keeping their room clean should be least they could do.
Try to avoid taking this behavior of theirs personal, despite how annoying it is to put up with such behavior. Majority of kids undergo a “messy phase” at some point, but it’s not a product of the quality of your parenting, it’s just a phase in their life!
At what point should you “shut the door”?
The decision to shut the door and let go is a completely reasonable one to make whenever possible, particularly if there are several other difficult attitudinal issues your child has which you’re trying to fix. At the end of the day the mess is theirs, and if they choose to live that way then you have to contemplate giving them the freedom to do so. This is not always possible however, particularly if your child isn’t the only occupant of his room or if their room is causing a health risk such as pest infestation as a result of how dirty it is. If your child’s room MUST be clean, then these are some steps you can take to achieve that.
- Avoid Being a Martyr
Avoid cleaning your child’s room if they can do so by themselves. Once your child is old enough to clean his own room, then helping him clean it isn’t going to help you achieve your objective. It may encourage your child to actually not clean their room, since your helping them clean it up gives the feeling that you deem them incapable of cleaning their room by themselves. This means that if they manage to decline cleaning their room long enough, you’re going to jump in and do it for them by yourself. More importantly, it may encourage your child to not attach value or importance to your words, since the words you express are not always what they seem to mean. This puts your authority in danger before your children once they view it this way. Cleaning their rooms yourself might appear to be the easy way out, but over time it will act as a catalyst in spurring your child not to do their chores themselves. As a rule of thumb, kids in elementary school should be capable of performing majority of the tasks involved in them cleaning their rooms by themselves. Your duty at this point is just to make them accountable for the cleanliness of their room.
- “Hurdle Help” Should Be Provided
Hurdle help should be taken into consideration. Hurdle help can help to get kids started, especially young kids. Based on the age of your child, you can afford to spend some time, say 20-30 minutes, in your child’s room, during which you teach them the processes involved in the task in question. You can for instance, teach your child to pick up and inspect clothes from the floor, and then either put the clothes away or place them in the hamper. It is pertinent to make your kids expressly aware of your expectations. Severally, we err in believing they are able to perform certain duties which they frankly can’t – they have to be taught these things before they can do them. With the aid of hurdle help, you can experiment role modeling for your child a little, and through this means you can get them to understand your expectation without having to clean their room by yourself.
- task-oriented sequences should be utilized
Rewarding your child only after he has finished cleaning his room is a good means to make him accountable for his room. If for example, you choose to prevent him from having access to the computer until all the clothes in his room have been picked up, then the next day you can choose another task to be completed before the reward can be gotten. If your child succeeds in cleaning the room, then it is worthwhile to establish a weekly cleaning expectation. This could mean their weekend does not start until after they have cleaned their room, making sure to state clearly what it means for their room to be “clean”. There is no guarantee that this will put an end to your child not cleaning their room, but over time through the use of rewards and consequences the expected behavior will be learnt. In the words of James Lehman, “You can lead a horse to water and you can’t make him drink—but you can sure make him thirsty!”
- Divide and Conquer
If you can hardly walk around your child’s room because it is in a very untidy state, then it will be worthwhile to split the room into four quadrants. Your child can then work on them quarter by quarter. Or you can have them perform the tasks sequentially – from trash to clothes then toys. Splitting tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces is beneficial to every child. See things from the perspective of your child – she might be lost and not know where to start from. She might even ponder whether she could actually complete the task, and as a result your child may give up trying. It is therefore important to break tasks down and have your child work on small tasks first in a progressive manner.
The most important thing to note is this: Often kids can be given the opportunity to achieve something great and they’ll choose not to. In that cause the fault isn’t yours, but theirs. Your duty however, is to make the opportunity and skills available. No matter how hard you try, kids will consistently take their own decisions, so far as you’re making kids accountable for their rooms through consequences and rewards, providing the needed tools for them to take good care of their themselves as well as their space, and problem-solving with them, you’ve done the best you can possibly do.