My Kids' Room is a Disaster Area.
I Don't Know Where to Start!
There is hardly a parent alive that hasn’t battled their child about keeping their room clean. Big mistake! Not the clean part, but the battle part! This is not worth an award winning battle with your child. On the otherhand, every household lives up to a certain degree of order and cleanliness and your children should follow suit.
Carolina will tell you that one of the best lessons she learned in life was to Make the Bed, as IT is the most important THING. It sets the tone for the person to claim their room! And they will quickly see what a difference it makes to everything else.
Since we were fortunate enough to have a vacation beach house, we took A LOT of teenagers to the beach. It usually worked out great, except for the room part. It was appalling to see how the guests cluttered their rooms and I’m sure many of their parents would have been aghast at the children’s total lack of manners in this area. But, what had they learned at home?? This was a simple matter to take care of. Once I realized the problem, I just set out some ground rules at the beginning of the trip. Beds had to be made up. All clothes had to be up and off the floor and into drawers or suitcase, and the drawers and suitcases had to be shut. Bathrooms had to be straightened up and towels hung up neatly to dry. Simple. Takes about 10 minutes max. How did I get them to do this? No problem. They had to do this BEFORE they could go to the beach!
Imagine! I never had a single problem with this.
After my girls were grown and I made a trip to the beach with a good friend and her daughter and her friend, I had been out of practice. Sure enough, I looked in their rooms one day, and EEK!, it was a disaster area. I didn’t lose it. I just calmly told the girls that it was my fault, because I had forgot to tell them the house rules. “You see these drawers?” I asked. In a very slow voice, I said, “they not only open, but they close.” “Preferably with the clothes in them.” They giggled, but got my drift. The next day, my friend caught them quickly making up their bed, picking up clothes, to which one of them said, “we just don’t want Susan to yell at us.” Since I overheard, I asked them, “Did I yell at you?” “No,” they sheepishly said. “You just fussed at us.” Whatever, the point got across. The house was up to a certain degree of order and we had a great spring break week at the beach.
Yeah, but how do you get that done at home, you might ask? Same principle.
Kids have about a million social and sports functions to go to. And most are on the weekends. At our house, we quickly established a routine that every Saturday morning, we had a big home cooked breakfast and then, all four of us spent one hour picking up and cleaning up the house. It was expected. An hour is plenty of time for a child to straighten up their room, bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room, do a quick once over in the bathroom with a Clorox wipe and still have time for one other general household chore.
Well, what if you have soccer practice on Saturday morning or go out of town, or whatever?