Skip to main content

Getting your child to clean his or her own room

Your child’s room is his or her domain and it is the only place that is theirs.
Your child’s room is his or her domain and it is the only place that is theirs.

When you are working mom, you don’t have time to constantly pick up after your children. Coming home in the evening allows for plenty of chaos in your life and despite how much time you take to find order in your home, it looks like your have just spend the evening watching television and eating bon-bons. It only takes five minutes for your children to make a mess in the room you just finished cleaning. The only way for your children to understand how important it is for them to keep a room clean or how hard you work in keeping your home tidy and to force them to learn by example.

Most children by age five are capable of cleaning their own rooms and even though, your child may insist that a messy room is fine for him or her to live in, don’t let them. At the same time, don’t clean it up for them. You can spend your days nagging them or you can allow them to live like pigs. They will learn when they can’t find clean underwear or clean socks to wear, or when they can’t find that ever important school project. This is a better type of learning experience for your child than your constant lecturing.

Your child’s room is his or her domain and it is the only place that is theirs. Because of that, they should have the ability to make choices in how they want their rooms to look. This is the only place that is filled with their dreams and most children don’t really care about a messy room. If the mess is not hurting anyone, it is best for you to simply close the door and stop letting your obsessive Type A personality get the best of you. If you interfere, you take away the only place where your child has freedom. My tween son often tells me that the only place where he does not have rules (set by his parents, his teachers, other adults, etc.) is in his room so I have forced myself some restraint in inferring in the cleanliness of his room.

The only time you should interfere in their child’s messy room is if you have company coming over. The only person in your child’s room besides him or her is likely to be a visiting friend, and most likely, your child will at that point clean his or her own room anyway, and some parental nudging doesn’t hurt.

Every parent realizes that at some point their child will change and that a messy room will no longer be acceptable to him or her. Eventually, your child will pick up their own responsible habits and start to think about management and organization. However, like any lesson in life, they will come to it on their own time. The best thing you can do is pretend that your child’s messy room does not bother you. If you spend your days trying to clean up after them, all you are doing is invading their space. You are best off closing that door and walking away. The only time to intervene is if your child’s room needs a hazmat team; otherwise, leave it be.