NC – You’ve threatened, cajoled – even begged your kids to tidy up, but it still seems you’re the one facing the ultimatum: either ignore the mess or do it for them.
Here are 7 tips for getting your kids onboard, without raising your voice or losing your mind:
Be age-appropriate: Toddlers can put toys in a bin, but don’t have the reach to make a bed. An eight-year-old can fold the clothes on the floor, but doesn’t have the strength to push the vacuum.
Job a day: Just like you don’t do laundry or schlep garbage every day, kids benefit from a breakdown. Help them decide which day to re-shelve their books or recycle the papers on their desks. Make a simple chart.
Tag teaming: If you’ve got more than one child, suggest they divide and conquer. Perhaps one child sorts the toys into piles (great for younger kids) in both rooms and the other puts them away.
Rewarding great cleaning: Why not snap a photo of your child standing in front of a clean bedroom? Or make a quick sign to tape to their door, describing the great work within?
Natural consequences: Brainstorm together about consequences for persistently untidy rooms. Perhaps play-dates only happen when a room is presentable? Or some of the Lego left on the ground is donated to kids in need, via a thrift shop.
Offer perspective: Learn what children around the world do for their jobs. Engage your kids in discussions about what kind of work is safe or dangerous for kids their age. World Vision has a page that looks at the dangers facing kids who help with chocolate production at www.nochildforsale.ca.
Cleaning with love: To reward consistently good room-tidying, you could involve your children in making a small monthly donation to a charity which helps real child labourers.