How To Convince a Kid to Clean a Bedroom
As the stay-at-home-mother of five kids, keeping the house in order was something I was either winning or losing. There was no in between.
My husband had sculpted a family team when it came to the house. With seven of us, everyone had to be all in for chores. Dad’s motto was ‘Nobody’s finished until everybody’s finished.’ I would get done what I could while they were all out, and then they’d jump in and help finish.
Our evenings were family time, but only because we’d picked up some tricks along that way that not only made things easier, but changed my entire understanding of the human character. No exaggeration.
My personal favourite was cleaning the kids’ bedrooms.
I came to the realization that children, well into their teenage years, do not have the mental capacity to pull a shambles of a room into proper order.
By the time I had a couple tweens in the house, I was fighting the constant battle against the death trap that is a child’s sacred space. We’d moved into a six-bedroom house, and the sheer size of the place had soon become a major source of regret for me. But it was an incredibly lucky deal, a major fixer-upper, and we’d jumped on it without thinking much past the idea of being able to relegate everyone back to their own corners.
Unfortunately, bedroom doors weren’t enough to separate the common good from the chaotic fungus of childhood disorder.
At some point, after much yelling/ordering/begging/threatening/bribing/etc. (set on random shuffle), I came to the realization that children, well into their teenage years, do not have the mental capacity to pull a shambles of a room into proper order. Simply put, it’s not that they don’t want a clean room. It’s that they can’t clean it.
Standing in the middle of the mess, a child’s brain does not have the ability to even figure out where to start. Nor does said child feel any hope whatsoever of success. Send the kidlet to his room for the day, and you’re guaranteed to find him in a closet playing with a favourite old toy he hasn’t seen in years, spread out in…