If getting your child to clean their room is a constant struggle, it may be time to set them up for success. Too often kids’ rooms become activity catch-alls: part bedroom, part den, part playroom and part library. Keeping all of those tasks neat and contained is a challenge – especially when you’re four feet tall or under.
Smart parents take time to bring in child-sized solutions that can make cleaning a room easier. Here are ten tips for helping your child’s keep their room tidy:
1. Include them in the organizing process. It’s tempting to rush in and take care of it, but getting your child’s input on furnishings and where things go is important. If they have a say, they’re much more likely to keep up with it.
2. Get rid of extras. Make sure everything that is in your child’s room needs to be there. For example, store out of season clothing and neglected toys in bins in the basement or attic.
3. Create zones. Organize your child’s room with a designated area for sleeping, studying and playing. Then add storage items that can accommodate the items needed for those tasks. Place a bookshelf near a beanbag chair for reading, for example, or include basket or bins for storing toys.
4. Set a limit. Keep things fresh by keeping toys to a minimum. Decide on a number of items that is manageable and rotate out the toys so they play with them more.
5. Reclaim wasted space. Maximize storage capacity by looking up and down. Choose a bed with storage drawers built in the base – perfect for storing clothing as well as toys. And hang pocket organizers on closet doors to hold small items such as socks or stuffed animals.
6. Display special items. Have a space where your child can keep treasures, such as trophies, awards, artwork and vacation souvenirs. A shelf or bulletin board will keep these things neat and contained.
7. Think small. Consider your child’s size when you bring in storage items. For young children, keeping shelves low will encourage them to put things away. Make sure closet rods are multi-level, helping your child get ready in the morning.
8. Label where things go. Help your child know where things belong by making it clear. You can use words, pictures or a combination of both.
9. Color code for siblings. If children share a room, consider assigning each a different color. Then use bins and hangers in those colors for their toys and clothing.
10. Schedule in regular maintenance. Make cleaning up a habit by creating a routine. For example, create a rule that beds must be made before breakfast. Or wind down every day with a 15-minute tidy-up session before bedtime. Set a timer and it will feel like a game.
When kids make picking up their rooms a habit, the whole house will feel more organized!