Last Updated on January 7, 2020 by Corinne Schmitt
It may seem impossible, but you really can teach your kids how to be tidy. Yes, it does take some effort up front, but once your kids learn, you’ll save yourself (and them) a lot of time and energy!
Why Kids Need to Learn How to Be Tidy
Keeping any room clean and tidy is an ongoing task that requires good habits and consistent effort. When kids learn how to keep their own rooms organized, it enforces these positive behaviors so that they’ll spill over into other areas of their lives.
In addition, it’s important to help kids to tidy their rooms to teach them self-respect. Our personal spaces are reflections of ourselves so keeping them looking good makes us feel good too.
Children also need to learn to take care of their belongings. When we value something, we should treat it well and protect it.
When we no longer have space or the ability to care for something, it is time to let it go. Nip any hoarding tendencies in the bud by teaching your kids this lesson early.
Kids that are taught to be orderly and clean up after themselves are likely to lead an active lifestyle and take care in all they do. A clean and tidy room provides more space to play and be active, as well as encouraging kids to show respect to their belongings.
Finally, one of the most important reasons your kids should learn how to be tidy is for their mental health. Clutter and disorganization are stressful and have a negative effect on one’s mood.
The Process for Teaching Kids How to Be Tidy
To teach your child how to be tidy, you’ll need to be directly involved at first. It is a process, but the goal is to help your child learn how to be tidy without your help in the end.
Here is a look at how to help your kids keep their room clean and tidy:
Start clearing out
To begin with, give the room a good clear out with help from the kids. Have two boxes or bags to collect rubbish and another for items that can be donated to charity.
Toys and clothes can become quickly outgrown. Clearing away unused and outgrown items provides extra space and makes it easier to get the room cleaned.
Make sure you explain to the kids the plan of action and give directions to ensure that the items cleared out are unwanted. A little persuasion may be needed with some items that are no longer needed.
In this stage of the process, you’re helping your kids learn how to assess which items have personal value for them. While you should help guide the choices with logic, try to let your child make the final decisions so that he or she learns to make these choices going forward.
Organizing your child’s bedroom
Have a place for everything to make it easier for the kids to know where to put their belongings. Storage boxes and bins are great for organizing and tidying.
These can be labeled and used to sort toys into, which makes it easier for children to find what they want to play with, as well as making tidying away easier, too.
Enlist the kids to help with this task, as it prepares them for tidying on their own. Once all the toys have been sorted into boxes the room will already start to look a lot tidier ready for cleaning.
Don’t forget to sort through drawers and the closet to tidy and organize these areas too.
Get the kids to clean their room
Give the kids a damp soapy cloth to clean their toys and furniture and ensure that the toys are put back into their designated boxes. Take this time to clean the window and higher areas that they cannot reach.
Open the window to let some fresh air into the room. Strip the bed, turn the mattress and take out any dirty laundry.
Place the storage boxes onto the bed to be able to clean the floor. Now that everything has been cleaned and organized, the floor can be vacuumed thoroughly.
Get into all the corners and move furniture out to vacuum underneath. Many lost items are likely to be found during the clean. Don’t forget to clean under the bed!
Tidy up time
Now that the room has had a good clean, it is time to arrange it to make it functional. Ask the kids if they want any of the furniture moving, and place the storage boxes around the room neatly.
Use any odd toys for display purposes to give the room a bit of fun. Get the kids to help make the bed and arrange their belongings.
Once the room is complete, the kids will feel delighted, as their room will be transformed. Now that it is looking good, they are more likely to want to keep it this way.
Plus, they have now learned how to clean and tidy their room.
Keeping Things Tidy
Now, you’ve laid the groundwork for some really good habits for your child. However, your work isn’t done.
As we know from our own experience, GETTING a room clean and organized is only part of the problem. It’s KEEPING it that way that is the real challenge.
Once a month help the kids to clear out and clean their rooms to ensure that they are kept in good condition. This is actually a great habit for everyone in the family and is more fun when everyone is tackling the same project at once too.
During the week the kids can put away and tidy their rooms. Provide helpful reminders if necessary before school and/or before bed.
On the weekend, schedule time for kids to clean their own rooms. At a minimum, they should make sure everything is put away, all furniture is dusted or wiped clean, and the floor is vacuumed.
Providing they are cleaning their room weekly and putting items away after play, their rooms should be kept orderly. Once the routine is set in place, keeping their rooms clean and tidy will seem almost effortless.
This allows them to use their space more effectively and enjoy their belongings more.
Once the kids have been shown how to get organized and clean their room, they can continue doing this independently. While they might need your help for deep cleaning every month or so, once your kids learn how to be tidy, you should be able to focus your time and energy on other parts of the house.