Kids bedrooms- do you require them to clean them? How often? No-why? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 05-04-2011, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have struggled with the fight over my kids rooms. They are very good and helpful with some prodding to help clean the house and pick up toys as I am pretty strict about family use areas being clean. The issue is their bedrooms. They are all homeschooled and young(18 months to 8 years). We have tried multiple things including it needing to be clean before breakfast, having one day a week where is needs to be clean so I can get in and vacuum, me cleaning it, getting rid of everything so there is nothing to make a mess. Right now we are doing the clean it once a week thing and every time I go into their rooms I want to die. They are so messy! Especially my 8 year old dd. She is very creative and artistic and is always sewing, crafting, writing or painting something. She is also a hoarder keeping piles of rocks, kids menus from dinning out, every piece of paper she has ever written on etc. She shoves things into closets and under her bed etc.

It makes me feel crazy!!! And my husband says I can't say or do anything if we have the one day a week rule.

I remember very vividly my mother screaming and yelling and taking away my toys and clothes for not having my room clean. I was a very messy kid and only got organized when I was married and had kids. I don't want to traumatize her but I don't want her to grow up to be a slob either.

Thoughts?


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#2 of 35 Old 05-04-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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I do require that they clean them once a week so we can dust and vacuum.  Otherwise, it's their space to do with what they wish (mostly) so I try to let them have it their way.

 

My 9 year old's room makes me insane.  He never makes his bed, puts things away or throws things away until he absolutely has to.  I just try to get in and out quick and not say anything. 

 

They do have to contribute to helping keep the rest of the house clean and picked up.

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#3 of 35 Old 05-04-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Our house is on the market right now, so ds knows that he's supposed to keep his room pretty tidy.  This is a hard chore for him as he is easily distracted by his toys.  So, he cleans and then I clean.  One thing that makes a BIG difference for him is to have some sort of organization.  Legos can go in these tubs, cars on this shelf...and to make sure that the bins we are keeping things in are big enough for them.  For example, I recently realized it was more messy because the non-matchbox type cars were escaping from their box because it was too full.  So we purged and got a bigger box.  Now no more random cars all over the closet.

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#4 of 35 Old 05-10-2011, 02:11 PM
 
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I have a 10 yo, 4yo & 15 mo old...I'm huge on them keeping their rooms neat & tidy. All clothing is hung up or in hamper & toys need to be picked up at the end of the night.

It takes about 5 to 6 mintues in each room to make sure things are right. The key is that they have appropriate shelving & space to put things in so it makes it super easy to clean it up. We have tons of collections that are limited to the container they are put in...

 

now, the playroom is a total disaster area since we are "organizing" it. can't wait until that is finished!!!

 


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#5 of 35 Old 05-10-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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#6 of 35 Old 05-10-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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I have them pick up some and then we do a good muck out once a month together. I was not given room privacy as a child so I try to give it to my kids. If one glance doesn't look/smell too bad.. it can wait until I'm ready to sweep and mop the floors. Yes, I shut their doors when the sight of mess bugs me. And I do make them help keep the common areas of the house pretty clean so we can have friends over.
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#7 of 35 Old 05-11-2011, 12:19 PM
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I was a messy child. I don't know why it just didn't click for me til adulthood. Now I'm super anal about stuff-- ive had students tell me how organized I am but I think it's just overcompensating! But I was embarrassed by the mess. I was glad but embarrassed when my mom cleaned it. I don't know what might have helped, but what I'm doing with dd is lots of easy org (bins bins bins!) and specifically teaching her and helping her. But you know what? I was an honors student and a good kid, and if my kids are just messy but not doing seriously risky stuff and are pleasant curious and hardworking at at least some things, I will not sweat their rooms. I help if I think she's overwhelmed but I also watch her tackle big messes!
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#8 of 35 Old 05-11-2011, 11:15 PM
 
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My kids are 15 & 13.

 

The elder one is quite tidy. Usually vacuums and dusts her room w/out reminders. Recently she and I went through stuff in boxes under her bed to make it easier to vacuum. She is still not in the habit of making her bed daily. Hers is the larger room, about 10 feet long & 7 feet wide. It has a bed, a wardrobe, a desk, a chair,  the family filing cabinet, and some wall mounted shelves.

 

Younger child is messier, and a bit of a hoarder. I have to remind him to put away his clean clothes. Things pile up on his desk and I have to say things like/ "When I get home from work, the books and things on your desk should be on the book-case. If not, I'll have to do it with you."  He doesn't make his bed in the morning, but spends time arranging his blankets and pillows at night to his satisfaction Since it's out of my eye-sight, I don't really care about his nest.  His is the smaller room. It's about 7 feet by 7 feet and has a loft bed, a wardrobe, a small desk, a chair, and two book-cases. Also a small bin of bionicles (his legos are in the living room).

 

He's supposed to vacuum his room at least once a week. I'd like to say we do it more often, but truth be told the room only gets dusted twice a month at most.

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#9 of 35 Old 05-11-2011, 11:32 PM
 
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It's wonderful that she is so creative. Kudos to you for not wanting to traumatise her, but guiding her gently into some orderly habits of tidying up after each creative venture, will make her feel calmer and more in control.

 

I agree with Kristandthekids about the storage...plenty of easily accessible storage really makes it easier.

 

I have the most trouble with my middle child...she is turning 17 next week but still has some trouble keeping her room tidy. She has improved heaps since childhood when it literally looked like a bomb had gone off, and part of that was my fault for buying her too many toys back in those days before I started to seek minimalism.  Now she doesn't have much stuff in her room but she can't seem to stop herself from dropping small things on the floor when she is in there...it drives me nuts!! I do the vacuuming of my girls rooms because even though they are old enough, they have so much to do for school that I do it while they are out...just find it easier that way. I am sure that when they have to do it they will...after all vacuuming is not rocket science, it is just a matter of making a habit of it.


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#10 of 35 Old 05-13-2011, 02:17 AM
 
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Struggling with this here too. Both kids are hoarders and would like to save every scrap of paper, pinecone, twig, shell etc that they have ever found.

 

A couple of things which do seem to be working with both of them  (they are 4 and 6) are having a designated "treasure box" I go through it every so often and throw out some of stuff (especiially DSs he loves cutting up paper and keeping all the tiny bits) and I also try to go through it with them regularly and get them to throw out stuff. We are quite strict that treasures are to be kept in this box, if I find papers everywhere else I will assume they are not special and recycle them. After a few pictures have been recycled this does seem to have stuck.

 

I agree with other PPs having large enough boxes and easy to use organisation is key.

 

I do expect a pick up before bed, and a pretty clear floor. I do not need to be coming in to an ill child in the night over a sea of lego. I tend to do the actual cleaning though.

 

Our biggest issue is getting rid of things which are not used. I don't like taking stuff without them knowing but of course they are very rarely willing to part with things. I do take some outgrown toys and stick them in storage but they've asked after a surprising number. DS is getting  better as we have a new nephew who we are passing things on to. Its quite sweet when he comes up with things he no longer uses saying he thinks J would like them.

 

 

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#11 of 35 Old 05-13-2011, 04:31 AM
 
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I think that something that I wasn't taught (as a super messy child) was a system for organizing. Now as an adult I use motivated moms - it helps me by giving me daily tasks and then breaking down the bigger ones.

So I am intending to teach my boys the idea of daily tasks (age appropriate) and setting up bigger jobs into smaller tasks. For example, having a bin for art projects is good, but a hoarder will continue to add until the bin overflows and they need another one. So I want to to them to every month (or whatever, as appropriate) to clean out the bin.

On keeping every item, we will pick a number to keep and take photos of others.

So if you use flylady, motivated moms, or some other system - set up a mini-version (with the kids help if they are old enough) of the system with kids tasks. That way you can fold their tasks into your system.

Hopefully I am making sense...baby has been teething so mommy is extra sleep deprived!

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#12 of 35 Old 05-13-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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We clean up daily. Not once a week, it would get out of control. At the end of every day every single thing has to be put away, period. I feel so much more sane this way. 

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#13 of 35 Old 05-13-2011, 06:27 AM
 
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I have teenagers. Every once in a while when I can't stand it, I beg them to clean up their rooms and they will, although they might grumble a little. Generally, I try to stay out of their space and tolerate the mess and disorganization. If I'm a little down and DD wants to cheer me up, she'll clean up her room because she knows how happy it makes me - I find it very sweet  love.gif . 

 

On an intellectual level, I know that the mess isn't really my concern. They live with it, not me. I don't have to go into their rooms. If they can't find their things, they know it's their responsibility to cope - natural consequences and all that. Knowing about the mess makes me itchy and uptight though, so every so often I can't help myself and I'll ask them to clean up.   

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#14 of 35 Old 05-18-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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My oldest two girls share a room (the younger boys share with me right now). The girls bedroom makes me insane. They have nice, labeled storage bins. Shelving cube-style units with fabric bins, plenty of space for their toys - if they are put away. Their room is small, but very well organized. They routinely trash the room. I beg them to clean, they do a crummy job - shove things in corners, stuff drawers with toys and garbage....then about once a month I break down and clean/organize the room top to bottom. The 3 year old plays in their room sometimes, I need to put away laundry and vacuum. If left to their own devices, they will leave garbage and rotting food that they have snuck into their room (especially fruit cores)


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#15 of 35 Old 06-08-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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One thing that helps us is that there are really no toys in my daughters' room (they're almost 6 and 2). Just books, a couple of dolls, a wooden cradle my dad made, and a soft-toy dollhouse to entertain my 2yo while I'm cleaning or showering upstairs. All toys are in the main living areas downstairs...and we don't have many to begin with out of choice. What we do have are organized into bins, shelves, or nice-looking wicker baskets. And what we have are mostly baby dolls, lots of scarves/playsilks, kitchen/food stuff, train tracks/trains, magnetic sticks, blocks, musical instruments, books, and art supplies. There are a couple of fabric bins that contain some of the more random things that my mil inevitably brings into the house, too. As my toddler gets older, I surreptitiously take things away that I notice are not being played with and donate them...I do keep things they still play with imaginatively, though, like one of those donut stacking things for babies that my daughters now use as donuts during play :)

 

Also, my older daughter has chores she does (almost) every day, which include making her bed...which I've showed her how to do in the easiest way possible...making sure her books are on her shelves, and putting her clothes in the hamper at night or leaving clean ones out to hang up the next morning. Sometimes the chores don't get done for a variety of reasons, but I don't get upset about it or force the issue...usually it's just because of scheduling or if she's slept in because she didn't fall asleep until late. I do also pick up for her sometimes at night, especially if it's getting late or I know we have to be somewhere in the morning. But I make it a point to tell her that I'd be happy to help her because I know she's feeling...(sad, tired, etc.) and that's what family members do for one another. It helps her want to continue to do her chores the next day.  I also recently added that she make the guest bed that DH sometimes sleeps in when our cosleeping toddler relentlessly kicks him in the back at night in our room. I've noticed that she is very proud of what she accomplishes and I always make it a point to comment on how great it is that she is helping the family and to tell DH periodically.

 

I've also started giving her chores downstairs, since she is interested. She loves to clean the windows because she likes using  the spray bottle and she likes dusting...my mil got her her own microfiber dusting mitt, which she thinks is so cool! She also sets the table and clears her own plate.

 

 

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#16 of 35 Old 06-08-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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The thing that has helped the most is if I keep them company  when they clean and give them directions on what to do next. Sometimes saying 'clean your room' is too vague. I need to say 'put your dirty clothes in the laundry, put the books back on the shelf, throw away in paper cuttings from the floor, etc.' I also do random clean up tasks like 'everyone, please put 5 things back where they belong' - this often takes care of the mess in the family room. I do like to give them some say in their rooms, but I also like to prevent pest infestations that would happen from the crumbs and clutter.

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#17 of 35 Old 06-08-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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When I was in nursing school full time I neglected the bedrooms (and most of the house!). Then I graduated and did a whole house deep cleaning. When I got to the girls' room I was shocked by the dust balls, dead crickets, cricket poop, etc. It was really bad. I showed them this and they were disgusted that they had been living like that without knowing it. I stressed the importance of having a clean healthy space to live and breathe. I said that bugs and dust bunnies like to hide in dark places that are not moved or cleaned very often. It was a real eye opener and they try very hard now to at least keep their things off the floor to not provide hiding places for the critters. It's not like our house is crawling with bugs at all, but after many months of neglect it got this bad. Since they share a very small room, I have provided shelves and bins for their things, but they must all be able to fit into those storage spaces. I have also given them each an IKEA coffee table as a platform to set up their playsets and legos or crafts or whatever they have. When things start to overflow from the storage areas we go through them and the girls are able to distinguish more easily between the trash and useless things, and the things they find more precious and useful. 

 

Maybe in your case it would be good do to a reality check like this, too.

 

ETA: I have a paper taped to the wall with "How to Clean Your Room" and steps that break it down into smaller pieces. This works especially well for my 7yo who is a rule follower.

 

My mom, who is still raising my 21 year old and 17 year old sibs at home, tells them to clean the room or she will-- and she will charge them for this service by the hour. If they don't want her handling their things *and* charging for it, they will clean their rooms. She said this works very well. Clean is just defined by things off the floors and putting the clutter out of sight in the closet, so that if someone walked in they would at least see a clean room.


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#18 of 35 Old 06-09-2011, 05:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by completebeginnings View Post

I have struggled with the fight over my kids rooms. They are very good and helpful with some prodding to help clean the house and pick up toys as I am pretty strict about family use areas being clean. The issue is their bedrooms. They are all homeschooled and young(18 months to 8 years). We have tried multiple things including it needing to be clean before breakfast, having one day a week where is needs to be clean so I can get in and vacuum, me cleaning it, getting rid of everything so there is nothing to make a mess. Right now we are doing the clean it once a week thing and every time I go into their rooms I want to die. They are so messy! Especially my 8 year old dd. She is very creative and artistic and is always sewing, crafting, writing or painting something. She is also a hoarder keeping piles of rocks, kids menus from dinning out, every piece of paper she has ever written on etc. She shoves things into closets and under her bed etc.

It makes me feel crazy!!! And my husband says I can't say or do anything if we have the one day a week rule.

I remember very vividly my mother screaming and yelling and taking away my toys and clothes for not having my room clean. I was a very messy kid and only got organized when I was married and had kids. I don't want to traumatize her but I don't want her to grow up to be a slob either.

Thoughts?


I have one of these girls at my house too -- homeschooled, creative, messy and wants to keep everything.  She is 9 almost 10 now and we have been revamping our cleaning methods to help accommodate her messy habits.  What has really helped her is to give her 3 shelves -- not big ones, simple things we bought at IKEA.   These are her 'display' shelves and are hers to do with what she will.  But the deal is that her papers, art, collections must fit on the three shelves.  If the shelves are full, something must go before something new is bought in.  

 

Nothing under the bed and we took the door off her closet (because it is an awkward, tiny bedroom and the door was always getting in the way).  I vacuum once a week and she knows that if it is on the floor, it gets swept up.  The first week was a little tough, the second much easier and now it is a regular habit.  I still have to help her sort through her 'treasures' sometimes to keep it under control, but having her space tidy has been rewarding to her and she is happier and calmer about keeping her room clean.  

 

And honestly, before someone jumps on me for being all stepford-wifeish, this was totally a necessary step in her life -- My dd's room was a living microcosm of rotting banana peel, apple cores, mountains if little bits of paper, dirty laundry, foul smelling soccer gear, lost ballet shoes -- it was insane.  Little girls can be regular little pigs sometimes.  

 


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#19 of 35 Old 06-09-2011, 05:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristandthekids View Post

It's a constant thing. When you are done with it, put it away. "Can we go play outside?" Put your toys away first. Supper is almost ready, start picking up. It never becomes a big giant overwhelming mess to begin with. When it's a quick 2-5 minute pick up, it's not as big of a battle.


Absolutely this. Any other way and they get overwhelmed, I get frustrated and nothing gets done. None of my kids have their own room so it's important for them to not only respect their space and belongings but the space and belongings of their siblings. When they grow up and move out they're welcome to live like animals.  


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#20 of 35 Old 06-09-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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For my oldest who has now moved to her own apt, I never made her clean her room. This was hard for me and I didn't like it, but as someone said I don't have to live with it - she did. When it comes down to it, I was not comfortable with that decision and if I went back I would make her clean weekly.

 

The approach I use now with my boys 7&9 is that they clean their rooms every Saturday morning (they each have their own small room). This includes putting away clothes, clean off stuff on the floor & other surfaces, organizing their things under the bed, vacuuming, and changing their sheets every other week. They have all the apporpriate storage for their things as long as they throw out the garbage & other stuff that ends up on the floor all week. When they are a little older I will add dusting, but for now this is enough.

 

They are not allowed to play outside, use electronics, or go anywhere until the above is finished. My ds9 will get things done early if he knows he has an early baseball game. Also he is more likely to clean throughout the week so Saturday it isn't so much. My ds7 hasn't quite figured that out yet.

 

Throughout the week if their rooms start to look like I don't want to see them, the doors stay closed so I am not bothered. We have a small home with the bedrooms on the same floor of the living area so this is important to me. Also we have no playroom. They keep all their stuff in their rooms. During the week they are required to clean up as they go in the main living areas, but often that means picking up and dumping on the bedroom floor to be dealt with later.....

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#21 of 35 Old 06-09-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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Yes,I make them keep them clean.  They are 10 and 11 and have no toys in their rooms so it'snot too hard.  I figure you take care ofyour things, regardless if you have a lot or a little.  If you don't take care of your things, I will give them to someone who will and who will also appreciate them.  I also make sure they keep up on their hygiene, exercise and homework.  I want them to develop good habits. 


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#22 of 35 Old 06-14-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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I try to give DD room privacy. But she has to clean it once a week for vacuuming. Also, no food is allowed in there. Every few months I help her declutter it and she loves the results.

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#23 of 35 Old 07-15-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this. My DD is still an infant, but I've been contemplating how we'll approach her living space when she's older. It is great to see what everyone is doing in their situations.

 

Many have commented on making sure you provide large enough bins and adequate shelving so that there is a place for everything. I totally agree. I remember when I was a youngster and my mom asking me to "clean the house". I had no idea where things went. There was no organizational system. No place to put wandering but necessary papers, craft items, etc. It was very stressful. So absolutely, before we can expect ourselves and our children to really clean up, we need to make it easy on ourselves and them and designate a place for everything. I also think weeding out our possessions to the necessities helps a ton. Simplification. If you don't have much to begin with, big explosive messes are not possible. "Stuff" is overwhelming by nature. Maybe you have shelves and bins galore for the ton of stuff, but excessive stuff + excessive, detailed organization can be just as overwhelming. I know my husband is not an organizer. He gets frustrated by too many different designations for things in our house. He just gives up and throws it in the general area (like, instead of putting a screw in the appropriate tray in the drawer, he just throws it in the draw and calls it 'good enough'.). Keep your family's personalities and preferences in mind, and don't go too crazy with organization :) (so in the screw example, nixing the trays and designating the whole drawer for the screws+related items helps us). You want something that will work for YOU and YOURS :)


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#24 of 35 Old 07-15-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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Unless it is fire hazard, i.e. I can;t open a door inward or there is weired smell, I do not require them to clean. If it is fire hazard and tehy refuse to clean, I come in with a garbage bag and just thorw out everything I see fit. If they think I threw out something important, they are welcome to fish is out of the garbage can.

 

I noticed that when they have friends coming to visit or a sleepover, they do agood job cleaning their room.

 

It is their room, why should I care unless there is safety issue?

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#25 of 35 Old 07-15-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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Mine can do whatever they want in regards to cleaning their rooms, with just a few exceptions. First, there must be a path from door to bed to window. Second, no bugs. Ants show up and they will be doing a thorough cleaning. Third, messy room means friends can't play in there. So...if they want their friends to come in and play with something in their rooms, it needs to be neat. Fourth, no smell. If it stinks, it needs cleaned.  That's it :)  As you can imagine, I was the messy kid that was always, always, always in trouble for not makign their bed or keeping their room clean. Swore that when I had kids I would let them have messy rooms. And I do ;)


WOHM to DS11 and DD9, both T1Ds

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#26 of 35 Old 07-22-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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I have mine do a thourough clean-out once or twice a year, and otherwise keep out food, bring glasses and towels down, keep clothes washed and put up, and keep a trail from bed to door(their rooms are on 2nd floor). My mom was also one of those who required me to keep my room spotless and would come throw alot of my stuff away and that's hurtful and I didn't want to do that to my own kids. I do help them keep it clean daily until they are 6 or so, then I go through the bedroom with them once or twice a year until around 9. After that, they are on their own. If I feel it's getting too bad and they won't clean it on their own I require it to be totally cleaned out before anyone is allowed to go anywhere or have company.


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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#27 of 35 Old 07-23-2011, 06:54 AM
 
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I just helped dd clean her room yesterday. It had probably been 5 months since I spoke to her about cleaning and stuff was piled on the floor.

I do collect the trash from the wastebasket every week and dirty clothes to be washed.

Recently dd cleaned her closet on her own and it looks great. She has trouble figuring out where to put things away in her room though. I think if we pared down her possessions it would be easier for her.

We do have a couple of rules like no food in the bedroom & dirty clothes go in the basket. If she is following the rules I don't care much if her room is a bit messy. I've always felt that is what doors on bedrooms are for.

 

My mom would come to my room with a trash bag and start tossing things. I had a reason for things being the way they were but she just saw it as a mess. I don't want to do that with dd.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#28 of 35 Old 07-23-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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My mom threw a "Saturday room fit" every week when I was a child, so I did not require rooms to be cleaned every week.  I cleaned for and with them when they were younger, but by the time they were 11 or so the responsibility was all theirs.  Like some pp's, I had rules like no food, no smells, no company if the room wasn't neat, no help from me if you couldn't find something (their car keys were the most consistent missing things).  Otherwise, I shut the door and tried to forget it.  They both keep their dorm rooms/apartments neat and clean now, so there were no adverse affects.

 

Edited to add onlyzombiecat's point about laundry.  I would happily wash their clothes as long as they were in the basket.  I would not traipse all over their rooms looking for laundry.  If they needed clean clothes that weren't in the basket, they did their own laundry.

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#29 of 35 Old 07-23-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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My DD is only three.  She's expected to throw away trash, return toys to bins and books to the shelf, but I do the actual tidying and bed making.  She also puts her dirty clothes in the hamper.  I will probably start having her make her bed soon, but I think it's a nice balance right now. 


Healthcare is a human right!
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#30 of 35 Old 07-23-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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Mine are supposed to put laundry downstairs everyday, but instead they wait and every other week or so bring down 1-2 loads of clothes to be washed! Drives me crazy. I don't mind doing their laundry but not 2 loads when it's their own fault. They do that themselves.


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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