It is the eternal battle: Parents vs. untidy kids’ rooms. Even now, battles rage on as unhappy adults struggle to claim cleanly conquest over their children’s disorganized, dirty domiciles.
Yet, a new dawn appears on the horizon — and the new day may spell a new victor in the interminable battle for organization. It may seem as though the war against messy kids’ spaces is unwinnable, but with the right furniture (and fortitude) any parent can show off a spotless tot’s room.
Train Them Young
Sometimes, it may feel pointless as well as fruitless to teach kids to clean their rooms, but in reality, maintaining a tidy space in their youth will make children more productive members of society later on. In taking ownership of their space, kids begin to understand the importance of caring for one’s belongings, which sets them up for success later in life. A clean room is more than a healthy, tidy space: It is a lifelong lesson in responsibility. However, the only way for children to gain this understanding is to accomplish the task time and time again.
Parents who impose strict cleanliness rules later in a child’s life will find the task drastically more difficult than those who institute clean standards as soon as a tot learns to walk. As soon as babies can move unassisted and hold items in their tiny hands, they can learn to put things in their proper places. Initially, parents will have to accompany their children around the house during clean-up to demonstrate the proper protocol. Eventually, children will adopt the habit of cleaning up after playtime, and they will be more likely to complete cleaning chores as they grow older.
There are a few helpful ways clean-up can be easier for younger kids understand and complete, including:
- Set a good example. Plenty of research shows that kids learn from what you do, not what you say. If your room is a model of cleanliness, your kids’ more likely will follow suit.
- Let kids have their space. By allowing your children to design and arrange their own spaces, you will be instilling in them a sense of pride, which easily translates into a greater sense of responsibility for their own place.
- Clearly define clean. A major source of tension between parents and kids is what truly counts as clean. A list of mandates, including making the bed, hanging up clothes, and putting toys away, will help prevent miscommunication.
Of course, even the best laid roads are subject to cracks, and eventually, parents may fail in their efforts for clean kids’ rooms. If (read: when) that happens, parents may consider the following solutions.
Increased Floor Space
Even a dirty room will look tidier if there is more floor to see. Parents can create the illusion of clean, organized rooms by selecting items of furniture and décor that don’t take up much space. As a bonus, many items that are economical in size are also great at improving how a room looks.
- Bunk beds provide plenty of space for kids’ play and rest. Packing multiple children into one room is a recipe for a mess, but by stacking their beds, you should reveal sufficient room for activities — and storage.
- Ceiling lights are by far the most effective ambient lights on the market. Because they are attached to the ceiling, ceiling lights don’t take up floor space, and they save you from dangerous accidents like a shattered floor or desk lamp.
- Curtains and room dividers can shield messy areas like closets and play spaces from view. Though this doesn’t necessarily solve the cleanliness problem, it does make you look like you have control of your kids, which is ultimately second-best for most parents.
- Overhead storage keeps floors clear and limits kids’ access to certain items. If you find your kids are particularly poor at keeping toys tidy — maybe markers always make messes, or dolls are a disaster — you can stash them out of reach until your children earn them.
Armed with new strategies for defeating squalor in little ones’ rooms, parents may be able to squash out dirty habits and replace them with healthy, happy, hygienic ones. However, parents should never let their guards down should the revolution recommence in more turbulent, teenage years.