By Andrea Simanson
Do you want to help your child get his/her act together? Do you desire he have a clean room, but it just seems impossible?
Don't give up. It is possible to make the change, with patience and some effort on your part, you can do it. My husband and I have worked with one of our children for about 5 months now to change some bad habits into good ones. We are encouraged at the progress that's been made. It isn't an overnight process (sometimes we wish it were), but it is a process worth going through. Don't get discouraged, but do step back and look at the progress that IS being made. Celebrate the positive changes and encourage your child lots, and you'll see him/her grow in responsibility and begin to enjoy keeping their room clean.
How do you help a "messy room kid"?
We broke it down into three simple things to be done each day:
1. Put away your clothes.
2. Put away your toys/things.
3. Put garbage in the garbage can.
Honestly, simply staying on top of number 1 has made all the difference in our daughter's room staying clean. We found that the clothes were the biggest contributing factor to a messy room. There should be enough room in the closet and drawers to store every piece of clothing for a child. If not, remove any excess clothing to make room for only what's needed. One good rule of thumb is "if you get a new piece of clothing, something old has to go." We think we can just keep adding and adding to the collection, when in reality there is only so much room." In winter, store summer clothes elsewhere and vice versa in summer. Also, be sure it's clear where the dirty laundry is to go. We have a hamper in each room for each child.
Second, there should be a place for all toys/things/personal belongings in a child's room. Keep it simple - some ideas are a shelf on the wall, a bookshelf, some bins or boxes with or without lids, a toy box or storage bin, a desk with drawers. Once your child knows where each item belongs when not being used, he/she can easily and quickly put things away.
Lastly, the garbage can in the room is important and needs to be emptied on a regular basis. Does your child have a garbage can in his/her room? We have garbage cans in every room in our house (some small, some larger). It's amazing how much garbage a family can create on a daily basis when you add up tissues, apple cores, candy wrappers, junk mail, etc. (Gathering garbages is a chore our 8-year old does each day).
Remember the old saying "What gets inspected gets done." Apply that to daily chores. Inspect your child's room often and hold him to the standard you've set. Soon, he'll be holding himself to the standard.
Remember, every child is different. All three of our children are different when it comes to keeping their rooms clean. For one it comes more easily than the others and we work differently with him than we do our other two. The key is stepping back and identifying what approach will help each individual child succeed. Is there something you can do to help your child get his act together? A simple 3-step plan may be all he needs to point him in the right direction. Why not start today?
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