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garett
08-30-2010, 04:38 PM
Do any of you make your children clean their rooms ? If so, how do you go about enforcing it ? How do you justify it to the child (ex: learning to take care of things, fire safety etc.) ?

I'm particularly interested in "parenting philosophy" regarding this issue. I.e: Is their room and belongings their property ? WHY should they have to clean up their rooms if it doesn't affect other members of the household ? etc.

SherryZoned
08-30-2010, 04:51 PM
I just tell them that I want their rooms clean. Now the younger ones I have to help do but my 11 year old has to do it himself.

Either he keeps his room decent or I clean his room and take out everything so it will be "easier" for him to keep up. I do say that it is for safety reasons and while the stuff in his room is his. His stuff is in "my" house so as long as he gives me no reason to take away anything his stuff is his stuff.

I enforce by my threat of doing it myself.

Also I say too. If this is a problem and I don't want to enforce me cleaning the room yet is... If it is your stuff in your room then you are not allowed to bring anything from their room out into the rest of the house now that is only a problem if the wants to be in his room and I say no. Then he is left doing nothing because of course then that is during a no tv/computer time period.

Also..
If he does not choose to clean his room and I don't want to clean it my way. Then I say if are not responsible enough to take care of "your" items then he does not get to touch anyone elses items which includes the coveted computer because the computer is not his.

dbmamaz
08-30-2010, 05:33 PM
My excuse is that the floors need to get vacuumed because we are all allergic to dust. But i dont make them do it nearly oftne enough. Also my younger (6) usually needs me to stay in the room - but not always. Once he wanted a freind over, and I said the house was too messy. He cleaned up his own room and helped w the family room. The 14 yo has some real issues - if i make him pick it up weekly and vacuum, he can do ok, but there are too many weeks (like this one) when I feel so sick on 'clean upstairs day' that it doesnt happen. So at least twice a year I have to go in with him and point to the ground and say, ok, where does this go? is that keep or garbage? do you have room in this drawer?

I am, tho, strict about clothing in the hamper. My 6 yo still has a parent bedtime routine, and we make sure it happens. My older learned (around 11?) that if his clothes werent in the hamper on laundry day, i wasnt cleaning his clothes, but HE WAS! He's gotten much better about it. And food doesnt go upstairs at ALL and rarely leaves the kitchen or dining rooms. Video games are downstairs and again, when I'm ready to vacuum, I make everyone come in and pick up. Or sometimes if they want to play a board game on the floor or make a pillow fort, I'll enforce that.

I guess I dont get very philosophical about room cleaning. I remember my father threatening to stop coming in my room if I didnt clean it. I wasnt very concerned about that - he only came in to shut my window in the morning and open it in the evening, when he turned on and off the whole house fan, and i could handle doing that. But i think allowing a kid to live in a total pig pen is not really doing them any favors. I think its a good habit to clean, and i am lousy at it, and i'm doing my best to give my kids at least a slightly better start than I had.

Sarbare0704
08-30-2010, 05:55 PM
Lucy is expected to keep her room and playroom cleaned. It is not something I enforce on a daily basis but she knows if she wants to play with her leapster or legos it has to be done. her playroom more then her bedroom because if the baby is napping she cant clean her room (they share) She knows that she is the only one that makes the mess so it is hers to pick up. Sometimes it gets really bad and then she has to have it cleaned if she wants to go do something fun like go to a friends house to play or go to the park. Normally it is not an issue because she knows she is the one who has to clean it so normally she cleans up when she is done playing.

garett
08-30-2010, 06:05 PM
There is a war being waged in our house right now and I'm not even sure which side I'm on, let alone how to fight it.

I agree that keeping your home clean is a good habit, but at the same time it's rooted in pride and self-esteem. The problem for a child is that they didn't produce the majority of their belongings, so it's very easy to take everything for granted. They own so many things and the few things they really care about they do take care of. I worry that if I coerce them into cleaning their rooms I'm not doing anything except creating resentment. When I tell them they can't go play outside or watch TV until they clean their rooms that is very much a punishment. Then they get angry and have revenge fantasies, all the while telling themselves that when they grow up and move out they'll keep their homes however they're going to and it's none of my business (and they're right).

I used to be a total slob and I changed gradually by having more and more control over my life, and taking pride in the things that I own. It's very rooted in self-esteem and personal, productive effort. The only rational argument I am able to make as far as cleaning up is concerned is when it involves other people - i.e: respecting the rights of others - (ex: washing your dishes, cleaning messes in the living room etc.)

I've tried to give them many reasons for why keeping their rooms clean will benefit them personally, but they don't buy any of them. They're completely comfortable with their pig sties.

So that's why I'm wondering how other parents look at it, and approach the issue. Thanks for the responses so far :)

Sarah Camphouse
08-30-2010, 06:58 PM
Lucy is expected to keep her room and playroom cleaned. It is not something I enforce on a daily basis but she knows if she wants to play with her leapster or legos it has to be done. her playroom more then her bedroom because if the baby is napping she cant clean her room (they share) She knows that she is the only one that makes the mess so it is hers to pick up. Sometimes it gets really bad and then she has to have it cleaned if she wants to go do something fun like go to a friends house to play or go to the park. Normally it is not an issue because she knows she is the one who has to clean it so normally she cleans up when she is done playing.

Unless my kids come over and help make the mess! My kids make a mess over there a lot and sometimes we have to leave before they finish cleaning but Lucy is still good about cleaning up after them too lol.

Shoe
08-30-2010, 07:06 PM
Do any of you make your children clean their rooms ? If so, how do you go about enforcing it ? How do you justify it to the child (ex: learning to take care of things, fire safety etc.) ?

I'm particularly interested in "parenting philosophy" regarding this issue. I.e: Is their room and belongings their property ? WHY should they have to clean up their rooms if it doesn't affect other members of the household ? etc.
I'm more lax with their bedrooms than I am with them when they're helping with the rest of the house-I do view their room as their domain and their "stuff" as their property. That said, I don't tolerate dirt, dirty dishes, leftover food or bad smells, and I do insist that they do some amount of tidying simply for hygiene. As far as helping with the rest of the house,well, they live in it and it's a communal effort. I do my share, my wife (prior to her recent health issues) did more than her share, and the kids need to do some too-it's just part of being in a family. I rarely punish them because I stand there until they do it (and they're pretty good kids overall...most days) and they realize that I won't let it go (sometimes there is a bit of yelling involved on both sides). I have never taken away privileges for not cleaning-I reserve that for what I perceive to be bigger issues (nor do I practice any form of corporal punishment-when they were very small, I'd very rarely spank them for severe, potentially life or health threatening behaviors, but I haven't done that in about 8 years now).

Lolov
08-30-2010, 07:22 PM
There is a war being waged in our house right now and I'm not even sure which side I'm on, let alone how to fight it.

I agree that keeping your home clean is a good habit, but at the same time it's rooted in pride and self-esteem. The problem for a child is that they didn't produce the majority of their belongings, so it's very easy to take everything for granted. They own so many things and the few things they really care about they do take care of. I worry that if I coerce them into cleaning their rooms I'm not doing anything except creating resentment. When I tell them they can't go play outside or watch TV until they clean their rooms that is very much a punishment. Then they get angry and have revenge fantasies, all the while telling themselves that when they grow up and move out they'll keep their homes however they're going to and it's none of my business (and they're right).

I used to be a total slob and I changed gradually by having more and more control over my life, and taking pride in the things that I own. It's very rooted in self-esteem and personal, productive effort. The only rational argument I am able to make as far as cleaning up is concerned is when it involves other people - i.e: respecting the rights of others - (ex: washing your dishes, cleaning messes in the living room etc.)

I've tried to give them many reasons for why keeping their rooms clean will benefit them personally, but they don't buy any of them. They're completely comfortable with their pig sties.

So that's why I'm wondering how other parents look at it, and approach the issue. Thanks for the responses so far :)

I'm with you, Garett. My kids have chores that they do daily and weekly to keep the communal areas clean and presentable. Their room and playroom, however, are their spaces and so long as they are safe in there, I try not to care (though I must admit sometimes I channel my mother when I see it and I get very upset within myself). Ive even gone so far as to allow them to simply keep their clean clothes in a laundry bin instead of fighting with them to put the stuff away.

My theory is this: I don't want to fight with my kids over stuff that JUST DOESN'T MATTER. Really, on my deathbed am I going to regret that my kids' room was a pigsty? Nope. WHen I was a kid, I was a pig. I was also forced to clean my room weekly. That didn't stop me from being a pig. What stopped me being a pig was when I got my own apartment (at 18) and took pride in having people over, etc. I don't think we can force our kids to be neat and clean to our standards. I know a lot of people do that, and that's their deal :) I just choose to pick my battles, and room cleaning isn't important enough to me to damage my relationship with my kids over (which is what was happening in our house... not saying that's always the end result, just referring to our situation.)

That said, I do require them to keep the communal areas fairly clean. They clean up video games, board games, toys, etc. every night so it's nice in the morning. They also aren't allowed to eat anywhere other than the dining room (usually, once in a while I'll make an exception) so there aren't dirty dishes, etc. in their room... just mostly clothes/toys/books/fort remnants/robots made from boxes LOL.

Everyone has to do what makes their family happy :) For some that means enforcing clean rooms and for others, it means letting their rooms resemble pig styes ;-)

Wilma
08-30-2010, 08:48 PM
I don't worry about their rooms as much as the public areas of the house and yard. We are very busy and I get rattled when things are dirty or in disarray. However, if they start losing stuff, if the mess spills out into the rest of the house, if there is a smell, etc, then we enforce it. And honestly, if it comes down to it, we have taken away things, kept them from activities, and point out that if they want to keep it so it infringes on the rest of the family, they can get a job to make the house payment on that portion of the house. Seriously. but I think we have pointed that out 2 or 3 times.

dbmamaz
08-30-2010, 08:56 PM
. When I tell them they can't go play outside or watch TV until they clean their rooms that is very much a punishment. Then they get angry and have revenge fantasies, all the while telling themselves that when they grow up and move out they'll keep their homes however they're going to and it's none of my business (and they're right).

I agree, its a punishment. I get moans and anger and such, and I just let it wash over me . . . I really believe I lean towards the side of lenient, and there are only a few things I enforce . .. and they dont have to like it, they just have to believe that I really mean it. I only have to take away priveleges once or twice before they believe me. and i mean, its easy stuff - you cant get back on electronics until you empty the dishwasher and put away your laundry - do it fast and you could be back in 5 minutes! And if they ask why, I often say 'cuz i'm the meanest mommy'. I think that shuts them up because i'm really NOT mean, and they know it. I also do plenty of 'yeah, well if i didnt want to cook dinner you wouldnt have anything to eat' guilt trip.

but i dont believe there is an actual wrong or right about how clean kids rooms need to be. Its something that has to work for your family (but maybe esp for the adults! - i get mad if someone asks me in to their room and i hurt myself!)

InstinctiveMom
08-30-2010, 10:40 PM
I do require my kids to clean their room. My oldest has a tendency to cram stuff beside his bed and my youngest loves 'recycling' - which in his mind ammounts to collecting an insane amount of paper scraps, cardboard and other 'buidling materials'. They share a room, so it creates quite a mess if we let it get out of hand. I go in with a broom and sweep everything into one pile and they must throw paper and anything broken away, and whatever is left must be able to fit into their boxes (they have 3 shoebox sized bins each and one larger bin for their treasures, plus a little leeway if they're working on a project or have something big. That, plus 2 bookshelves is all the storage they have so whatever is in there MUST fit. If it doesn't, then they have to prioritize and think about getting rid of something or finding a creative storage solution.
For us, this is a safety issue. I'm not tripping over toys and mess to go into their room and it's unsafe for them to have to climb over stuff as well. We're not super harsh about it - usually they have to tidy up before they play games or while dinner is cooking, but they're pretty good about keeping their stuff picked up.

Communal areas are everyone's responsibility, though I do most of the actual 'cleaning'; mostly the kids just tidy up.
~h

JinxieFox
08-30-2010, 11:50 PM
I definitely expect my son to keep his room clean for the simple fact that we live in an extremely humid country at the moment, and - even with the air conditioning - mold has been known to grow in these buildings. Keeping his room picked up not only keeps things from sitting in one area for too long; it helps me to keep the carpet clean.

amphibology29
08-31-2010, 12:24 AM
We have a three bedroom house and Sakura is still rooming in with us, so the other two bedrooms are set up as: room one, a bedroom for Nikko to sleep where we also keep all of the kids' clothing, along with the diaper changing area, and a large walk in closet that (when my husband gets around to putting up my shelves!) will serve as my sewing, knitting, etc storage; and room two, a toy and play room for the kids.

There's not much for Nikko to do in his bedroom since there's very little personal "stuff" in it. I have had to implement a policy that if clothing isn't in the dirty hamper I won't wash it. He was getting really bad about taking his clothes off and tossing them near the hamper but not actually in it. My point was that I couldn't be sure the clothing on the floor was dirty, since it could have just fallen out of the clothes cupboards or not been put away properly in the first place. And to wash clean clothing would be a terrible waste of water and electricity, which went over well since Nikko is very big on conservation.

The toy and play room is nearly all his responsibility. I've explained to him that when we get new toys we make sure they have a space on the shelves or in a bin and that's where they're going to live (we often do donation runs of old toys after birthdays and major holidays, to make sure we keep things at a manageable level). And if something doesn't get put away (Nikko is notorious for taking things to the doorway and leaving them there on the floor) then it gets put up on a high shelf and he can't have it for a week. In order to get my point across about things needing a home, before I implemented the new rules about picking up I just stopped cleaning up after him and the room got so messy that he couldn't even get into the room, let alone find any toys he was looking for or have a clear floor space to play. It took a while to get that bad, but he realized pretty quickly once it did that putting things away was important. Even now, if he can't find something that I know has a very obvious place to be, I don't help him look. I tell him that I know it belongs in XYZ and if it's not there then I can't help him. Call it tough love, but he's learning very quickly that putting things away and knowing where they are the next time he wants them go hand in hand.

Kylie
08-31-2010, 02:03 AM
I struggle with this one. My memories of being a teenager are always being in trouble for being a slob!!!! I really don't want to do that to my kids. I agree with all of your comments in regards to communal areas and general safetly and hygiene but for me I don't want to be fighting with my kids over a messy room.

However I have a 6 year old that is a hurricane on two legs and has been like that since she was 3. I have resorted to remove all clothing etc from her room (it is now in our wardrobe) simply for sanity's sake!!! Not quite sure what I will do when she is older though hehehe

mjzzyzoff
08-31-2010, 11:39 AM
For us, the clean room thing does impact the rest of the household.

- DS still likes to be tucked in, and I refuse to enter a room where I have to trip over things to get the 3 feet to the bed.
- When the air is off, we have to open the window and put in the fan. He's not quite capable of doing this himself without the fan falling out in the middle of the night and scaring the crap out of everyone!
- The laundry issue; i.e. when he brings down his dirty clothes and half of them are still folded... argh!
- When the puppy sneaks upstairs she either goes for my husbands dirty socks or DS's nerf gun bullets. I really don't care about the damage to the bullets (hey, shouldn't leave them on the floor!) but I do worry about her ingesting too big a piece.

So we do a kind of half-hearted approach. Before bed each night he has 5 minutes to pick things up and occasionally, when it gets really bad, I'll just say he has to clean it up before he plays. Seems to work ok for us.

ESNQueen
08-31-2010, 05:53 PM
I can't stand wearing shoes and socks, even in the winter. So if I walk into the kids room and I hurt my foot on something, it goes in the trash.

They've also been told that if they can't show me that they can take care of their 'stuff,' they don't get any more stuff.

JinxieFox
08-31-2010, 07:35 PM
I can't stand wearing shoes and socks, even in the winter. So if I walk into the kids room and I hurt my foot on something, it goes in the trash.

They've also been told that if they can't show me that they can take care of their 'stuff,' they don't get any more stuff.

Oh yes, I echo Brandi's sentiments as well! Especially with stepping on toys (Legos are the worst)! We also share the same philosophy - our son needs to learn to be responsible for and take care of his stuff. Otherwise, he does not get more. Cleaning up, putting everything in its place, and not leaving it strewn around shows that he attaches value to his toys and belongings, the money we all work hard to earn (whether his father, myself, or through spending his own allowance) to buy them.

garett
08-31-2010, 09:55 PM
We tried the whole "we're not going to buy you new things if you don't take care of the things you have." Alas, it was futile. Family spoils them rotten :(

Busygoddess
08-31-2010, 10:03 PM
My kids are expected to clean their rooms. They are required to tidy up daily - pick up laundry, toys, books, & garbage. Once a week, they do a deeper cleaning - sweep, dust, & remove cobwebs. Once a month, they wash their windows & their chalkboard walls (though, we're not as good at remembering the monthly ones).

My reasons (in no particular order):
1) I got tired of washing laundry that wasn't dirty. They would pull the clothes out of the dressers & off the hangers, and throw it all on the floor. So, I was always washing stuff that hadn't been worn in months (heavy sweaters in July).
2) I occasionally have reasons to go into their bedrooms, and I don't appreciate stepping on corners of blocks & cars, dinosaur claws & tails, or other pointy or hard objects.
3) We had a cat (until earlier this year) that was getting quite bad about peeing on anything left on the floor.
4) They have to learn to take proper care of their things and to show respect for property (theirs & others').

Yes, their stuff is theirs. However, someone paid good money to buy all of that stuff. It would be disresprctful to just throw it all on the floor & let it get destroyed. They need to learn to treat property with respect & care, whether they paid for it or someone else did, whether it is their property or belongs to someone else. They need to learn to clean up after themselves, because I am not a maid. They also have to help with all other rooms in the house, except the master bedroom. If they make the mess, they should clean it. If they help make the mess, they should help clean it. I am raising them to one day be adults. They will need to be able to take care of themselves & their homes. I want them to be independant, self-sufficient adults who are more than capable of keeping their homes clean, cooking their meals, etc.
As their mom, it's my responsibility to make sure that these skills are learned & practiced as children.

garett
08-31-2010, 11:18 PM
However, someone paid good money to buy all of that stuff. It would be disresprctful to just throw it all on the floor & let it get destroyed. They need to learn to treat property with respect & care, whether they paid for it or someone else did, whether it is their property or belongs to someone else.

If you don't mind me being philosophical for a moment... why?

The way I see it, being an independent, self-sufficient adult means possessing the skills necessary to pursue values. The key word is: value. For the sake of clarity I define "value" as anything that we seek to acquire and/or keep. Values can be derived from objective standards, but are ultimately subjective. In other words, there are only a handful of concretes that all human beings value equally: material sustenance required for survival. So the question is, if you don't value something why ought you care for it ? Because someone else might value it ?[1]

The fact that someone else expended effort to produce it is irrelevant because they either traded it for an equivalent value (ex: money), in which case they have not made any sacrifice, or they gave it as a gift which means they thought it might be of value to the recipient. If they were wrong that was a risk they took because an individual cannot be made to value something.

I can see the point in teaching a child that an object which he/she does not value directly may be liquidated by trading it for something that they do value. The only problem there is the possibility that the effort required to initiate a trade may exceed the expected profit. Which is almost always the case with old toys.

So I've tried pointing out to my children that if they toss their toys on the floor they are treating them like garbage and must therefore value them equivalently. They agree with me! They just don't see the point in expending the effort required to throw everything out. In other words, they don't value a clean floor enough to justify the labour required to produce one.

1 - I should make a footnote here to address the issue of caring for the property of others. Such discussion enters into the category of respecting the rights of others. In other words: why take care of something that you borrowed. This is a different discussion entirely and all I will say is "you cannot expect others to respect your rights if you do not respect there's." The issue at hand is: why ought you treat something with respect and care that is YOURS.

Melyssa
08-31-2010, 11:54 PM
I'm pretty strict about keeping a clean room so yes I enforce it. I do have to remind her to do it but she knows it's not up for debate. I don't get much argument but the couple times I have I told her it's either her or me to clean it, and if I do it she may regret it. LOL

schwartzkari
09-01-2010, 12:01 AM
I allow my children to make a complete mess of our entire apartment during the day and then before I start to make dinner, we all clean it up together. The only rooms that I demand stay clean at all times are the kitchen and bathroom. We use all the other rooms in the apartment for homeschooling and just basically living, so I try not to fuss too much. In my mind, when I'm 90 years old and I look back on my life, I don't think I'm going to care if my home was always clean and spotless. I would rather look back and think "wow! I spent a ton of time with my children." :)

In regards to their bedroom, my kids do share a bedroom right now. My daughter keeps her toys in their walk-in closet and I keep my son's toybox out next to his bed. They do a pretty good job at keeping their room clean and cleaning it up at the end of the day. I think it helps though that my daughter is very picky and peculiar about her belongings. My son is the messy one, LOL.

QueenBee
09-01-2010, 12:02 AM
I don't know the ages of your children, but I believe that children are going to value things differently at different ages/stages. It usually takes maturity to truly realize value in anything (no matter how you define value), and it takes longer to understand the value in things that require a measure of boredom or uncomfortable work to achieve (look at how even adults struggle to exercise regularly despite the added value to health and well-being). I think most people don't really get this until after they leave their parents' house and have to find a way to acquire things on their own or keep house on their own, etc. I worry that if I try to get my kids to value a clean room as much as I do and for the reasons I do, I'll be waiting until they are my age. ;)

I do require a neat room (within reason). My girls are still young (the oldest is 10) so I explain to them my philosophy on housekeeping (safety and hygiene and taking pride in where you live, being comfortable, being able to find things quickly and easily, etc.) over and over when we do chores together or ask them to tidy their rooms, but the bottom line for me is that they are part of our family and their rooms are part of our family dwelling so they need to do their part, like it or not. I didn't like it when I was a kid when my mom fed me that line, but I understood it was true. And it didn't do any permanent damage. ;) I won't argue with my girls about it - I just present it as fact. It's part of being in a family. They can keep order however they see fit (store things where they like, etc). They can keep or get rid of what they choose. But they must "keep" their room to the house standard (like I said, I keep it within reason and I don't expect them to keep things the way I do, but it needs to be safe and hygienic). If they can't keep order, I mention that they might want to go through their things and get rid of some stuff. I offer to help - my oldest now only calls me in for opinions and handles this sort of thing on her own.

I have to say... it works. Some of my girls are naturally neater and more orderly than other, but overall room cleanliness isn't a huge issue in our house. Now it may be more of one as they hit the teens years, who knows. However, I sort housekeeping into daily chunks to keep it manageable, and I think it's rubbed off on them so that may help. Right now, If I see things are getting out of hand, I tell the person and say that she needs to look at her room (they know this means it's getting messy). If she doesn't, I'll send her there with more specific instructions (e.g., you have dirty laundry on the floor - it needs to be in the hamper; please take care of it). But I believe that kids generally respond to the expectation that is set. My thinking is that while they are doing housework, you keep telling them why and eventually they get it (similar to explaining to a picky eater why it's important to eat enough fiber, etc.). Or they don't and they're messy their whole lives. lol They may never value a clean floor, and when they're adults and have their own family they can set that as the standard.

Busygoddess
09-01-2010, 12:16 AM
I agree that there's no point in care for something if you don't value it. However, in that case, there is no reason to hold onto it & it should either be thrown out or given to someone who will value & care for it. My children always have that choice. If they do not want something enough to take care of it, they can donate it or throw it away. However, they do not have the option of disrespecting the rest of the family by forcing us to deal with their slovenly ways. Also, most people (at least, most people I know) will not continue to give unnecessary items to a person who continuously mistreats their property. If my children expect us to continue to purchase books, toys, etc. for them, or to allow them to be given gifts by others, they must learn to properly take care of their possessions. If they cannot properly care for their belongings, they do not continue to recieve more.
As to why it is disrespectful to the person who gave it to you, to mistreat something you were given, it's quite simple. If someone gives you something (other than what they are required to provide, by law) it means that they think enough of you to believe that you are worth whatever value they place on it. To destroy it by mistreating it shows them that you don't think enough of them to make sure it is properly cared for. If the item in question is not something that you want, you should either give it back to the person who gave it to you, exchange it at the store it was purchased from, sell it, give it to someone you know would want it, or donate it.

dbmamaz
09-01-2010, 12:32 AM
I think what it comes down to is that YOU dont feel ok about enforcing it. I'm not willing to enforce things which I dont see as important, and I AM willing to enforce things I DO see as important. As i said, for me the main thing is I want to vaccuum up dust and pet hair sometimes, and need to tuck in the younger. Thats worth it to me. If YOU cant come up with a why that rREALLY works for YOU, you wont enforce it. Its a personal choice.

SunshineKris
09-01-2010, 01:16 AM
Oh, the neverending struggle with a clean house...I tell the kids their rooms must be neat. I need to be able to walk in there without hurting my feet on little Legos, be able to drag the vacuum through, be able to get out easily in the middle of the night if there was a fire (yeah, a bit dramatic on that last one but it's still important). There is NEVER any food allowed in their rooms. As a matter of fact, food may only be in the kitchen, the dining room or, on occasion, the living room.

That said, my older son is pretty neat. He's 8, a Lego freak and likes order. He's pretty good with keeping up, but only in his room. My younger son, who's 4, is not so good with it but he's sorta trying. I try to lead the clean up in there weekly. I point to things, tell him where they go and he goes and does. (Though, upon further reflection, I am realizing it's his brother and sister who contribute quite a bit to the mess.) MY daughter, however, is a disaster! When she does clean up, she goes all out and intense. But usually her room is a huge mess. I am hoping it will be better in a couple of weeks when we move into a new house that has actual closets and drawers. That is an issue here. She did, on her own, clean out hte craft bins/drawers last night. Don't know why she did (though I suspect a new Oriental Trading catalog in the mail may have spurred it when I told her she hasn't gotten anything new because her bins are too messy for me to see what she might need or like to have) but I am glad to see the neatness! Of course, she left the pile of trash on the floor for me to find this morning. That's her issue; she starts something but leaves it partway through.

My bigger concern is that the living areas are neat, the parts friends who drop by unannounced will see. My kitchen needs to be clean. And we spend 30 minutes each day attempting to clean up. But half my team is gone right now so I am losing. I am good with the cleaning products, DH is good with the clutter and organization. We compliment each other well that way. Can't wait till he is home again. Then he can help set up the new house. It will be a disaster until he gets back.

Riceball_Mommy
09-01-2010, 08:42 AM
My daughter is only 5 but I try to make sure that when she plays with something she put sit back when she's done. Usually everything will at least be put back before bed. Everything doesn't have to be put back completely spotless and right like when I go through and reorganize everything. She doesn't usually have to put everything away, I'll help her but she does have to make an effort. My daughter is pretty good about the organization though. She has informed my husband or I when we put the ponies back in the wrong drawers or the drawers in the wrong order (we have those plastic organizer drawers).

garett
09-01-2010, 12:23 PM
I agree that there's no point in care for something if you don't value it. However, in that case, there is no reason to hold onto it & it should either be thrown out or given to someone who will value & care for it.

We've gone in a circle :) At this point the children don't value a clean room enough to justify the labour involved to produce one.


As to why it is disrespectful to the person who gave it to you, to mistreat something you were given, it's quite simple. If someone gives you something (other than what they are required to provide, by law) it means that they think enough of you to believe that you are worth whatever value they place on it. To destroy it by mistreating it shows them that you don't think enough of them to make sure it is properly cared for. If the item in question is not something that you want, you should either give it back to the person who gave it to you, exchange it at the store it was purchased from, sell it, give it to someone you know would want it, or donate it.

I completely agree that if you value a person and that person gives you a gift, and you know that you will not care for that gift then you are doing a disservice to the giver. It would be plain deceptive to accept the gift. But certainly there some sort of logical limitation to this. If someone gives you a book and you read it and 2 years later it's taking up unwanted space on your bookshelf certainly there is no harm in throwing it out.

Few things do not depreciate in value. And again, we've come full circle. Children will always have old toys that they themselves admit are as good as garbage. The question is why should they labour to keep their rooms clean of those old toys if they don't value a clean room ?


I think what it comes down to is that YOU dont feel ok about enforcing it. I'm not willing to enforce things which I dont see as important, and I AM willing to enforce things I DO see as important. As i said, for me the main thing is I want to vaccuum up dust and pet hair sometimes, and need to tuck in the younger. Thats worth it to me. If YOU cant come up with a why that rREALLY works for YOU, you wont enforce it. Its a personal choice.

Well, like I said earlier, I'm trying to figure out where I stand on the issue. There are various principles underlying the issue and I'm trying to get to their roots by seeing what conclusions other parents have arrived at.

hockeymom
09-01-2010, 02:37 PM
Our biggest "keeping his room clean" issue is that his favorite games to play-and really the only games he plays by himself--involve many, many many Matchbox cars. Literally dozens or more, all in particular order (sometimes by tire tread, sometimes by fuel efficiency, sometimes by model), racing on invisible highways or lined up in a traffic jam. It's been like this for years. Because he's so obsessed with his cars I have a difficult time asking him to destroy his hard "work" every night, so sometimes I do let it go for a few days. After a certain point though, he has to park his cars so I can vacuum, but the floor never stays clutter free for long. His playroom downstairs is usually kept pretty neat; he needs a certain amount of space to play wii so I guess that's motivation enough! For laundry I put an open top basket in his room and he's never had a problem tossing his clothes in at night. I know some people who put a small basketball hoop over the laundry basket as an incentive to put the clothes in, but for us it's never been an issue.

I take care of the rest of the house for the most part, and toys are rarely played with in the communal areas. I am trying to get him to make his bed in the mornings and that's been going over really well. He prefers to have a clean and tidy space, and really it's just matchbox cars that make the clutter. I don't have a deep philosophical reason for keeping a clean room, just that's it's responsible and looks nicer. So far it hasn't been questioned.

Firefly_Mom
09-01-2010, 06:48 PM
My 15 y/o has two rooms (oh, the advantages of being an only child! LOL) - his "sleeping room" and "the man cave". While I don't mind lego creations covering the floor, his rock collection on the windowsill and whatnot, I DO insist on the rooms being completely cleaned up on a regular basis so that vacuuming and the like can take place. He is in complete charge of the whole shebang. He has packrat tendencies, so occasionally we'll have him pull everything out of one of the rooms and ONLY (this is the important part) put back an item if it has someplace to be put. If it doesn't, he decides whether it's important enough to find a spot for it, or he donates it. He also has daily household and animal chores. Our thought on the whole thing is that he is an adult-in-training, and our job as parents is to ensure that he is completely capable of caring for and cleaning an entire house by the time he leaves home.

Juniper
02-20-2012, 06:36 PM
I just helped clean DS's room. I had asked him to do a thorough cleaning a month ago but it had not changed. The dust had dust, broken things from ages ago, clothes three sizes too small, and plain and simple garbage. If I help clean the room, the Kids know I come with garbage bags. Some of the stuff goes to the thrift store and broken things and clothes with holes or permanent stains are thrown away. If the child isn't moving fast enough or starts to stray in attention then more stuff gets put in the bags. This level of cleaning happens when I am embarrassed to have friends with kids over because they might go in the kids room to retrieve shoes or something their kid has misplaced.

Avalon
02-20-2012, 11:55 PM
My son never uses his bedroom, except for sleeping, so it's never messy. Books on the shelf, laundry in the basket, there's almost nothing else in it. His legos are in the front room where there's plenty of space, and the "messy" boisterous playing happens in the basement.

My daughter, on the other hand, oh my! She loves to spend time in her room decorating, making crafts, doing projects, changing clothes, doing her nails, etc, and it can get pretty bad in there. I generally insist that the floor is clear enough to vacuum once a week, so Saturday is the day for cleaning and organizing. I have helped her re-organize and sort and purge so many times that she knows how to do it well now. I always say that if they don't want to put something away, just put it in the Goodwill box (I keep one in my room). If they pull out an article of clothing that doesn't fit, put it straight into the Goodwill box. As long as we keep on top of the "old" stuff, and don't accumulate more than they're parting with, then the mess stays manageable.

About once a year, I help dd do a massive overhaul of her closet, shelves, under-the-bed storage, drawers, everything. The hardest part about cleaning up is just having too many things to put away. I've demonstrated to them that if all you own is 5 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 3 books and two stuffed toys, you can clean up inside of one minute. The more you own, the longer it takes.

Airen
02-21-2012, 12:53 AM
I just make it part of our routine. In the morning we eat, make our beds, get dressed and brush our teeth. At night ds tidies his room while I do the dishes. It helps im cleaning too, I think. He's only seven, so the bed and room aren't up to my standards, but its his best. That's good enough for me. Twice a year I go in with a donation and garbage bag. Usually when im putting away off season clothes and trying to make room for accumulated junk. Weve had this routine since he was little so its not a big deal now. Im a slob... I hate it and am always trying to train myself to do better. I want ds to at least have basic habits so its easier for him later...

Isabel
02-21-2012, 01:52 AM
We do a big cleanout of all the kids' rooms four times per year, when the seasons change. As well as deep cleaning the rooms, we cull their clothes and toys to get rid of what they don't need/use/like. We ask them to do a little bit of cleaning up each day, but this really only works for the 8yo; the younger ones tend to get distracted and end up playing instead.

Tbh, although I'm not practicing this consistently, I think the best way to help kids keep their rooms tidy is to model the desired habits everywhere else - ie, putting stuff away after working/playing with it, putting clean and dirty clothes in the correct places straight away, etc.

zcat
02-21-2012, 12:57 PM
About once a month I help dd with a room cleaning. She has to clean up any spills or dog messes in her space as they occur. I do not allow her to throw clean or dirty clothing on the floor. She isn't supposed to have any food in her room. I do tell her that if she leaves her things thrown on the floor that they might get broken or she will not have room to move around or play in there but I don't enforce a clean floor. She can't pile stuff so it blocks the windows, heat register or door.

I don't feel it is necessary for private bedrooms to be as tidy as shared spaces like the living room. If dd doesn't want a pristine room that is fine. My bedroom isn't spotless either. That is why we have doors IMO.

Juniper
02-21-2012, 01:23 PM
I had this posted on another forum but that one seems to have died. I am a general slob and understand DS and having a hard time pairing down. I do find when things start to pile up it is hard to exsist happily. I am working hard to get down to just the nesscesities.



http://mobile.mothering.com/green-living/five-ways-frugal-living-benefits-kids

Just read this on frugal living. DH and I are pairing down on stuff. It is hard because we came from the more stuff the better generation. It is also hard because my mother is all about stuff and more stuff. She lives alone in a housefull of stuff from generations of stuff. "I have to keep this because great aunt Gabby had it." she will admit never having met this person.

My DS has an issue with getting rid of things because "they hold a special memory".

We are hoping to change careers and live anywhere but the USA. I am frugal about everything except quality food. Cody, wy is expensive for organics.

In the last two years, we have only streamed tv. This was the start of a changing perspective on life and what is needed verses what we want. And, what we want now is a whole new life with a nomadic exsitance of change every two years.

ginnyjf
02-21-2012, 05:55 PM
I would have to say I'm in agreement with the majority. Zack understands that we share the house and work together to keep common areas clean; that includes living room, dining room, kitchen, entry, corridors and both bathrooms. We also trade off cooking and washing dishes. Zack's room is *his* personal space because everyone needs a place to retreat occasionally. I wouldn't appreciate having someone burst into my room, yelling at me about socks on the floor and books laying around so I don't do it to my son. He knows the basic rules for his room (all dishes come down in the evening and *he* washes them, all clothing goes in the laundry chute and not on the floor, and all his books/magazines get tossed back into the bins before bedtime). I don't care if his bed is unmade, if he has dozens of stuffed animals everywhere, if he leaves projects sitting around, etc. When he has friends over, I don't stress over the condition of his room. His room, his friends. No one has ever expressed horror; instead we usually hear "Dude, cool room." I just don't see that fighting him on every little thing that bugs me accomplishes anything at all.

Greenmother
02-21-2012, 07:55 PM
I have to stand over them and supervise, otherwise it will not get done to my specifications. And I know that last word makes me sound really anal and stuff, but really, it's not that bad. My kids are just slobs!

Greenmother
02-21-2012, 07:58 PM
I had this posted on another forum but that one seems to have died. I am a general slob and understand DS and having a hard time pairing down. I do find when things start to pile up it is hard to exsist happily. I am working hard to get down to just the nesscesities.



http://mobile.mothering.com/green-living/five-ways-frugal-living-benefits-kids

Just read this on frugal living. DH and I are pairing down on stuff. It is hard because we came from the more stuff the better generation. It is also hard because my mother is all about stuff and more stuff. She lives alone in a housefull of stuff from generations of stuff. "I have to keep this because great aunt Gabby had it." she will admit never having met this person.

My DS has an issue with getting rid of things because "they hold a special memory".

We are hoping to change careers and live anywhere but the USA. I am frugal about everything except quality food. Cody, wy is expensive for organics.

In the last two years, we have only streamed tv. This was the start of a changing perspective on life and what is needed verses what we want. And, what we want now is a whole new life with a nomadic exsitance of change every two years.

I hear what you are screaming Juniper!

It can be hard. But it is necessary. The kids get used to it after a while. We make three containers: One for toys that go to the thrift store, one for broken toys and one for straight up garbage.

When I explained to my kids that they needed to make room for new things and that their old gently used toys went to kids whose parents couldn't afford to buy new stuff, it seemed to make it a bit easier.
Broken toys are inspected, to see if they can be made whole or need to be recycled or thrown away.

Same thing with clothes and shoes.

lakshmi
02-21-2012, 10:18 PM
This old thread freaked me out.

I was reading along until I found..."my wife" and looked and it was shoe!!! I knew something was amiss and it was. The dates were all old.....

I've taken photos of my children's stuff. Also, I have them do a process of elimination. I set up three things and they can decide which to keep and which to get rid of. And I do this for a long time until I get the amount that we can tolerate.

I clean their room.

I know... so radically unschooly of me.

But when they do it, it sucks. It is age appropriate but it sucks. So I tease them with the niceness of a clean room hoping that they get used to it and do it themselves.

They were better when they were little because I sat there and did it with them. They have too much stuff in too small a space, and it is sometimes hard even for me to do it.

But then I deep clean every 10 weeks or so. So then I go through and get rid of broken stuff. But it is the pieces of paper that get me. My daughters have drawings and notes and cards and cut outs... ican't get rid of them...

Shaunam
02-22-2012, 11:58 AM
I don't keep too close of tabs on it, but if I notice it's getting a little out of hand, I tell him it needs to be cleaned and usually help him a bit. I don't want to be a nag, but I do want him to grow up appreciating a clean, clutter-free living space. His dad is a full-blown hoarder, so I'm afraid he'll pick up some of those behaviors (he already likes to "collect" stuff so I've nipped that in the bud, only allowing him to have one collection at a time). On the other hand, he's already noticed that living in my house is less stressful than being at his dad's. I just don't think he realizes HOW clutter escalates to that.