You tell them,”clean your room”, only to hear “but why”? You have a few choices. If they are young, rotate their toys in and out. This accomplishes two things. One, the room stays tidy. Two, they will never be bored as a result of the same old toys. Give them ample storage if rotating isn’t an option.
If they are past that toddler stage and now in school, this takes a bit more finesse. If you throw out toys and objects for them while they are at school, although you may feel you are helping him or her to part with the unnecessary objects, this most definitely will cause resentment. If you encourage them to get rid of things on their own, they need a good reason why, and timing is everything.
I’ll give you an example from my own experience. My son always held onto the most unusual and sometimes hand made items not to mention tons of toys he accumulated over the years. He reached 10 years old and despite previous attempts to get his room in order, from encouraging him to breaking down and doing it for him, nothing had ever stuck.
In order to see the magnitude of the need to get his room orderly, you must know he shares his room with his older teenage brother. Many an argument had aroused over the mess you can be sure, especially when the older one took it upon himself to help clean up the younger ones mess.
One day it occurred to him in “his mind”, that “he” needed more room. He began bringing one toy, then two, finally our entire living room was littered with toys he felt he could live without. No arguments, no crying or fits. Mom didn’t end up chest high organizing. What we saw was a smiling happy boy cleaning out his room. Needless to say we ended up having a yard sale.
Proof that this was truly a change he was happy with and was sticking to, an amazing thing happened. I bought him a t-shirt,thinking he would like it. I gave it to him only to see him smile and say,”I don’t need too many clothes, Mom, I need room”.
Simply put, sometimes you just have to let your kids live with their choices. Keep giving positive nudges and its not unreasonable I don’t think to require them to “clean their rooms”, but don’t expect it to be perfect. Until it clicks in their minds as to why they want it, it never will be.
Same goes for teenagers. If they have to share a room with a younger sibling, be sure to provide a cabinet they can lock and keep organized, but most importantly to keep little fingers off of their “stuff”. This will work from preteens and up like a charm, making half the battle won instantly. This has worked in our house. To this very day my oldest son keeps his “stuff” locked away in a 2 door locking cabinet. We purchased this for him when his brother was a toddler to keep him out of his “stuff”. It was one of the best things we ever did.
I hope some of these ideas provide useful as you dream of tidiness in your kids rooms. Never lose hope. I also wish all you parents and caregivers, the patience, consistency and love needed to one day rejoice as much as I do, now that my son finally got the”why”.