Helping Kids Learn to Tidy Up

August 11, 2009

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The following is a guest article from Danielle at TidyKidz, a site with resources to help parents teach kids to clean up without nagging! The tools are also helpful in establishing good routines for kids and personal hygiene. (I don’t know about you, but my 11 year old son is stinky and somewhat resistant to the idea that daily bathing is important at his age!)

I’ve been digging around the site for a few days and have printed out some of the helpful charts and intend on showing the videos to my kids.

Now that the school year has begun, it’s even more important to establish quick, easy and fun routines for everyone in the household so that things can be organized and the day flow more smoothly. This article encourages us as parents to set the example (a familiar refrain!) by keeping OUR rooms clean. Enjoy the article and be sure to check out TidyKidz if you need some help!

Tidy Me, Tidy You, Tidy See, Tidy Do

OK, let’s get down to brass tacks here everyone. Some things just never change and this particular issue is no different. You CANNOT expect your little people to keep there rooms picked up if your room looks like a set for the show Clean House (prior to the clean part). You may get lucky a time or two but ultimately our kids do what we do, not what we say. Go ahead, argue with yourself… we’ll wait :-O :-# :-! ;-] :-{)

Great! So glad you are back and hopefully you have reached your senses and understand that “monkey see, monkey do” is more than just a quaint phrase. We have all watched our kids emulate grown-up behavior and it’s no accident that children of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and on – all do it! It’s UNIVERSAL!

They will emulate the good AND the bad no matter how much we try to tell them what to do and how to do it – they are WATCHING! Lift Off
Creative Commons License photo credit: a4gpa

Let’s have a little therapy session, shall we? (Purple is a nice soothing color, right?)

So ask yourself this question, “Am I doing the things I am asking of my kids?

I know, that was not nice was it?!

Depending on your answer, you are feeling somewhere between the June Cleaver type and the Tazmanian Devil. If you are June Cleaver you may be thinking all is well with the world.

I’m not really concerned about offending any Junes out there because Junes are doing all the work themselves and probably aren’t reading this blog anyway. As for the Taz’s, you know who you are (admit it) and chances are you already feel bad enough about the state of your stuff, so let me approach this from somewhere around the “Malcolm in the Middle” area.

You GOTTA do it! Here are a few tips to get you started.

* Start with making your bed, it’s big and just that alone makes a noticeable difference.

* Then pick up everything off of the floor and pile it on your bed. Set your timer for 7 minutes and don’t stop moving until it’s all put away, PROPERLY! Yes you do only have 7 minutes so MOVE IT. Don’t turn of the timer until you’re done.

Hostel Bunks 1 - before.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: Squirk

* Next comes the dresser – what in the world is all that stuff doing up there? Get a trash bag – half of it can be thrown away anyway. If you are a pocket paper collector, get a colorful jar and use it to store your 80 million tiny pieces of paper that pile up on the dresser once you’ve purged your pockets - go through it once a month and purge old receipts, notes to self, etc.

* One way to keep the bedroom from going bonkers is to Not Not Not bring anything in that is not bedroomy. There is no reason for your gardening shoes to be in your closet or for the weeks mail to be on top of the 80 million little pieces of paper on your dresser. If it doesn’t come in… it won’t have to be taken out. Make it a rule, then follow it!

Make a chart, or get in touch with your inner child and use one of ours (major points with the kids). Use it to make sure you pay at least 5 minutes of attention to your room everyday. I can say from experience, 5 minutes a day is all you really need to keep your room from becoming the very thing your sweet little person uses against you when you ask them to clean theirs!

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