Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

Get the support and information you need for your behavior, development and health related questions.

For more information:
Health and Parenting Health Center
Raising fit Kids

How do you get your child to clean his room?
avatar
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
Is your child's bedroom a health hazard with stinky socks and bread crumbs lurking in the corner? Or is it simply a disorganized mess? Do you ever wonder how you let it get so out of control?

While I've never seen a child who got sick from a messy bedroom, it is important to distinguish between a clean, but disorganized mess and an unsanitary cesspool of moldy leftovers and damp clothes. Either way, if you aren't comfortable with the state of your child's room, act now.

Simply ordering your child to clean her room likely won't work and may even backfire. Try these tips to help tidy up your child's room.
Decide what clean means to you and your child. Be clear about your expectations and start early with rules. Does he need to make his bed every morning or just put his toys in the toy box and books on the shelf?

With older children and teens, you may need to compromise. Try to prioritize what is most important to you, such as no food in the bedroom and dirty clothes in the hamper. Can the clean clothes she chose not to wear today, stay on the chair until they are worn tomorrow? Well, that's up to you and your family rules. Your teen's method of cleaning up her room may not be exactly the same as yours, but praise her for her efforts. If the clothes are piled on shelves instead of neatly folded, at least they are in the closet.

For younger children, make it fun. Repetition reinforces the rules, but creativity is key. Play a clean-up game. He can pick up all the red toys while you pick up the blue. Sing a song or set a timer so your twins can clean for two minutes, then dance or act silly for two minutes and so on. Don't forget to give simple directions and make eye contact.

And, most importantly, lead by example. Show them how you put things away and keep your own room tidy as well.

So, what's your idea of "clean" when it comes to your child's room? Any tricks for getting him to pick up those dirty socks?

- Dr Tanya
Reply
 
avatar
Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
I think each child will respond differently to cleaning. One of my daughters is very clean and the other isn't. I have a special day of the week for cleaning the house and also (as a rule) my children know they can't go out unless their room is clean. Consistency is the most difficult for me. But so far, I have raised 4 children to adulthood and all are very good with cleaning their homes.
 
avatar
jhilton1 responded:
For us, we try to keep it clean, that way it doesnt get out of control. No food or drinks allowed in their rooms, they have their own laundry baskets, and seperate baskets we use for them to put their clothes away. And we also have weekly chores. They have to have their room cleaned at least 3 days out of the week and we also assign them two other chores to help around the house - which rotate every week. If they have accomplished this, they get a ticket at the end of the week, and we have made a chart of rewards that they can turn them in for. Like staying up late, or extra tv time, or turning a chore over to a parent. And it works for us.
 
avatar
anksnat responded:
my kids don't believe in picking up there clothes. they feel "y they are just going to wear them anyway" i try to stress that if they put them away they would be able to find them. My daughter has learned this the hard way but still doesn't seem to care. One time she had a donut in her room under a chair which she forgot about, but since she would never take the time to clean her room , a mouse found it first. We joked and teased her about having a mouse buffet. she did learn her lesson when it came to food. she no longer leaves food laying around.
 
avatar
Barb4545 responded:
My son has always had a terrible time cleaning his room. We'd tell him to clean, and he would get started and then hours later we'd go in and find him sitting among the mess just playing with his toys.

What we finally figured out was he had too much stuff. Even with bins to organize it, he was overwhelmed by all the toys and cards and books, etc.

My husband and I took a weekend and gutted his room. We stored away any toys that he no longer played with but didn't want to give away. And then took a BUNCH of stuff to Salvation Army.

We then re-labeled his bins so it would be easier to know what went where and for the most part his room has stayed clean for the past few months.

Now, our idea of clean and his sometimes clash. LOL. But, his floor is clear of toys and there is room under the bed...nothing stuff under there.

We are all less stressed.

Now if I can just get MY room clean!

Barb
 
avatar
StephK143 responded:

Making a game out of a chore is definitely the way to go! In fact, my boys (three and six years old) inspired me to create an app for Iphone that does exactly this. The app is called "Clean up your Room" and you can find it here: http://www.myatools.com/cleanupyourroom . My kids just freak out over it—they LOVE it!—and I love it because the living room is clean in two minutes, every time.J


Helpful Tips

Help kids learn to swallow pillsExpert
I found this inexpensive but clever cup a few years ago, and it helped my kids learn to swallow pills without a fuss: ... More
Was this Helpful?
16 of 25 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Child Health 411 - Ari Brown, MD

Educated parents are empowered parents! Get clear answers to your parenting questions from Dr. Ari Brown...Read More

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.