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Clean Room, No Tantrum

Parents in Northern Piedmont preparing for their children to be home on summer break face the age old problem: how to encourage their kids to keep their rooms clean without it turning into World War III.

Summer is the perfect time to instill great cleaning habits in kids and the entire family. Merry Maids of Prince William, Culpeper and Fauquier Counties has prepared the following ideas on how to motivate children and parents to keep a cleaner home.

Make A Contest of It: Chances are, your room could use some cleaning, too. If not, there’s probably another space in your home that you’ve been meaning to conquer. Assign everyone in the family a room or a space to clean and set a time limit. Then, ask a neutral party to judge. Take before and after pictures and send them to the judge if no one neutral is around. You may even consider raising the stakes by posting the pictures to Facebook and letting all your friends decide. The prize can be an outing of the winner’s choice, but something that will be enjoyable for everyone who worked so hard.

Detail What Needs To Be Done: This is especially helpful for younger children, but it’s true for older kids, too. Instead of just saying “clean your room,” give them a clearly defined list of what to do: make your bed, put dirty clothes in the hamper, place books on the shelves and toys in the bins, etc. If your child is unable to read, draw a picture of each task and allow him or her to cross it off or erase the picture upon completion.

Let Them Control Their Space: You probably don’t love the idea of handing over complete artistic control of their rooms to your children (finger paint on the walls, anyone?) but you could let them decide the types and styles of bins they use to store their things. They are far more likely to get excited about stashing their toys in a Monsters University bin they picked out themselves.

Pick Your Own Clean-up Song: A clean-up song is a great idea. Pick one or a few kid-friendly, upbeat songs that neither you nor your child will tire of quickly and designate that your Clean-Up playlist. The music will make cleaning up more fun and eventually when your child hears it, he or she will automatically know it’s time to tidy.

Take It Easy: Cleaning up is necessary, and encouraging your children to do it teaches them many skills that will help them throughout their lives. But it doesn’t have to be a chore. The more relaxed and positive you are about cleaning up, the more your attitude will rub off. They won’t always be jumping for joy when cleaning time rolls around, but it won’t be a battle either.

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