Well … Messy kids rooms may be a reality in most families’ homes, but is it really a necessary part of your child’s development?
After reading the article Preteens & Messy Bedrooms and all the comments from parents and their children, I could see that the issue of messy bedrooms is a hot topic for more people than just myself.
Parents want their kid’s rooms clean and kids want their parents to relax.
My gut says they’re both right, there just isn’t a plan in place to make it work for either of them.
From my experience, without a system, the kids get ‘in over their heads’, and the mess becomes an ‘insurmountable task’.
And I have yet to meet a kid that likes to face an ‘insurmountable task’! So they don’t.
Parents nag…. kids hate that.
Kids want to do it their own way…. parents hate that.
Result… messy room!
So what to do?
Talk to your kids. Ask them how they would like to set up their rooms so that both of you are happy.
Do they want to hang their clothes, or put them in drawers or baskets? Do they want things to be hidden out of view or to be displayed so they can see it?
Give your kids tools to make the job easier. If they can’t figure out where to put it, they will put it on the floor!
Kids need tons of storage. Book shelves, dressers, rolling bins with drawers, display shelves, under the bed storage, etc. If it is a tiny room, you need to plan storage for every square inch.
Pick your battles. It is OK to have a few hard fast rules like, "All food and dishes must be removed from room everyday." (Tell them it could cause a rat or insect problem, most children would prefer not to have rodent problems in their room!)
But be more relaxed about making their bed nicely or leaving out a few things. Certainly do not invade their privacy or throw away things without their permission. Everyone deserves some respect, especially kids.
Do a little every day. If you remind your child each night to throw their clothes in the hamper, and put the books back on the shelf, then the room won’t get so terribly out of hand.
Praise them. Every time they tidy their room on their own accord, tell how nice it feels to enter their clean room. Really ‘play it up’ how more relaxed you feel when you enter your own clean room and how good they must feel to be in theirs.
Your child needs to get some direct benefit from cleaning their room other than just doing it because you said so. Otherwise why would they do it?
Think about it, would you feel motivated to clean your house just because your spouse told you to? I think not!
And as far as a messy room being part of your child’s development, well I don’t know.
I think that your child learning the skills of organization, responsibility and the desire for comfortable surroundings is a bigger part of their development than just letting them have a messy room.
But that just my opinion!