Sometimes I help my 7-year-old daughter clean her room. And sometimes I even wait until she’s at school and clean the whole thing myself! I know that right now some moms reading this are thinking, “Oh my gosh, she’s CRAZY. Who doesn’t make kids clean their rooms?” And maybe I am but I really don’t think that cleaning my kids’ rooms for them now and then is as crazy as it sounds.
Putting aside the question of whether children should actually have to keep their rooms clean and the hundreds of tips out there designed to help parents get kids buy a ticket for the tidying up train, I actually think that occasionally tidying up my kids’ rooms for them now and then benefits the whole household in a few ways. Ditto for helping them clean their rooms. For instance:
- You do what you need to do to maintain your sanity. Having to look at a cluttered room drives me crazy. I guess I could keep the doors to my kids’ rooms closed 24/7 but they’re not on board with that plan. And we live in a very small house so closing their doors makes the house feel even smaller. Helping them keep their rooms neat helps me stay sane.
- It makes it easier and more enjoyable for me to play with my kids. Honestly, as much as I love getting down on the floor with my kids I hate going into their rooms when there are tiny toys scattered all over the floors and bigger stuff taking up most of the floor space. I don’t want to sit on doll house furniture or step on LEGO because ouch. And like I said above, looking at the clutter stresses me out. Giving their rooms a once over once in a while makes it easier to spend time with my kids.
- I want to teach them to appreciate the niceness of a tidy room. In a clean room you’re not stepping on (and breaking) your stuff. And oh my lord, I have broken so many tiny toys with my feet. In an organized room you’re not going to lose your toys. You can actually find what you want to play with! How can they appreciate that unless they’ve experienced it?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s easier to learn about the joy of a tidy room when you don’t have to spend two hours cleaning it. I know that my daughter likes it when her room is tidy – she’s always grateful for help straightening it up – but like many kids, hates cleaning her room when I push her to do it. My son is younger and is still happy to clean his room, but again only when its his idea.
So my hope is that if they both learn to enjoy a tidy room now they’ll be more likely to be tidy adults (just like their mama). And if that means helping them see how nice a clean, organized room can be before forcing them to tackle the whole job themselves, so be it. It’s worth it!