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Maintaining clean room for pre-teen is not always easy. Early in the morning when I wake up and visit children's room, it is very rare that I don't need to tell them to clean their room. My order to clean their room is like a morning routine in our house. It is not only in the morning that the cleaning alarm turns on. It is like only myself that has the demand and urgency of a clean room.
Many parents struggle to motivate pre-teen to clean their rooms. You are not alone. You might think that kids don't need a clean room, but in many cases, they want a clean room as much as the parents do. My kids will be very happy to stay in their room as soon as it is cleaned already. They’re just not willing to put the time and effort into doing the work. At this age, many kids are also a little defiant because they want their rooms to be the one place in the home that is completely theirs. As a result, they often neglect cleaning it just because you want them to do it. Don’t turn it into a battle of wills because no one will win.
How to Motivate Pre-Teen to Clean Their Room
To help with the struggle, here are three ways to motivate pre-teen to clean their room:
- Acknowledge that it’s their room – Most kids this age are protective over their belongings. By acknowledging this is their room and explaining that they are the one that has to live in the mess, not you, they realize they are only hurting themselves. This often motivates them to clean. Encourage them to take pride in their own space so they want to clean it. They need to be responsible to their belongings
- Hold them accountable – When your pre-teen’s room gets out of control, hold them accountable by taking away some of their privileges. For example, take away their computer time or cell phone, don’t allow them to hang out with friends or whatever punishment works for your child until their room is clean.
- Make it easy to clean – Just like with smaller kids, if you make it easy for your pre-teen to put things away, they will be more likely to do so. Put up shelves, use bins and baskets and install a closet organizer to make it easy to clean. Get it organized and then your pre-teen can help keep it that way.
Don’t expect everything to be perfect or for your child’s room to stay spotless all the time. As long as the floor is clean and no food or trash is lying around, compliment them for their efforts. It will encourage them to continue improving. Remember to always set a good example for your kids. If your room is messy with clothes thrown on the floor or your dressers are piled high, they won’t be very motivated to clean their room.
Rules to Maintain Clean Room
Cleaning room is like taking a shower. I mean, you cannot do it just one time and expect it will never happen anymore. If you live in a tropical country like us, you need to take shower three times in a day. We live in a place where dust comes up all of the time. However, if we have good habits to maintain the room clean, we will have easier or lesser time to clean the room in general.
You need to discuss together with kids what habits they need to keep to maintain their room. In this way, the cleaning time will be easier. Here are some rules to maintain clean room:
- Return everything back after use – whenever kids read books or use something in the room, they need to put them back on the right place. It will prevent them to scatter things around.
- Never eat in the room – this is an ultimate rule for us as well. There is not any excuse for eating in the room, except when kids are sick. There should not be any food crumbs on the bed or floor so ants won't come.
- Put the rubbish into the rubbish bin – no tissue, loss hair, or nail around. Once they make rubbish, they need to collect and put them into the bin immediately.
- Limit the number of hanging clothes – too many used clothes hung on the cloth hooks is an unpleasant scenery. Make an agreement or a policy with kids about the number of clothes on the hooks.
- Put the clothes from laundry to the closet immediately – my kids are very reluctant to put clean clothes from the laundry back to the closet. When they are little, they might still need help, but pre-teen is the age to start being independent.
Make Kids Follow The Rules
You can write either write or state the rules with kids to get them remember. Well, it is not a memorization, but we need to plant the rules as habits for kids.
- Talk to them about the importance – I know that it is a magic if kids can remember and follow the rules all of the time. Therefore, we need to remind them until the habits come up.
- Write the rules to read – Some kids are very visual and need to see or to read to get engaged better. Writing the rules on paper and let them read often will give the time to absorb.
- Give examples – Examples from parents are the best way to plant habits to kids. It is more than written or mentioned rules in real life.
How do you motivate pre-teen clean room? Do you have any rules to maintain clean room as well?
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Adelien Tan is a mother of three awesome boys and a wife of a great husband. They are a home education family who live in Surabaya, Indonesia, where home education is still very rare. English is her foreign language, but She tries to use it in blogging.