Community Q&A – How do you get kids cleaning a shared room without fights?
I want your tips and suggestions! I get some questions that are bettered answered by the collective wisdom of the Creative with Kids community rather than just myself. Community Q&A gives you a chance to share what you know.
Kids Share Room – They Fight About Cleaning
I am wondering if you have any creative ideas for helping my kids clean their shared bedroom?
Currently my 8 and 6 year olds share a room and of course the responsibility for cleaning it up. Unfortunately cleaning the room and keeping it clean causes a lot of strife. They frequently argue over who is not helping, who got what out, and who does more cleaning. My 8 year old is better at getting it done but often protests loudly that the 6 year old is not helping or worse just playing (and of course every one knows you can’t protest and clean at the same time:).
What can I do to help them? I will admit that I am not good about sitting in the room with them and walking them through it at this point. I have 3 kids and one on the way, I need them to be able to complete this task fairly independently. I always appreciate the creative solutions you post on your blog !
Do your kids share a room? What are your tips for getting kids cleaning together in a shared bedroom?? Scroll down to see other people’s answers; click “add one” to add your own.
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Yes, yes, yes! It is important to clean daily especially when you have a child. This is a way to not pile up on cleaning during the weekends. Love your blog!
I love the practical simplicity of your ideas. Thank you so much for this information.
Great read, and very useful too! I’m trying to make the kids clean along with me, so I think the tips here will definitely help!
None of the Mums on this website seem to have a son like mine. I have a 4yr old girl and a 2 (almost 3) yr old boy and the boy often trashes the tiny bedroom he shares. I mean he throws his bedding on the floor and the mattress is tipped up and the box of toys is emptied onto the floor and books swept off the bookcase. My daughter is very good at tidying when asked, but my son, even when threatened with a time-out/no treats will just laugh and blow a raspberry or just ignore me. When he was younger he was better at tidying than his sister but now, if asked to put his toys away after a day of playing, will just say he has run out of puff and leave his sister/me to do all the tidying.
They make their beds. Then I toss everything from the floor onto their beds (I try to keep it fair) and I separate their clothes onto their beds too. This makes the room look clean already and less overwhelming. Then all they have to do is clear off their beds. Sometimes they can work at the same time, other times they need space and work separately. ..throw on some fun music and dance party until it’s done. My girls are 4 & 7. My 2 year old helps too. Good luck !
Two strategies work in our house
1. They make their bed then I toss everything from the floor onto their beds…I try to keep it even and I also separate their clothing. This makes the toom look cleaner already and less overwhelming. All they have to do is clean off their bed. It seems like less work for them. Somedays they dance party and do it together. Other days they need space and do it separately. They’re 4 &7 year old girls.
2. If they want to bring toys out of their room they can only bring what fits in a pillow case….then they return it all to the pillowcase and put it away in their room. Keeps toys more contained !
I have two boys ages 5 and 9 and they share a room where everything they own is kept (we have a really small house for 6 people.) We were having the same problem, but I’ve been trying some different ways to get the room cleaned fairly. Right now I am switching off using two different methods. The first method is where I set a timer where they each get 5-10 minutes (it depends on how dirty it is) to clean the room, but they don’t get to do it together. I check the progress in between turns to see whether one child is doing all of the cleaning. They both have to clean in order to complete their chores and get the fun of playing video games or going to a friend’s house. If one of them doesn’t help, they didn’t finish their chores and they don’t get the benefits and the one who did the cleaning gets the reward. The other method is to assign days throughout the week that the room has to be cleaned on and divide the days between the two of them. Right now, I expect the room to be cleaned 3 times a week and one of those days has to be Saturday. They are normally assigned one day during the week each and Saturday remains a joint endeavor as described above, but it happens on my time frame so that I can oversee it. I have 2 younger children and a husband in school so sometimes during the week that isn’t possible and that’s why I have the second method.
Thanks Jeni – I really think that turning on a timer and having just one of my kids in the room at a time might really help. I could see asking the other kid to come help me out in the kitchen or something during the time they’re not cleaning their room.
My 8 year old has this idea he wants me to share –
“Tell somebody you want them to clean up something and how many points it earns.
If they don’t clean it they lose five points.
While they’re cleaning you clean too. You can add other rules to the game if you want.”
I’m pretty sure he’ll like this…not sure his little brother will be “game” for it….but I guess we’ll give it a try. The boys are usually more receptive to ideas they come up with 🙂
Our kids share a room, but we keep all toys in the playroom. The only toys in their room fit into their Easter Baskets which sit on their nightstands. 🙂 There is a bookshelf full of books. Cleaning a shared room is not an issue in our case- and it also has helped in another way. A friend of mine has a single child and was complaining that her son stays up to play and won’t go to sleep because of access to his toys. It never occurred to me that it would have been a problem for us if we ever did keep toys in a bedroom. We’ve ALWAYS kept a playroom (pretty much how we grew up) and it has worked very well for us.
These are great answers so far!! Sometimes I will set the timer and they have to beat the timer, sometimes I send them to two different areas to clean up as well; one goes to the bedroom and the other goes to the playroom aka: living room, and sometimes I do both. One time we went on a special mission and we had to “rescue” the toys from the evil sinister s, the Vacuum & trashcan, and put them back in their homes so they will be safe. Sometimes It will just be a chore to get them to do it. But if they know they will be rewarded; favorite dessert or picking out dinner, they will work. Good Luck!
my kids (ages 6, 3, and 1) all share a small bedroom – we don’t have toys in the room- just beds, books, and clothes (and a few small personal items). cleaning it is easy. I have one child take the playroom while the other one cleans the bedroom – (the 1 year old is not helping yet…haha). my kids clean the whole house every day (pick it up) – if they start to argue, I just have them work in different areas. It’s not a happy time, it’s not a sad time – it’s just what we do. we do sing sometimes or race- just for fun…but it’s kind of like part of the routine, like brushing teeth or a bath – you just do it. that’s all I’ve got! 🙂
My mom used to give my sister and me a laundry hamper each, and we’d have to go around the house or our room, picking up shoes, clothes, books and toys until the rooms were clear. Then, we had to put the things away. You could have a prize for the child who puts things away the fastest, not necessarily a toy or treat, but maybe he gets to pick the cartoon or light the dinner candles or choose dinner.
Hiya 2 suggestions
How about …. . Make it a game/competition . Download the music from Mary Poppins .. is it Spit Spot ?? or something, they tidy the room to this , obviously she uses magic !! You may not have that power !. Or download the Countdown Programme Music Channel 4 English TV (It sound like a clock ) play the music via ipod whatever as they tidy , the aim of the game is to get the tidying up done within the music length .
Or For the first time of the cleaning up exercise , Dress up in Combats , camouflage , download the music from the A Team , and play as tiding . Refer to the activity as Bootcamp, sound like a drill instructor , if they fail to fold clothes they have to do 10 press ups or something !!
The idea is the cleaning up activity is then a fun game, rather than a chore
We started off by totally cleaning out both the bedroom and the playroom. We are now doing a trade out toy system so there isn’t too much stuff in either room at a time. The boys have their favorites. Cars, blocks and stuff like that and everything has a very specific area. It helps the room not get too out of control. I have an 8 year old and a 4 year old. Both boys. I can usually hear my 4 year old telling my 8 year old, “You clean, I’m going to play with this and I’ll watch you.” My 8 year old is usually very patient with him and tries to get him involved. Most often I end up having to come and have to try to get my 4 year old into helping. He gets 3 warnings, the consequence to not helping and being part of a team is that he has to clean the entire room by himself. It can be a bit of a battle at first, but he isn’t a big fan of having to clean up without his big brother so he is learning that it pays to be part of the team instead of solo.