Nobody likes cleaning a messy bedroom, but when a child balks at this chore, it may be more than simple dislike. From her perspective, the disorganized room looks like impenetrable chaos — her mind is simply overwhelmed. How can a parent help without just doing the chore for her?
The ability to look at a complex task and break it into logical, manageable chunks is a valuable life skill. Your child wants to learn, and the experience can be a positive one if she has your support. Draw her attention to one task at a time, and help her focus on it until it’s done. Give this a try.
- Go into your child’s room with her.
- Give her a hug and say that you’re going to teach her an easier way to clean.
- If you have storage bins for each type of toy, set them in the middle of the room.
- Tell her to throw all the stuffed animals in one bin. Some children really enjoy the idea of literally tossing the toys into their designated box, which makes the chore more like a game.
- Direct her to place (or throw!) her dirty clothes into the hamper.
- Continue pointing out one mini-job at a time until all the clutter is organized.
- Finally, direct her toward any remaining tasks, such as making her bed or vacuuming.
The next few times your child cleans her room she will probably still need your assistance, but she may feel ready to select her own tasks. You will be there to offer encouragement and to help her get unstuck, should she begin to feel overwhelmed. With your guidance, she can learn to handle organizational challenges with more confidence and less stress.