Excuse Busters: Tips for Getting Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms

By JustMommies staff

If you have kids you know how difficult it is to get them to clean their rooms. Kids have all kinds of strategies for getting out of cleaning. Cleaning is not something most adults enjoy so why should children feel differently? We won’t lie to you and tell you that we have some magical tips to make your kids like cleaning, but we will give you some ideas on handling the excuses, whining and tantrums that go along with getting your kids to clean their rooms. When it comes to excuses, we’ve heard them all and we have tips to deal with them.

‘Why, Whines, and What’s in for me'

The quickest way to deal with the “why do I have to clean my room” question is to ask them what they think. “Suzie, why do you think that you need to clean your room?” That usually solves the problem. Let your kids figure this one out for themselves. Most of the time kids know why they need to clean their room and turning the tables on this question is a good approach to stopping the "whys" in their tracks.

If your kids are whining, that is to be expected. One thing you can do is ask your kids to repeat what they say without whining. And when they say “I don’t want to clean my room” without whining say “thank you for not whining but we still need to get your room clean”.

It’s okay for your kids to want something in return for cleaning. A reward system is a great way to get them to clean. Sticker charts are great but immediate rewards are better. Some really cheap and easy rewards are playing outside, reading a book together, or make cookies after you clean.

The Tom Sawyer Approach: “Can you help me mom?”

A lot of kids want help cleaning their rooms. This is okay but make sure your kids understand that helping doesn’t mean doing it for them. A great approach to cleaning when you have more than one kid is to tag team clean each room. Most kids need someone supervising, at least when they are little. Go through each room together and give kids simple assignments such as put the toys in the toy box, put the books away, or put your clothes in your dresser. Working together is quick and easy. You can get several kids room clean really fast if you work together.

Stall tactics, Slow pokes, and Sneak-offers

One of the biggest things we moms see is starting off with a bang and fizzling out in two minutes flat. If your child needs to make constant trips to the bathroom, likes to dawdle, or sneaks out of the room the second you walk away, you might want to try the tag team approach mentioned earlier. Another way to deal with kids like this is to stay in the room and give them step by step directions. Yes, this is a lot of work for mom, but unless you like being your child’s personal maid, it’s better to stick around the room and supervise. Eventually they will need less supervision but it probably won’t be any time soon.

The Three Blind Mice Approach: “I don’t see any messes”

“It’s already clean mom”. Have you heard this one before? More than likely, you have. Kids rely on you to teach them what clean means. They may look at the same disastrous room you are looking at and honestly not see the messes. The more they clean their room and know what to expect the less you will see of the selective blindness. You can solve this by staying in the room and supervising or writing them a checklist. Make sure to follow up and see that each task is done.

Getting Their Rooms Clean and Keeping Them Clean

The key to keeping kids room clean is consistency and routines. If your children make their beds every morning and make it a habit, there will be less fights. Have your children clean their rooms throughout the day and before they go to bed. Its easier if it’s cleaned regularly instead of letting things pile up. Kids get overwhelmed easily so the smaller the tasks they have to do at one time the better.