Don’t tell your kids: “Clean your room.”
It won’t get done and you will just get upset and frustrated.
Their executive functioning skills are not fully developed and they need specific clear instructions.
“Clean your room” is vague. It doesn’t mean much to kids.
Instead, tell them: “The blocks go in bin marked ‘blocks’, the trains go in the train bin, and the dolls go with the other dolls in their box.”
Help them set up a system where each type of toy is in its own box, bin, or on its own shelf.
Make sure you declutter anything not in use anymore.
Give each item you keep a real home to live in. If your kids don’t understand where it goes, it will always be out.
Label each box bin or shelf clearly. For small kids use pictures and words.
Depending on their age you will probably need to help them for a while until they learn the system.
Keep the system clear and easy to use.
This will also work for putting away their own laundry.
Doing things for your kids won’t teach them how to be independent but not giving enough instruction will just result in frustration for you and then.
Sometimes it seems like kids should already know how to do this.
It seems so easy to put the toy in the proper bin.
But cleaning your room is not the same as putting the toys in the bin they belong in.
For kids from 2-5 you will likely need to sit with them and guide them through each part of cleaning up.
Give them simple instructions. When they finish one task, move them to the next one, and work together.
Kids 6-10 can take a few directions at a time, blocks, trains, then dolls. If there is still more to clean up add it after the first part is already clean.
Ages 10+ explain to them they need to put the toys in the correct bins, pick up the garbage, and put the bins away.
Again, until they get the hang of their system they may have trouble, so help them out, help them develop their executive functioning skills!
What does your kids’ play space look like? Send a picture or show me in the comments.
Need a little bit of extra help? My one-day course, Done In A Day Declutter, is where I help you get one room in your home organized and clutter-free, while providing the tools you need to keep it that way!