Does your kid’s room look like a cyclone passed through it? You’re not alone. 

It’s a battle we all wage with our kids because most of the time, unless they are constantly nagged or given an incentive, they just aren’t motivated to clean their room for themselves.

While it may seem tempting to confiscate mobile phones or favourite toys to get the job done, it’s a solution that won’t last long term.

So we’ve found some tried and tested ways that will encourage your kids to clean up for themselves and develop good habits, without you feeling like you are playing the bad cop all the time.

1. Make it fun

Turning the chore of room cleaning into a fun game often works with younger children. You can simply sit on a chair in a corner with a stopwatch and time them to sort things out by colour or just put away their toys and clothes.

2. Make it a family activity

Have group cleaning days where everyone pitches in to clean the house, and involve the kids in the process by giving them little chores to do. Practice what you preach, and your child will want to do the same. Kids generally learn more by example, than by giving them endless lectures.

 3. Keep it level

Look at the room from your child’s level and you’d be surprised at how different it looks. Set up their rooms in a manner so it is easier for them to keep it clean. You could give them a ‘pet net’ for all their stuffed animals and toys, and keep low shelves and baskets for them to organise their belongings in.

 4. Minimise the clutter

If there are too many toys or clothes on the floor, chances are your child has way too many things to play with, leading to an overwhelming situation. Store away clothes they have outgrown and swap used toys for other ones as your child grows out of them. This will prevent clutter and keep away unnecessary objects to come in underfoot. \

5. Praise and reward

When your children follow through cleaning their room, they should receive verbal praise, a hug and even an occasional small reward. It could be as small as a sticker, and once the child collects a certain amount of stickers, he can cash it for some special privilege or treat.

6. Let your kids personalise their room

Instead of a pre-designated place for things, let your child decide how he wants to decorate and store his things. It might not be the best way to organise and store everything, but it will give your little one a sense of pride and should help them maintain the room better.

7. Make it task-oriented

Make your child accountable for the task. Keep a particular privilege on hold until your child gets the job done. For example, he can only play games on the computer once his clothes are folded away. Or he gets ice-cream only after his bed is made.

8. Divide and conquer

To not overwhelm your child, and keep his interest piqued, don’t expect him to do it all in one go. Divide the room into quadrants or the cleaning into tasks. Make a list with him – clothes, books, toys etc and help him see it through.

9. Be consistent

To make your kids grow up to be clean, responsible adults – reinforce clean habits from any early age. Kids won’t put away things automatically. Although it can be a pain, ask them to clean up after themselves every time. In the long run, it will become a habit and they’ll keep their rooms clean themselves

10. Define ‘properly’

We are all guilty of saying ‘Make sure you clean it properly’ but it’s important for them to know what your expectations are. Make a checklist the kids can refer to with pictures for little ones and simple words for older ones. Define their chores like making the bed, putting the laundry in its hamper, hanging away their clothes etc.

Do you have any funny stories about kids cleaning their rooms, or do you have any tips to add to the list? SHARE in the comments below. 

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Great tips. Some kids are naturals though and some are not. We like to do tidy up competitions and 2 of my kids I give a reward for tidying up their room. However my son’s room is always tidy, he gets rewards for other things.


  • I like these suggestions, thanks for sharing the helpful tips.


  • My teenager is a nightmare. However, I am persisting. When he’s on and ready, he’ll put his music on loud and tidy his room. However, this is not often enough for me. BUT, I’m getting better at not judging and will leave him to do it his way.


  • These are great tips but found they never worked for me. Found that I couldn’t reward one without the other even though only one did the right thing.


  • Ugh, it’s always the consistency thing which is so hard to follow through on!


  • Great in theory, but never worked for me. He still can’t pick up after himself even after a stint in the services where he not only had to be tidy, but do his own washing and ironing. He just went back to his old ways once he left.


  • great tips for the little ones but I’m afraid, this won’t work for a yo


  • I tried for years to get my kids to clean their rooms. My son sorta got the gist of it, my daughter….NEVER did


  • Thank you for the very handy article…great hints.


  • What a fantastic article. Will definitely be trying these. Tips. Thank you


  • Great article & tips. Thankyou for sharing :)


  • if only they would clean…


  • I’m trying to get my tot into the habit of putting his toys away after he plays with them.. It’s still very hit and miss!


  • We’ve been decluttering which has helped in keeping the kids rooms tidy.


  • Does this work for your younger students at school?!


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