A few nights ago, I had the worse night of sleep. Every time I rolled over, I caught a whiff of something horrendous somewhere in our upstairs area. I had tried to find it before bed when I first noticed, but had no luck. I figured I’d find it in the morning, but never would have guessed how bad the smell would grow overnight. I finally got up at 4:30 am that next morning and took out all of the trashes upstairs. That had to be it! Nope, the smell lingered and continued to grow. What in the world was it? I peeked in on my sleeping children sharing a room and sighed once again at the disaster zone that they call a bedroom. “Something must be growing in there”, I thought. It had to be an old snack or something left out of the trash can that was now multiplying somewhere in their bedroom.
One of my biggest pet peeves as a mother is when my kids don’t do their part in our family to keep their areas picked up. My daughters are now 8 and 11 and this task continues to be a daily struggle for us. I do not keep a super clean house and I don’t expect them to either. I believe a little clutter and stuff shows that we’re a family and we’ve living life instead of obsessing about a clean house. I do want them to do their part in picking up their stuff, however, instead of simply leaving it where they last used it or took it off their body. It’s simply courtesy to the rest of us in this family and I admit that I feel like a mom failure nearly every day because I’ve yet to find a way to get this across to my children. Do you struggle with this too?
We are trying something new over the next 3 weeks and I sure hope this finally gets through to them. I agreed to help them completely clean their areas, but they must keep it cleaned up exactly as we made it, everyday, for 3 weeks straight. If they can both do this, together as a team, they each are getting a special reward that they’ve been wanting. I probably shouldn’t be blogging about it since I’m clearly not much of an expert in the area of teaching tidiness, but I’m hoping that by sharing this idea and our progress, maybe it will help me be consistent in reminding them of what needs to be done each day. I realize consistency is where my husband and I have lacked in what we require of them, and they’ve learned to walk all over us because this.
My girls and I spent the good majority of this past weekend purging the garbage and tidying up their bedroom, bathroom and desk area. This was NOT my idea of a fun weekend, but we had to start with a clean slate. (They weren’t too thrilled about it either!) We had bags of trash, plus a few boxes for donations too. Their area looked so amazing and they both loved it. But we’ve done this before… will it be any different this time?
I took pictures of the room, bathroom and desk and posted them on a poster board that we are now displaying in their room. At the end of the day, they need to compare the pictures to their space and then sign the date on the calendar saying it’s completed. I’m not going to remind them daily to do this (they’ve heard my voice enough in the past), but instead encourage them both when I see one of them working on it. If they want the reward at 3 weeks, they need to remember to do the work.
We never found the smell in the bedroom. It ended up being some stinky towels from the beach waiting in the laundry room to be washed. But if anything good came out of this, it made me realize that this room disaster had to change, so I would never assume again that such as smell could come from their room!
**UPDATE, 3 Weeks Later: They did it (well, almost!). For 2 weeks straight, each night, they picked up what had been brought out during the day and went to bed with a clean room. When I was consistent in sending them upstairs everyday at 7:30, it got done! During the last week of the challenge, however, we had their cousins over to stay with us, so with 4 kids sharing a room, it got a bit crowded with everyone’s things. I let up the nightly cleanup routine and you can guess what happened. The room became a mess again. So lesson learned, if mom is consistent, the kids will be too! Stay strong and stay consistent!
Let’s be honest, what do your kids rooms look like right now? What methods work in your house for keeping it clean? Share with us in the comments below.
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