5 creative ways to get Chicago kids to clean their rooms

Does your child’s bedroom look like the aftermath of a big explosion? You are not alone. Room cleaning is not a top priority for most kids. While kids of all ages can help take care of their room and their belongings, by age eight most children can handle the responsibility of cleaning their rooms. That’s about the age, however, when it gets harder to get them to do so.

Here are some creative options for motivating kids to clean their bedrooms. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity to get your kids off the dime and the piles off the floor.

Hide something they like in the room. Let them know they’ll likely find it if they clean their room well.

The incentive can be anything at all. My mom first told me this idea and said she saw it with the lure of finding a $20 bill with thorough cleaning. I’m cheap, and that was a bit rich for my blood. I’m thinking that I could do the trick with my fashionista with a cheap pair of earrings. Maybe leave a note that you’ll take them to get an ice cream when they’re done.

If you give an allowance, put the allowance in there for the finding. That gets away from the bribery a bit.

Concerned that your child will quit after finding the prize? Fear not! Just tell them that if the cleaning work is not up to your standards, they won’t get to keep said item.

Withhold technology until after they’ve cleaned their room.

You can do this with anything. For older kids with smart phones or computers, change the WiFi password and don’t give it to them until the room is clean. If you’re like me and have no idea how to change the WiFi password, just take the actual device.

The iPad my kid loves is currently in the user protection program under my guard. It will be released only when the socks are in either a drawer, or a hamper. And really, unhooking the Wii or other game console and stashing it in your closet is really not that hard but it is very effective. Desperate times call for desperate measures, my friends.

Blast the tunes.

Crank up your kiddo’s favorite upbeat music. You can even make a fun playlist. And then announce a power hour during which all members of the family are going to focus on cleaning one area of the house for a given time. Instead of time, though, say you’re going to clean for four songs, or seven songs, whatever it may be. The group effort and fun music make it feel a bit more fun.

Conversely, if you’re feeling a little ornery, same theory but crank up your favorite tunes. They have to listen to your picks until the work is done. If they don’t love your musical taste, this could get them to move pretty quickly.

Let natural consequences


Will this be painful? Yes, most likely. But many experts agree that a clean room is something parents can and should let go. Let consequences happen. Need a jersey for the game, kiddo? Hope you can find it in there. Really wanted to wear that shirt to school today but don’t know where it is? That’s too bad.

Caveat on this one: this works to a certain extent, but health hazards are, well, hazardous. Make sure your kid’s room is at least safe.

Reason with them.

If you’re like me, number three is really tough. If you can’t be like Elsa with their bedrooms and humming “Let It Go” to yourself doesn’t do the trick, break out rational thought and reason.

Of course, kids may not be so convinced with their parents’ reasoning, so try having them watch this awesome video of the speech Admiral William H. McRaven gave at the University of Texas at Austin commencement this spring which outlines 10 reasons to make the bed every morning. It’s convincing.

Is a clean room something important to you as a parent? If so, how do you get your kids to clean their space?

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