How I Get My 3-Year-Old to Clean Her Room in 5 Minutes a Day
Getting kids to clean their rooms is a challenge at any age. However, a clean room builds a disciplined life, as well as increasing the overall quality of one’s life, so I believe it’s a challenge worth accepting.
When my oldest turned three a few months ago, I decided it was time to give her some responsibility.
She is expected to straighten her room in the morning and again at bedtime.
Sound like a headache? It’s actually not bad. We only spend about 5 minutes on this per day. Here are the keys to our success.
How to Get a 3-Year-Old to Clean Her Room
- Supervision. She needs me to supervise her and provide step by step directives.
- Systematic. Everything she does to clean is very systematic. In fact, we say the “steps” out loud together, almost like a cleaning chant. For example, to make her bed we say 1) Take everything off. 2) Pull up the sheet. 3) Pull up the quilt. 4) Put the pillows on.
- Simple. This is probably the biggest key to our success. She has very few total things in her room. It’s mostly just glorious space. She has a bed and chair, a trunk of dress-up clothes, one drawer of toys, and one shelf of books. Any three year old could straighten that, don’t you think?
- Routine. We “neaten” at the same times everyday: when she gets dressed in the morning and when she changes into her pajamas at night. These are two times when I know we will be together in her room. We also do it in a set order: make the bed (in the morning only), books on bookshelf, toys in drawer, clothes in hamper, trash to kitchen trashcan. And then we celebrate a neat room!
- Don’t worry about perfection. It doesn’t have to be perfect, especially for a young child. Keep your goals in mind. It’s not ultimately about a clean room, but about building a disciplined life for your child and giving him or her independence and a feeling of success. So if my daughter does it imperfectly, I try not to correct things too much. (Although she does need to help them with some tasks at this age).
If you’re child is struggling to keep his room clean, consider moving things out of of there to set him up for success.
Then create a daily “straightening” routine for him and supervise it. You will enjoy the benefits of training your child in this way for years to come.
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But what do you do about her more complex toys? I.e. puzzles, books with character toys, play kitchen accessories, STICKERS, etc.? We have a small home so her bedroom is often also her play room. It seems if I let her bring anything out of her room, before I know it, she has taken over the entire house!
Thank you for your comment. I know what you mean. It is something I am still learning in and working through. I have had success keeping some of these things put away. For example all puzzles are up in a closet. We get them out one at a time and it must be put away before something else can come out. That has helped my sanity with puzzles. Stickers are similar in our house. We got rid of our play kitchen because the mess drove me crazy and my kids honestly didn’t play with it much. Books are not so bad. Getting them set up for a success is what’s helped me most!
Yay! Good for her! Routine is very important. Soon she’ll be able to do it on her own. I have little charts for each child in their rooms with a morning routine and an evening routine. Now, they just do it on their own without my supervision. Still working on my 3-year-old to get used to this, but it helps that he has older siblings to imitate.
Great idea! I hope to do something similar someday.