bedroom cleaning with kids

Girl making bed with mother.

Bedroom cleaning with kids may feel at time like a battle that isn't worth fighting. 

Why not just give up and close the bedroom door?

One great reason: Bedroom cleaning with kids is essential if we want our kids to grow up to to be self-sufficient adults.

To learn all the cleaning tips and tricks they'll need to do this on their own; they'll need to practice with us.

Bedroom Cleaning With Kids:  Start by Defining  Clean

"Clean your room!" we say. But kids need to know exactly what we mean by "clean." What is a 'clean bedroom'? Not a speck of dust? Toys and clothes put away? A clear walkway?

Write it down, in checklist form, so kids can easily succeed by meeting your expectations. What exactly do you expect? And how often do you expect it?

Not only do you need to spell out each chore out for your kids, but you'll also have to motivate them to get moving on the task.

For little ones, the promise of a game of Candy Land with Mommy or a bike ride around the cul-de-sac with Daddy might be all the prodding you'll need to do to get a little one on-board.

Getting Older Kids to Clean

Where tweens are concerned, you can take stronger action. If stuff is on the floor, take control. I know one mom who got angry and packed away her kid's American Girl doll collection after repeated infractions.

Then the girl had to earn it back. For each clean-room week, she had one doll returned.

Here's an idea for teens. Make them sign a lease agreement! This could state how a room will be kept. If said teen violates the lease, no, you can't evict her, but you can yank a privilege or three.

Or, maybe have her pay "damages" out of her allowance. Or try a credit-card approach. Tell your son you will give him a $30 credit card at the end of the month for his favorite store.

The catch: For every day that his room is dirty (as defined in the lease) there will be a dollar deducted from the card.

The beauty of this system is that you're going to spend at least $30 a month on your teen's wardrobe anyway. Why not make him work for it? If all else fails, you can always close the bedroom door.

When it comes down to it, even though it's embedded in a mom's genes to want to clean a kid's room, you should try to resist the urge to do this essential chore for him or her. You're robbing your little angel of a life lesson she needs to learn.

Age Appropriate Chores for Bedroom Cleaning with Kids

Here's a list of which tasks kids can generally do by which age. Once a child reaches an individual skill or age level, he can usually do the chores for his age group and those for the age groups below.

Of course, some of these chores need to be done each day, others once a week, and still, others once a month or even less frequently. Use your best judgment for what gets done when.

Ages 2 and under:

Young boy putting shirt in dresser drawer.
  • Put toys in bins or drawers
  • Help pick up stray books and magazines
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper if the top is low enough

Ages 3 to 5:

Previous chores, plus:

  • Pull comforter over bed
  • Return CDs, DVDs, and videocassettes to their cases
  • Put toys and games and all their pieces in the proper boxes or bins
  • Return books to bookshelves
  • Sponge down the play table
  • Take clean, folded clothes to his or her room
  • Dust low furniture
  • Wash or spot-clean baseboards
  • Air-dry throw pillows in dryer

Ages 6 to 9:

  • Previous chores, plus:
  • Make the bed
  • Tidy bedroom
  • Shake area rugs, depending on size
  • Vacuum, with help depending on the machine's height and weight
  • Empty and wipe wastebaskets clean, using disinfecting wipes
  • Dust furniture and shelves
  • Wipe smudges from walls and doors

Ages 10 to 13:

Previous chores, plus:

  • Clean telephones, computer and TV screens, video-game controllers, and remote controls
  • Change bed linens
  • Clean the bedroom
  • Vacuum floors and carpets
  • Clean bedroom closets
  • Disinfect light switches and doorknobs
  • Vacuum furniture
  • Wash windows and wipe light fixtures
  • Wash washable curtains

Ages 14 to 17:

Previous chores, plus:

  • Organize closets
  • Dust ceiling fan
  • Turn mattresses
  • Vacuum drapes
  • Dust and vacuum corners and crevices from high point to low
  • Vacuum floors and carpets and move furniture to clean underneath
  • Remove dust ruffles from beds to wash or dry-clean
  • Deep-clean carpet and upholstery (Teens can make the call to the carpet cleaner for you.)
  • Turn mattresses.

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