• I just want him to clean his room. Is that too much to ask???

    You know it should take 10 minutes tops. And yet, your child is so resistant to cleaning their bedroom that they put it off as long as possible, complain the whole time, and it takes them way longer than it should. What can you do? Here are a few tips to try.

    1. Clarify expectations.
    Your idea of a “clean room” probably includes toys in containers and enough clear floor space so that you can walk through without stepping on a stray lego. Kids, however, may have a different idea. Take a minute to ask clarifying questions: “When I tell you to clean your room, what does a clean room look like to you?”. Hearing their answers can help you change your wording so you both are on the same page.

    2. Break down tasks into bite-size pieces.
    Create a written checklist or sequence of steps to break down the task and keep them on track. For example, 1. Put dirty clothes in hamper, 2. throw trash away, 3. put toys on shelf, 4. make your bed. This piece by piece approach can increase their confidence and make the task feel more manageable.

    3. Find ways to make it fun!
    Whether it’s playing music while cleaning, taking dance breaks, or any other way to lessen the tediousness of the task, adding in an element of fun can help your child learn to make the most of an undesirable situation. To help build their problem-solving skills, involve them in brainstorming how they can make the task work for them.

    4. Validate their feelings before/during a task.
    When your child is expressing their emotions to you before (or while) doing their task, you can show them you understand them by acknowledging their feelings: “You’re really annoyed about leaving your game to clean your room”. Showing your kids you understand why and what they’re feeling can help them know that even adults feel that way sometimes.

    5. Show them why their tasks are worth doing.
    Kids may not recognize the reasons for their responsibilities. When you’re in a busy moment, it might be tempting to respond to a “Why?” with a “Because I said so”, but consider using these as teaching moments. When a child knows that what they’re doing is helpful to them (or others) in some way, they may feel more motivated to get the job done.

    6. Acknowledge their efforts after attempting or completing a task.
    To encourage kids to follow through with responsibilities, verbal affirmations help! For the best results, focus your praise on their effort, rather than the outcome. For example: “You are working so hard and you’re almost done. I bet you will feel so proud and ready to relax when you are done!” This positive reinforcement can be done at any rate of completion and not just for 100% successes.