5 Simple Tips for a Quick & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine For Kids

5 Simple Tips for a Quick & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine For Kids

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR A QUICK & TEAR-FREE BEDTIME ROUTINE FOR KIDS

I was exhausted and trying to wrangle 4 little bodies through a bedtime routine.

After 2 books, snuggles, and singing their favorite songs, I’d finally managed to put the baby and toddler down in their room. As I gently closed their door, I now turned my sights to my 4 and 5 year old, who were in the grips of a sudden burst of delirious energy. 

With no energy left, I dreaded having to put two more kids down for bed as my husband worked late.

The girls bounced merrily (and noisily) around their room, toys strewn across the floor. Meanwhile, I tried to muster the strength to get them to pick-up their room, brush their teeth, read books, sing songs, and tuck them into bed.

While there is very little that is “easy” about having 4 kids in 4 years, getting everyone to bed at night is certainly among one of the greatest parenting challenges in my day-to-day life.

The struggle is real.

And I’m guessing it’s real for you, too. Bedtime can feel like an elaborate and exhausting production that leaves us crumpled messes with only enough energy to sit in front of the TV.

However, these simple tips will make it easier to create a quick and easy bedtime routine for your kids.

5 Simple Tips for a Quick & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine For Kids #parenting #kidroutines #bedtime

5 Simple Tips for a Quick & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine For Kids #parenting #kidroutines #bedtime

5 Simple Tips for a Quick & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine For Kids #parenting #kidroutines #bedtime

1) PICK THE RIGHT BEDTIME

Making sure your kids are getting enough sleep will ensure that they are not TOO tired at bedtime (which makes the bedtime routine miserable and drawn out) and that they are well-rested and happy in the mornings.

Things to consider when picking a bedtime:

  • When do the kids normally wake up?
  • How much sleep do they need? (here’s an awesome guide to know how much sleep they need)

In our house, the kids are usually down around 7:00 pm and are up by 7:00am.

2) START TO WIND DOWN AN HOUR BEFORE BEDTIME

Starting a calming wind down routine before bedtime signals a shift to your children. It signals that it’s now time to stop normal daily activities and get the house and themselves ready for bed.

Some things you can do to wind down:

  • Clean up: This signals that it’s time to stop playing and start winding up for the day. Time for everything to be put away. 
  • Turn off/lower lights: This creates a calmer more relaxed atmosphere to get ready for bed. We turn off lights in the kitchen and family areas as we move to the bathroom/bedroom area in preparation for bed. It literally shuts down parts of our home. 
  • Bathtime: Baths are great ways for kids to start relaxing and preparing for bed. We’ve also found that if a child is grumpy, bath time usually turns that around and makes for a smoother bedtime routine. We love using Dr. Teals bath products to create a calming bath for our kids which can be found at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. 

3) USE TIMERS

If you find that bedtime gets dragged out and that it’s difficult to keep your kids (and yourself) on task, timers just may be the answer.

Timers provide distinct bookends on an activity and are effective in helping kids stay on task and focus. It can also be helpful when it comes to activities that can get drawn out with pleas such as “just 5 mire minutes” or “just one more book”.

When you may use timers:

  • Bathtime
  • Clean-up
  • Teeth brushing
  • Reading books

For us, using timers for nightly clean-up has been incredibly effective. It literally cut clean-up time in half and saves us from having to harp on our kids to clean. Honestly, it’s been miraculous.

Here’s what we do: We set our smartphone timer (usually for 5 minutes) and keep it visible so our girls have a visual countdown. This keeps them on task and helps them work exponentially faster as they pick up their bedroom floor.

5 Simple Tips for a Quick & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine For Kids #parenting #kidroutines #bedtime

4) KEEP THINGS CALM

When everyone is nearing exhaustion, bedtime can be a particularly dangerous time for tempers to spiral out of control.

As parents, we set the tone for our kids. It’s our job to keep things calm and happy. While it doesn’t feel like it, our kids do not control the mood of our home. We do.

How we respond to our children holds the key to a calm atmosphere. If we can create a calm bedtime atmosphere for our kids, this alone can create a much smoother bedtime routine.

Some strategies to keep things calm:

I’m of the belief that it’s pretty much impossible to snuggle your kids too much at bedtime (or anytime, really).

Kids are calm and content when they feel a connection with you. Lots of snuggles will help them wind down and happily drift off to sleep.

5) STAY CONSISTENT

Children crave consistency in their schedule. It gives them a sense of control and order knowing what will always come next.

It can be difficult for children when creating a new routine, and tantrums are often inevitable. But being consistent and calm signals to your child that you will not bend to tantrums. This will create more calm and order as everyone adjusts to the new routine. 

END THE BATTLES WITH A BEDTIME ROUTINE

While we have the occasional rough night, it’s usually due to neglecting one of the above tips. We’ve created a simple and consistent bedtime routine that gets our kids ready for bed without taking hours.

When it’s time to wind down, our kids know exactly what’s expected of them. We set timers to keep them on task and work to set and keep a calm atmosphere.

By staying consistent, we’ve created a quick and tear-free bedtime routine for kids. And if we can as frazzled parents of 4 little ones, you can too.

You’ve got this, mama!

MORE RESOURCES FOR CREATING ROUTINES FOR KIDS:

5 Keys to a Stress-Free Morning Routine With Kids

5 Keys to a Stress-Free Morning Routine With Kids

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

5 KEYS TO A STRESS-FREE MORNING ROUTINE WITH KIDS

Yet again, I found myself racing against the clock shouting orders at my kids and frantically throwing backpacks in the car.

We were going to be late. For the zillionth time this school year.

As a working mom with 4 kids 5 and under, I felt like running late was inevitable. I attributed our perpetually frenetic mornings and chronic lateness to my busy life.

But as my frowning kindergartener jumped out of the van and reluctantly ran toward the school office to get yet another late pass, I felt like a complete failure. 

Not only was my oldest child late for school, but I was already 45 minutes late getting my preschooler to her class. Forty. Five. Minutes.

While I was never thrilled with our crazy mornings, today I was downright ashamed.

My inability to get my mornings together was seriously affecting my kids. 

Mornings tended to be a toxic mixture of stress and grumpiness as I would run around barking orders at my kids to try and get everyone clothed, fed, and backpacks ready for school.

The school year was wrapping up, but I vowed that the next year would be different. I was going to finally get my act together.

With a determination to change, I set out to find the solutions to our chaotic mornings and perpetual lateness.

And I’m happy to report that I did, in fact, get my act together in the mornings.

By implementing the following strategies into our daily routine, our mornings this school year have been completely different.

Where there was once chaos and stress, there’s calm and order.

5 Keys to a Stress-Free Morning With Kids #parenting #morningroutine


5 Keys to a Stress-Free Morning With Kids #parenting #morningroutine

Here are the 5 strategies that helped our family create a stress-free morning routine:

1) START THE NIGHT BEFORE

I’m of the firm belief that your morning really starts the night before. Having a great evening routine is going to make all the difference when your head pops off the pillow in the morning. Preparing the night before ensures that you can rest easy knowing that you are ready for the morning.

Here are a few things you should consider building into your evening routine:

Lay out clothes

On school days, my kids are not usually joyful and energetic risers. (Sadly, we’re not natural morning people.) Which can make picking out clothes a drawn out process. Their brains are just not ready for those kinds of decisions.

However, once I started having them pick out their clothes the night before, mornings become much smoother without having to make choices about what to wear. I had some extra mini drawers we put in their room and they love having their outfit ready in their own little drawer. 

But this strategy is not just for your kids. Laying out your clothes will also help you as you prepare for your day.

Since I workout nearly every morning, each night I lay out my workout clothes. Not only does this help me get going in the mornings, but putting on workout clothes makes it that much more likely that I will actually workout. 

Plan bedtime deliberately

If you or your kids are not getting enough sleep, mornings are going to rough no matter how you slice it. Kids generally need at least 10-12 hours of sleep (see sleep requirements for various ages). And you need at least 7-8. Stick to a bedtime that ensures enough sleep.

Committing to getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night has had such a positive difference on my life. I’m naturally happier and more energetic during the day. Which means I accomplish way more everyday.

Prepare backpacks

Get backpacks as prepared as possible for school the next day. If you drive to school, you could even stick them in your car!

Makes lunches

If you pack lunches for your kids, putting them together the night before can save a lot of time in the morning.

5 Keys to a Stress-Free Morning With Kids #parenting #morningroutine

2) WAKE UP BEFORE YOUR KIDS

Even if it’s just 15 minutes earlier, waking up before your kids will completely change the tenor of your mornings.

When you wake up to a hungry child demanding breakfast, you wake up 2 steps behind and risk being grumpy. You’re groggy and haven’t even hit the restroom, yet you feel the need to get food made and get your kids ready. But waking up before your kids and preparing yourself for the day will center you before your kids wake up and the day kicks into high gear.

Here’s the bare minimum of what you should do:

  • Get dressed
  • Drink a big glass of water (wakes your body up and boosts energy)
  • Make a list of what you need to get done that day

If you have time, these practices really set you up for a successful day:

Personally, my happiest and most productive days are when I wake up at least and hour before my kids. For more on creating an awesome mom morning routine, check out this post on how to makeover your morning before your kids are up.

3) MAKE BREAKFAST AHEAD OF TIME

You want your kids to have a solid breakfast, but there’s not always time to prepare a nice meal. By meal prepping breakfast foods, you can simply pop pumpkin pancakes or whole grain blueberry protein muffins in the microwave and get breakfast on the table in a couple of minutes.

Here are the 7 healthy make-ahead breakfast recipes that I rely on for easy mornings.

4) CREATE BUFFER TIME

With kids, there will always be unexpected disasters. Potty accidents, spilled milk, tantrums, vomit…all to be expected in mom life.
Problem is that we don’t always plan for the mini daily disasters when we calculate how much time we need to get ready.

As a general rule, we should always give ourselves way more time than we think we’ll need. Because we always need a bit more time.

Planning buffer time has been most effective in creating a happy home in the mornings, despite the inevitable accidents that arise.

Where before, any kind of delay would set me off since we were always running late, knowing I have extra time keeps me calm and happy. Which in turn helps my kids stay calm and happy.

5 Keys to a Stress-Free Morning With Kids #parenting #morningroutine

5) IDENTIFY PROBLEM ZONES

Pinpointing exactly where your family struggles in the morning goes a long way to creating a calm and happy morning routine with kids.

For example, I found that we had a hard time getting everyone loaded in the car to get to school on time. It seemed that no matter what I did, that last push to get everyone into the car felt like herding cats.

Despite creating buffer zones and waking up earlier, the struggle to get out the door remained the same.

And despite my best efforts, after 10 minutes of loading the little ones and trying to coax my school-aged kids in the car, I would inevitably lose it and start yelling.

Then I realized exactly what our issue was.

When I would announce that it was time to load the van, suddenly hair would need to be brushed, socks put on, and shoes need to be found.

Once I recognized that the problem was that my children struggled to get themselves 100% ready ahead of time, I instituted a new rule: To sit at the table for breakfast, you must be 100% ready (shoes on, hair fixed).

This changed everything.

I didn’t have to prod and remind my kids to get ready. I simply reminded the of the rule: we need to be 100% ready when we sit to eat breakfast.

CREATE YOUR STRESS-FREE MORNING ROUTINE WITH KIDS

Your morning in the foundation on which you build the rest of your day. It can be hard to move on from a rough morning where foul moods and disasters wreak havoc. However, a smooth morning will set you up for a happy and productive day.

By following the 5 key strategies to creating a stress-free morning routine with kids, you can build a routine that sets your family up to have an awesome day.

You’ve got this, mama!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO CREATE YOUR DAILY ROUTINES

Babysitting Information Printable

Babysitting Information Printable

BABYSITTING INFORMATION PRINTABLE

On any given day, I’m racing around at about a million miles an hour. (I’m sure you know the feeling.) Couple that with what 4 pregnancies did to my brain and I forget things.

Lots of things, in fact.

Which is especially annoying when I’m five minutes into a movie at the theater and I suddenly remember 3 things I forgot to tell the babysitter. So I have to be that person. The one texting in the middle of a movie and then constantly looking at her phone to see if the babysitter has responded.

As moms running from one thing to the next, it’s really hard to always remember to tell the babysitter everything.

And even when we feel like we remember to give all special instructions, we may return to find that the babysitter didn’t live up to unspoken common sense expectations.

Download free babysitting information printable #printable #parenting

Download free babysitting information printable #printable #parenting

WHICH IS WHY I CREATED THIS BABYSITTING INFORMATION PRINTABLE

Whether we’re at work or out with our husbands, knowing our babysitters have all the information they need allows us peace of mind when we are away from our kids.

It also gives the babysitter a helpful guide for when they encounter both the expected and unexpected in caring for your kids.

So I made this for moms to be able to fill out, laminate and stick in the diaper bag or on the fridge and have all the key information readily available for your babysitter. Whether you’re gone for an hour or all day, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve given the sitter all the information needed.

Ways to use this printable:

  • Fill out and laminate
  • Laminate and then fill out with a dry-erase marker
  • Put one in your diaper bag and on your fridge

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter below (which are full of helpful tips and resources for overwhelmed moms) and get your free babysitting information printable straight to your inbox! No spam and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Hope you like it!

 

11 Steps to End Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

11 Steps to End Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

END PICKY EATING & CREATE HEALTHY MEALTIME HABITS

Mealtime in our house used to mean nobody was happy. There were a lot of tears, bribes, whining, begging, and finally threats. It was an intense battle of wills where my husband and I fought (and usually lost) the battle to get our children to eat the healthy and delicious food that I’d prepared.

Simply trying to get those kids to eat anything other than breads and crackers was like trying to convince them to skip Halloween and Christmas this year. They’d look at chicken and sautéd vegetables as thoughI’d presented them with a plate of slimy slithering eels.

It was maddening.

And it seemed like my efforts to get them to eat (e.g. “no dessert until you finish” or “5 more bites”) only seemed to keep the food battles raging.

So I started reading everything that I could and trying stuff out on my kids.

Turns out, all that conventional wisdom (“you have to clear your plate before you leave the table!”) is entirely unhelpful for creating kids with healthy eating habits.

After some great books (this one was my absolute favorite), I found a much better way to tackle the meal-time troubles. As I eliminated the struggle and conflict from our meals, my kids automatically started to be more exploratory with foods and developed healthier habits.

But I’m not alone in my struggles to try to end picky eating.

PICKY EATERS ALL OVER THE PLACE

As many as 50% or kids, at least for a period of time, fall into the category of “picky eater”. As a parent, this is incredibly frustrating. You’re going to great pains in trying to nourish your offspring and instill healthy eating habits while your child wants to just eat fishy crackers and Doritos.

But you can create a healthy home and instill healthy eating habits–even in your pickiest eaters.

Here are 12 tips to help you do just that.

End picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits #pickyeater #parenting

1) NEVER FORCE KIDS TO EAT

Chances are, you were forced to eat something as a kid. How’d that work out? Did you end up loving it and thanking your parents for helping you see the light?

Probably not.

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with mealtime and the food you are forcing them to eat. Instead of trying to end picky eating, you’re just making it worse.

But taking all the fight, forcing, and negotiating out of your meals will make your child more comfortable and secure. They won’t put up their guard as they approach the dinner table, waiting for a fight. And they’ll feel in control since they have a choice in what they eat.

When they’re more comfortable and feel in control they are more likely to eat the foods you offer.

But I know it’s so hard. When your kid is refusing to eat anything but Skittles, your first inclination is to dig in and win the battle (at least for me). Problem is the more you battle, the more your child resists. Resisting and refusing is how your child exerts control.

Which is why they start refusing foods they used to like!

This was especially true with my second daughter. Even mentioning that I was making dinner, she would start pouting and exclaiming that she didn’t like what I was making. Never mind that she had NO IDEA what I was making!

But because we battled and negotiated our way through meals in order to get healthy foods in her body, the mention of dinner geared her up for a fight.

When we changed our strategy (thanks to this amazing book that I highly recommend, It’s Not About the Broccoli), we stopped all forcing and negotiating. Instead, we provided lots of healthy food options and let her pick. At first, she ate a lot of rice. But with the pressure gone, over time my ultra-picky daughter began trying new things.

Ironically, her diet has improved immensely by turning the power over to her.

And miracle of miracles, she tries most everything we give her.

2) DON’T MAKE A SEPARATE MEAL

Making a separate meal for your child–while it may keep the peace at dinner time–only ensures that picky and limited eating will continue.

When one of my kids outright refuse everything (rare), they are always welcome to have any raw vegetables, nuts or seeds, and sometime fruit. But no separate meal.

This is not only a HUGE timesaver for me, but it encourages kids to  develop proper eating habits.

If you want to end picky eating, be sure to provide a few choices in the meal you prepare and make sure at least one item is something your child will eat.

3) GET YOUR SPOUSE ON THE SAME PAGE

Nothing will sabotage any new parenting endeavor then being undermined by the other parent. However, I’ve found that this is usually because I didn’t fully inform my husband of the new strategy I was trying.

Sit down with your partner and determine what kinds of foods you want to be eating and your plan of action. What are the meal time rules going to be? Sending mixed messages to your kids will just communicate that you aren’t serious.

4) INVOLVE YOUR CHILD 

Ask your child what you should make. At the grocery store, have them help you pick out foods. Kids love picking out produce and putting it in bags.

Then, have them help you in the kitchen preparing the meal.

This was really helpful in our house. Involving my pickiest eater in the cooking process has not only been fun and a sweet bonding experience, but she’s now much more likely to eat something she helped prepare it.

end picky eating

5) SET A GOOOD EXAMPLE

Children are much more likely to do what you do and not what you say. Our children are walking testaments to our actions, not our words. This applies to how we eat as well.

I’ve also found that if I am eating anything around my kids, they will want to try some. From salads to smoothies packed with kale, if I’m eating and enjoying something, my kids want a piece of the action. And I’ve been really surprised by what my children will not only try, but end up really liking.

In the last couple years, I’ve been a pretty consistent salad eater and my 2 youngest would always want bites. As a result, these kids aged 3 and 20 months love salad. They’ll happily munch on mouthfuls of kale, quinoa, and carrots (something I though was impossible).

6) KEEP ONLY HEATHY OPTIONS AROUND

If there aren’t unhealthy options littering your kitchen and pantry, then your child will have little else to beg for in place of the meal they’ve been presented.

For example, I never have juice or soda around the house and I only buy dense whole grain bread. They think white bread is candy. So all sandwiches or toast is made with heavy fiber and nutrient-packed bread. I try to keep all snack foods they healthiest options available.

7) MAKE MEALS FUN

Making mealtime fun is will go a long way in having your associate healthy eating with positive emotions. If mealtimes are a always a battle, everyone is trained to get frustrated at dinner time!

Get your kids to help out, experiment with fun dips and sauces, and switch it up (like breakfast for dinner).

8) DON’T BRIBE WITH DESSERT

This just teaches kids that healthy food is bad, but must be suffered through to get to the true reward: dessert. If dessert is the reward, then dessert is always the goal–not healthy eating habits.

I’ll admit that I tried this…a lot. And the result was that my children would constantly try and negotiate “how many bites” until they earned dessert. It wasn’t about eating until fullness. It was all about the dessert.

If your goal is to help your children enjoy healthy eating, bribing with dessert will not get you there.

We eliminated dessert entirely for a while just to avoid any temptation to have dessert as a reward.

9) INTRODUCE A NEW FOOD WITH A FOOD THEY LIKE

I have found time and again that of I have 2-3 things I know my kids like at a meal and a third or fourth thing that they will try for the 1st time, they are much more likely to try the new thing than if I just try and give then a plate of full of new and strange food.

10) OFFER FRUITS & VEGGIES WITH EVERY SNACK/MEAL

First off, if you want to get kids to eat healthy foods you have to offer it to them. A lot. Kid have to be exposed more than 10 times to a food before they may like it. That means the more your expose them, the faster they can develop a taste for these foods.

Secondly, if you are constantly offering fruits and veggies to your children it will help eliminate that urge to force them to eat vegetables at dinner because they haven’t eaten a plat all day. Knowing that they’ve had bites of healthy foods during the day can put your mind at ease and keep the food battle far from your house.

11) BE CONSISTENT

Children’s brains are pattern seeking. If the pattern is that you enforce something new for a day or two and then forget about it, they pick that up quickly. But if you maintain consistency with your expectations and practices, they will pick that up and develop healthy eating habits.

For most people, healthy eating habits aren’t just going to manifest overnight. But through consistently encouraging healthy eating through these steps you can help your children try new foods, enjoy healthy eating, and create habits that will serve them for life.

end picky eating

You can create a home of healthy eaters. No matter how picky they are right now.

If you’re looking for additional reading, I highly recommend It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids For a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. It completely changed how my children eat. No more food battles and a lot of healthy eating.

You’ve got this, mama!

 

7 Steps to Teaching a Child to Clean Their Own Bedroom

7 Steps to Teaching a Child to Clean Their Own Bedroom

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Steps to Teaching a Child to Clean Their Own Bedrooms

Let’s face it: sometimes you feel more like “the maid” than “the mom”. And while you want your kids to pick up after themselves, it feels pretty overwhelming on days when you are just trying to keep everyone alive.

You’re tired and pressed for time so it’s faster to do it all yourself as opposed to fight the inevitable battles that come with getting kids to clean up.

But teaching a child to clean up doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming.

By taking some simple steps now to teach your children to clean their own room, you can teach responsibility and save yourself loads of time and energy.

Teaching a Child to Clean: Start young

If a child can play with toys and make a mess, a child is capable of learning to clean up.

Children are amazing little sponges. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly my 4 kids learn things.

Their brains are incredible at picking up patterns and following them. If you teach them that you will always clean up their messes, they’ll learn that quickly. But if you teach them that you will always clean up, they’ll happily comply.

7 Steps Teaching Kids to Clean Their Bedrooms

7 Steps Teaching Kids to Clean Their Bedrooms #parenting #momhacks #teachkidstoclean

 

STEPS TO TEACHING A CHILD TO CLEAN THEIR BEDROOM

 

1) Organize child’s room so that it’s easy for your child to clean up.

Before you really dig into teaching your child to clean their room, you want to make sure it’s organized properly. Take a good long look at your child’s bedroom and ask yourself:

  • Does everything have a clear place?
  • Is it easily accessible?
  • Is the organization uncomplicated?
  • How can I change the room to make it easier for my child to clean?

Organize your room so that it’s easy for your child to know where everything goes and it’s easy to put everything away.

Taping images on boxes, bins, and drawers can be extremely helpful in teaching kids where everything goes. I do this with my kid’s drawers and it has been a game-changer.

To say my girls love clothes is a major understatement. Without exaggeration, it’s perfectly normal for any one of my 3 older kids to change their clothes anywhere from 5-10 times a day on any given day.

So plies of clothes on the floor has been a formidable issue for us from the moment these girls started dressing themselves.

A few years ago, I saw the daily deluge of clothes on the bedroom floor on the floor that made me snap. Something needed to change NOW.

So I got some 3 x 5 notecards, drew pictures of the clothing items that go in each drawer, and taped them on each of my children’s drawers.

It was nothing short of miraculous what happened.

With a little bit of direction (and telling them that any clothes found on the floor will become mine…) my clothes-loving girls actually started to put everything away in the correct place.

Picture labels make all the difference.

If you don’t feel like drawing, I created a free printable of both boy and girl clothes drawer labels (you can download the labels by scrolling to the bottom of this post).

Teaching a child to clean their bedroom

2) Clean along side your child, giving very specific instructions with lots of encouragement and praise.

Children are very visual and physical learners. Not only do we need to tell them what to do, we need to show them and lovingly guide them. While you model the correct behavior, explain to your child what you are doing and invite them to help giving very specific instructions.

EXAMPLES:

  • “Can you put the OBJECT in this PLACE? You did it! That was so helpful!”
  • “This is where we put the OBJECTS. Can you put that right in here? You are such a great helper. I love it!”

Remember, praise goes a long way to creating helpful kids.

Teaching a child to clean their bedroom

3) Set a routine for when you clean

Children crave routines that they can expect and predict. This is certainly true when teaching a child to clean.

If you are consistent in your cleaning routine, not only will your children respond better, but, knowing that clean up is imminent, they will begin to clean before you ask them.

Making it a routine they can expect will reduce the battles.

Since every home runs differently, this will look different for everyone. For some, it may be that you clean a room up completely before you leave it. 

For us, the evenings seem to be the most effective time to clean.

As part of their bedtime wind-down routine, the girls know that they are expected to have their room clean in order to get a story and a song every night (and they’d sooner cut off their own toe than miss the story and song).

As it’s become more routine for them, they have become quick and efficient little cleaners. Hallelujah!

4) Keep it positive and encouraging

The quickest way to sabotage a child’s attitude and the mood in your home is to be moody and negative. Be it potty training, school work, or what have you, when we start to get irritated and snarky with our kids, they will respond the same way or with tears.

Always give encouragement and praise for their efforts when teaching a child to clean. Praise and positivity go a really long way in helping to motivate a child. Helping them see how helpful they are and that what they do makes a difference will completely change their behavior.

A phrase we use (from parenting expert Dr. Becky Bailey) that has brought about miraculous attitude and behavior changes is:

“You (what your child did), so (the results). That was so helpful!”

EXAMPLES:

  • “You cleaned up all your clothes so you can find them. That was so helpful!”
  • “You put all your toys away so we won’t trip on them and your room can look nice. That was so helpful!”

I know it’s not always easy to stay positive when you are tired and overworked and the house is messy. But staying positive with kids yields magical results.

When I am super positive and complimentary, my 4 and 5 year old can turn a messy bedroom into a pristine haven in no time at all. 

5) Have consequences for failure to clean up

Natural consequences are best. Other than losing their story and a song at night, another strategy has also been very effective.

We put toys that have not been picked up when they were supposed to be picked up in “toy jail”. These items go in a big clear plastic container that lives in a high shelf in my closet and my kids have to do various chores to earn their toys back.

teaching a child to clean their bedroom

6) As they learn, give them more responsibility

As your child becomes more and more capable, it can be easy to just enjoy the new help and leave it at that. But it’s important to keep your child growing and becoming more independent.

You can increase their responsibility by giving less specific directions and even adding tasks to their cleaning routines. 

To begin, you may have to give lots of specific direction. But as they learn the process, you can move from “Put that toy right here” to “Put all the toys away” or “Clean this room.” 

Once they get cleaning their room independently, find other cleaning task for them.

For us, this has meant gradually learning to clean most areas of the house and helping with the laundry and in the kitchen. The same principles above apply to any cleaning job!

7) Be consistent, Be consistent, Be consistent

I know it’s not easy. Mom life is super hard. We have moments where we can’t care about much more than keeping our kids alive, let alone having children who clean up after themselves. I’ve been there. 

But if we are not consistent in our efforts and expectations, children will pick up that this is not important and not something they need to learn.

On the other hand, being consistent teaches our children that these expectations and responsibilities are here to stay and will be enforced.

Children’s brains are amazing at picking up patterns. If the pattern is that you won’t stay consistent, they will not comply. If the pattern is that they need to keep their room clean, they will! Stay strong, mama!

The struggle is worth it

I’m not going to lie, teaching my kids to clean up after themselves has been a struggle at times. Sometimes they have fought me vigorously and tested whether I will be consistent. But the struggle to teach a child to clean is worth it.  

These days, my kids are now amazing at cleaning up their rooms. And the excitement and sense of pride they have when they show me their immaculate room absolutely makes my heart sing.

You’ve got this. Good luck, mamas!

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave