How do we do it all as a single parent?
It can be difficult trying to determine the rules that work best for your household. As a single parent, it can be difficult making every decision alone.
To get your kids to FOLLOW the rules is a whole other thing- trying to do that alone can be challenging. There is so much advice on parenting, but every child is different, every parent is different, and each situation varies.
Should kids be required to keep their room clean?
When it comes to keeping our home and the kid’s rooms clean the advice varies greatly. Some say to let it go. Let them be kids. Let them have that one space they live in kept as they would like it. It’s true that one day they’ll be out of the house and you can keep your house clean.
I’m not saying that’s the wrong way. I’m just saying I’ve tried it and it didn’t work for us. Not that our home is perfectly clean. It’s not, but we do our best to keep it as clean as we can. I’m sharing my experience, but overall, you need to decide what works for you.
What happened when I stopped making my kids clean their room.
For awhile, I got so tired of nagging and telling them what to do. I kept hearing of a parenting idea of letting kids have their room the way they like it. I was just done and decided to try it out. I let my kids keep their room messy.
It did not turn out great. It ended up with lost and broken toys, spots on the carpet that wouldn’t come out. More missing assignments than ever. I ended up stressed and so did they. We ended up constantly organizing and cleaning huge messes. This wasn’t the life I wanted.
What happened when my kids were expected to keep their room clean
Besides teaching my kid’s to treat our home with respect, I have found that for my own mental health and sanity I need to live in a clean house. I think the biggest game changer for me was when I realized how much my kids also needed it.
Once we purged as much stuff as we could out of our home and came up with better systems, we really were able to enjoy each other much more. We also had a cleaner (not perfect) home.
The most surprising thing about it was the way we felt. One of my kids (who wasn’t excited about keeping her room clean) commented about how different it feels to sleep in a clean room. I couldn’t agree more.
Get rid of non-essentials. If you have too much stuff, there’s a chance you’ll just feel overwhelmed trying to re-organize and clean constantly. This is a tough one for me because I constantly worry that if I throw something away, I will need it and won’t be able to afford a new one. I’m definitely trying to work on this mindset.
Tips to help you keep your house clean daily:
- It’s all about systems. Set up doable systems that work for your family and the setup of your home so that you can keep things clean. Find a space for everything in your home.
- Check out Love Your Space Action Steps Workbook to stay organized and learn the many benefits and importance of keeping your space clean.
- Only keep enough toys out that will fit on one shelf. You can always rotate toys every few days or every week.
- If you have younger kids, make a game out of clean up. Sing the clean up song. Or play I spy
- Use a Roomba. I don’t have one, but I have friends who swear by it. Anything you can set and forget is a lifesaver in my book.
- Accept that things may not every be perfect and recognize that you’re doing your best. Don’t beat yourself up if your home isn’t perfectly clean or if it’s cluttered, but also don’t make excuses and put it off- especially if you know that clutter affects your mood.
- If you can, choose one room each day to organize. If things are pretty unorganized or you just don’t have much time, focus on one room each week and de-clutter as much as you can. If that’s too much to ask right now, try to at least find one space that you can clear out as a work space for this project. It can be your kitchen table, the floor of your living room, an office, anywhere you want.
- If your kids are out of school during winter break, summer break, or spring break, these might be the perfect times for them to really clean and de-clutter their room
- The most important thing to remember is that how you organize and do things is not as important as making sure that you actually do organize and clean.
Games that will help younger kids keep their room clean:
Another great strategy is to make cleaning fun. This is easiest with younger kids, but hopefully you’ll set up healthy habits that they’ll carry on into the teen years (and older).
- Choose a toy (but don’t tell the kids what it is) to be the mystery toy. They pick up as many toys as they can. Once the room is clean, reveal the mystery toy. Whoever picked up the mystery toy wins!
- Turn on fun cleaning songs and have the kids dance while they clean up. Even better would be to dance with them. (so many Disney songs that are work songs: tangled, Snow White, enchanted all have a song that would work for this!).
- Sing the cleaning song with your kids as they clean. “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.”
- Tell the kids a color and have them race to see who can pick up the most of that color the fastest and once they’re done give them a new color.
Of course, there are times when we all need a little break. Overall, I try not to get into this type of thinking. If I do, it’s easy to decide I need a break for every little thing we do.
At the same time, single parenting is tough, and if you’re completely overwhelmed and about to have a breakdown, figure out what you need to do for yourself to be centered and balance and pull yourself out of that state so that you can focus on what you need to.
Clear the clutter from your life. Whether it’s leaving a draining relationship or keeping your home clutter free, do what you need to do to be your best self. Please share your organizing and cleaning ideas in the comments below.
Check out these related posts:
Organized Home = Organized Mind
Re-gift ideas that help stop the clutter
and this AMAZING Love Your Space Action Steps Workbook
Nigel William says
Hi, Laurie! yet another great article I really enjoyed! These tips are amazing, they make a whole process less stressful and time-consuming. I was wondering, how do you decide which stuff you`re getting rid of?
I believe cleaning is an important life skill that should be taught to kids from an early age. When they are small they are curious and ready to learn new things which is why it is the best time to inculcate cleaning skills. Thank you for sharing such an awesome idea.
Happy Hiller says
Great read! Thanks for sharing your thought on this topic!