Figuring out a way to get my kids to clean their room on a consistent basis is always a challenge. I have tried threatening, throwing away toys, yelling, guilt, etc... You name it, I've tried it. Somehow though, the room becomes a disaster area every day.
I know that part of the problem is my lack of consistency. But, I really only have this issue with my 2 middle children. They share a room. I think they have used this fact to justify that the mess is completely the fault of their sister. So, neither of them take responsibility.
Well, we had another day of this ongoing battle. I decided to try something a little different. The cleaning of the room was itching it's way right through school time. So, I decided to combine the 2. After a couple of reminders to the girls and little to no work done, I had them come out to the kitchen table.
To the 8 year old, I gave a piece of wide-ruled paper and told her she had to fill it from top to bottom with reasons why they needed to clean their room and everything that should be cleaned in their room.
Then, I handed a piece of paper to the 6 year old and told her she had to write "I will clean my room" on every line from top to bottom.
They both were unhappy about this punishment. But, they made it through. Near the end, they were both complaining about their hands hurting. I told them that it was part of their consequences.
When they were done, I sent them back to the room to clean. I told them that if I didn't see them cleaning without distraction (the common excuse), they would come back and write the entire paper again.
They started to clean, but Sydney (that stubborn little thing) decided to give me some lip and argue with me. So, I allowed Avery to leave the room and Sydney to clean by herself. When I came back to check on her and she was in the living room playing with a messy room behind her, she went back to the table.
This time, she was VERY unhappy. She cried and complained the whole way through the paper. By line 6, she was begging to go clean her room. Hmmm... interesting. I told her that she had to write it 3 more times with no crying and then I would "let" her clean her room. It was strange to be saying such a thing. But, it worked.
She left and cleaned until it was all clean.
Now, I'm not saying this is going to work long term, but it sure has been helpful the last couple of days.