What to Do When A Child Refuses to Clean Their Room

children cleaning room

Having a clean and organized room is important for any child’s development, but convincing them to keep it that way can be a daunting task. 

In this article, we will explore what methods parents can use when their children refuse to clean up after themselves. 

We will discuss how setting expectations and providing incentives can help motivate your kids to take ownership of their space and strategies to encourage them without resorting to punishment or ultimatums!

1. Setting Expectations and Providing Incentives 

Setting expectations and providing incentives is a great way to motivate children to clean up their rooms.

 It is essential for parents to communicate their expectations clearly, such as setting a time frame for when the room should be kept clean or which tasks need to be done for the room to remain tidy. 

Once these expectations are established, they can help provide incentives such as treats or rewards when these expectations are met.

2. Establishing Routines for Cleaning 

Establishing routines for cleaning can also help children understand the importance of tidying their rooms. 

Set a regular time each day when you and your child work together on cleaning up the bedroom, such as an hour before bedtime. 

This will make it easier for them to stay on top of the task and gives them a set time each day to focus on cleaning.

3. Encouraging Kids to Take Ownership of Their Space 

It is essential to encourage your child to take ownership of their space. Ask them to help you develop ideas for how the room can be organized or to pick out decorations they like. 

You can also help them create a system for keeping their toys and other belongings organized, such as having designated shelves and bins where they can put items away.

4. Making Cleanup Fun with Games or Rewards 

Making cleanup fun can also be a great way for your child to clean their room actively.

You could create a game out of it, such as having them race against the clock or rewarding them for picking up certain items first. 

If the task gets too tedious or boring, consider providing incentives such as treats or small rewards for completing specific tasks.

5. Avoid Punishment or Ultimatums 

It’s important to resist the urge to punish your child when they don’t clean their room, as this could lead to a power struggle and make them more likely to become uncooperative or entitled down the road.

Instead, try to focus on positive reinforcement and encourage them with compliments or rewards when they do a good job.

6. Teaching Your Child the Value of Organization 

Teaching your child the value of organization is another important step in getting them to take responsibility for keeping their room clean. 

Explain to them why it’s important to have a tidy space, such as how it will help them focus better or make them feel calmer.

You can also help them create a system for organizing their belongings, such as using labels on shelves, so they know where to put items away.

Tips for Keeping a Clean Room Long-Term 

Finally, there are some tips that parents can use to encourage their children to keep their room clean long-term.

  • Make sure to set reminders on their phones or calendars so that they remember to clean up periodically each week. 
  • Create a space in their room to store all their cleaning supplies and tools, such as a caddy with brushes, dusters, and other cleaning materials. This will make it easier for them to access the supplies they need to keep their room clean. 
  • Establish a consistent schedule for cleaning the room, such as every Saturday morning or evening.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should a 7-year-old clean their own room?

At the age of seven, it is not uncommon for children to want a bit extra independence and autonomy. Cleaning their own room gives kids that feeling of responsibility. 

At what age do kids stop being messy?

Typically, around ages 10-12, kids start to gain self-awareness and understand more concretely the impact of their behaviors; they become increasingly conscious of how their behavior affects the people around them, including their messes. Doesn’t mean they actually will, but hope for the best.

How do I get my kids to clean up without yelling?

The best way to encourage your kids to clean up without becoming frustrated or yelling is to set clear expectations for them. Explain what needs to be done and why it is important. Lay out specific tasks for each family member and create an incentive system for completing those tasks — kids are often motivated by rewards, such as extra screen time or even a simple high-five from Mom or Dad after the chore is complete.

How do you break a child’s laziness?

Talk with your child about their work ethic, expectations, and goals; be sure to emphasize the importance of hard work, dedication, and effort to succeed. Explain that while sometimes it can seem like they’re not getting anywhere, if they stay focused and put in the effort, they will make progress. Encourage them to start small by breaking down tasks into more manageable pieces and setting realistic short-term goals that can help keep them on track.

Wrapping it Up

Overall, getting a child to clean their room can be challenging but there are plenty of strategies that parents can use to help make it easier.

Setting expectations and providing incentives, establishing routines for cleaning, encouraging kids to take ownership of their space, making cleanup fun with games or rewards, and avoiding punishment or ultimatums can all help.

Additionally, teaching your child the value of organization and providing tips for keeping a clean room long-term will make it even easier to motivate them. 


  • Cam Russo

    Cam is a blogger, author, and content strategist with a keen love for the written word. His journey with high-functioning autism has kindled a strong advocacy for autism awareness. Today, Cam dedicates his efforts to educating parents. He sees laughter as a game-changer in learning, and strives every day to make education a fun and enjoyable journey for all his readers.