How I got my kids to clean their rooms

It seems as if it would be easier to pick up a greased watermelon than to get my kids to clean their room.  And probably less frustrating.  Okay, I have no idea where that came from!  But, it is seriously hard.  I have probably tried everything.  And you know what?  I remember not liking to clean my room when I was little.  I STILL don't like cleaning my room.  But, at least I can walk through my room without the danger of inflicting serious damage to any part of my body.  

I was going to try to let their rooms get as messy as they wanted them to and not help them find anything.
I was going to  just let them live with it.  I don't know if you've ever read "Oh, Bother! Someone's Messy".  It's a Winnie the Pooh book. 
Oh, Bother! Someone's Messy! (Disney's Winnie the Pooh Helping Hands Book)
In the book, Kanga decided she was tired of trying to get Roo to clean his room.  So, she was going to "ignore" it and let Roo deal with it.  At one point, Roo told Kanga that he couldn't find his bed.  She told him, "Sorry.  You can either clean it off or sleep on the couch".  Something like that.  I don't have the book in front of me right now. 

I tried this approach for a couple days and just couldn't stand it any more.  I get really frustrated with them when they "clean" their room.  Logan in particular, because he's incapable of picking up LEGOs without building with them.  So, cleaning his room takes forever.  And I understand!  I get distracted sometimes too.  A lot!  But, when it's time to get the job done, it's time to get the job done.  

And here's a funny thing.  When he "cleans", he cleans the way I did when I was little.  You might remember this trick. . . he stuffs stuff behind things and under things.  I soooo remember doing that as a child!  But, now that I'm a mom, I'm digging things out and making him put them in the right place.

I've tried raising my voice.  And how well do you think that method works?  That only leads to more frustration and bad feelings all around.  And usually to me apologizing.  I always apologize.  I don't want my kids to think that that behavior is okay.  Because it's not.

I know that telling them to clean their room when their rooms have already reached that level of complete chaos is overwhelming.  It's overwhelming for me to walk in there.  So, this is what I've found that works~~
Ha ha ha.  No, really!  It works.  If you break their jobs down for them and ask them to complete one task at a time, it works!  Only give them 2 smarties for each job finished.  I only used two rolls of smarties for both kids.  I've also used coins before.  But, smarties really work.  So, for example, the tasks could be, "pick up all of your clothes", "put all of your blankets and stuffed animals back into your bed", pick up all of your crayons, pencils, etc", "put all of your books onto your book shelf", until the room is cleaned.  

Logan was actually coming up with some of his own pretty smart ideas.  He took ownership of cleaning his room.  And that's what we want them to do, right?  We want them to do the work and feel good about it.  So, I had to go about it by bribing them with sugar. . .

Is keeping the bedroom clean an ongoing battle at your house?

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