My son and I have different definitions of a clean room. Truth be told, my definition and his had much more in common when I was a few decades younger.
Actually, truth be told, I have never been the neatest person around, but try to maintain some semblance of order. Everything has its place, but not everything ends up there.
Even after several years of asking him to find a place for his clothes and toys, not everything has its place. Unless you count the closet floor or the northwest corner of his room as a legitimate “place”.
I have tried bribing, threatening, explaining, and lecturing. Each is met with the same reply: “I know where everything is.”
Except when he does not know where everything is…which can happen several times each week.
My idea well has just about run dry, and I sense parenting with some balance may pay off.
First, my son must learn to do what I ask when I ask him to do it. Honestly, he may resist at first if a different activity seems more appealing. And almost everything except homework and flossing seems more appealing.
Second, he should understand (and by default I must adequately explain) the why. I suspect he already understand why someone should keep their room straightened up, but I can remind him of times he has not been able to find something.
Third, I need to help him determine what “clean” means to him and what it means to others. I had a roommate who had a very different definition of “doing the dishes” than I did…and we had to work it out. My son will have to work it out as he gets older and lives in different places with different people.
Fourth, I should encourage him to think less of the chore and more about the convenience. One day he will understand the beauty of knowing the location of clean socks and his rugby jersey, instead of rummaging through piles of clothes he has not put away looking for them at the last minute,
Fifth, I need to make sure I affirm his good decisions and when he does a stellar job at other duties. He excels at opening doors for ladies and helping with the puppies. Offering praise for him for a job well done may result in improvements in more challenging areas.
What chore do you constantly nag your kids to do? What chore did your parents nag you about?