Telling my children to go make their beds and clean their rooms isn’t the issue. The issue is that they get into their rooms and get distracted.
Distracted by books, toys, papers, music, etc… Sometimes I use “go clean your room” as a form of peace and quiet from them. I know they will play with their toys. I know they will start by picking up a shirt off the ground and then spend the next hour reading my old Calvin and Hobbes books. I also know that I will be left alone. Win-win except that their rooms remain messy.
In the off chance that I really do want them to have clean rooms, I have to specify that I want it to be “Dad Clean”. This sometimes involves an idle threat of taking away all toys that I see on the ground. This doesn’t help. The only way that they will get their rooms to my level of cleanliness is if I am there to micro-manage them. This brings on a whole new level of fear. Stuff gets grabbed from my hands and is quickly put where it belongs. As much as this wastes my time, it gets done to the level of clean that I like. “Dad Clean”. Today is not the day for me to micro-manage them. I wanted a bit of peace to write my blog, so I let them think I was going to throw everything out.
My son has mastered the art of shoving stuff under his bed. His books get jammed into the bookshelf without any care or attention. He also spread his blanket to hide the extra stuffed animals and Lightsabers he has in his room. At least I was able to walk in and take a picture to show it off.
My daughters are pretty good at using their closets as a dumping ground. I never check there, but if my wife does, the girls better be prepared to not have laundry folded for them for at least a week or two. That being said, our 12 year old daughter is really good at cleaning one area and showcasing it off. Today her bed is nice and neat with her stuffed animals all laid out on display. The rest of her room still looks like a bomb went off, but hey- at least she can sleep tonight.
Maybe one day they will actually clean their rooms by themselves to the level of my standard, but today is not that day. Perhaps I need to lead by example…