How to Get My 10 Year Old to Clean His Room.

Updated on January 16, 2007
K.B. asks from Mishawaka, IN
12 answers

Any suggestions on how to get a 10 year old boy to clean his room, it is an absolute pig stye. I have tried yelling, grounding, I finally broke down and cleaned it last Sunday and it is already a mess, can not walk in there, he just will not pick things up when he is done. And it is mainly clothes, blankets and trash (food stuff). I have even tried telling him he can't take food or drinks to his room. But he ends up sneaking them up there when I'm at work or not looking. Help Any suggestions...

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answers from Indianapolis on

Yes I have some ideas!!
I had this problem with my son(now 18) and I took everything except his bed out of his room. When he decided to keep it clean, I let him have things back. I did not allow him to play his video games in my living room, so the only place he had was his bedroom and without a tv you can't play video games or watch tv. It took about a week and that was it, now I can't say he kept it totally spotless, but at least the smell and the clutter was gone and now he keeps his room orderly and livable!

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answers from Charleston on

Hi K.
I have an 11 year old daughter who was the same way
with her I told her what ever she did not have picked up and put away by Monday was going to be thrown away
and with that I got a I don't care.
so Monday came and her room still looked the same
I got a garbage bag put all her stuff in it and put it in my closet.
when she came home for school she went into her room and came running out MOM Tell me you did not throw my stuff away!
I turned to her and said yes I did.
she was so mad she went back into her room and started tossing things around.
I walked in and told her anything left on the floor would be thrown away if she did not pick it up before going to bed.
the next morning ever thing was back it it's place.
and a week latter I gave her back her stuff
she did not say a word just hugged me and said Oh mom I thought It was gone forever lol



answers from Des Moines on

I know what you are going through! I have an 11 year old son and an 11 year old step-son who share the same room and it is a pig stye also! What my husband and I do is we tell the boys that they have to stay in there room until it is cleaned. (which might take awhile but usually works) If that doesn't work for you, ask your son what his most favorite thing to play with is. If he doesn't clean his room take that thing away until the room is cleaned. I think it is just a boy thing. When you clean his room for him, is he in there helping you? If not, I would make him be in there with you. He's the one who made the mess. Good Luck!!! If you find something that works, PLEASE post it!



answers from Sioux City on

I have a way to get him to get moving, but to some it may sound pretty harsh. When my daughter was that age and refused to clean her room, I gave her a reasonable time limit to get the job done and let her know that anything not taken care of would be thrown away. Now, the catch is this: you as the parent have to be willing to follow through with this threat and really throw out your child's belongings. Anything not put away must be placed in a garbage bag and put in the trash outside. I can almost guarantee success! This lets your child know that sever consequences will be executed, so he better do what he's told. As for the items in the trash, as long as they are not keepsakes, like something hand made from his grandma, don't worry about it. It's not your problem.



answers from Indianapolis on

I too was told to take everything away except there bed. I had my nephew with me for a long time and he was like this. I said that is just mean. and I could get in trouble for this , I was then told bye a case worker that I ask and was told , we are here to make sure they have a roof, warm place to sleep(even if on the floor) and food, anything beyond that is a priveledge and to take it all if you have too. That shocked me BUT before he left here he kept his room cleaner than I do mine. I know it is hard and seems cruel, but it works and they need to learn, if you have tried everything else. Let me know how it turns out.



answers from Louisville on

O.K. this may sound a little cruel, but it works! I had the same problem not so long ago with my 2 daughters one is 7 and the oldest is 10. They never wanted to clean up after themselves, So what I would do is go into their room after what seemed like hours of threatening and yelling, When I went in there I would have a big black trash bag in my hand and said ok if I have to do it then it all goes to the trash. Well I would put everything in the bag (pay no attention to the tears cause you probably will get them i'm sure) I tied the bag up and said out it goes, Well I would place the bag on the porch until they went to sleep and while they thought it was outside in the trash, I really took it out back to the shed and I left it there for about 3 months or so. I gave it back to them after that period. Well let's just say it was like Christmas morning. I told them now next time mommy has to do it, I will do it for real. So now they keep everything picked up without me even saying a word! Hope this helps, Good Luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

When we were young my mom invented the "Lucky Box". She would come around once a day and put everything in a box/ garbage bag. We had to earn it back or it got donated. In some cases my brother only had one or two pairs of underwear left. It was called the the "Lucky Box" because you were lucky if you got it back!

We also have the no eating in your bedroom rule at home. We are pretty strict about this. I have no intentions of little friends coming to stay. Anyway if he is disobeying a rule their should be a consequence. Not cleaning your rooom is being a slob, but disrespecting your parents rules should not be put up with. Good luck.



answers from Omaha on

Your son sounds like my son who is nine. I have a 17 yr old daughter who can't keep her room clean either. I have broken down many times in years past and cleaned it for them only to have a mess again within a few days. I too have threatened, grounded, yelled etc but to no avail. I have even entertained the idea of going in there one day while he is at school and taking everything to the goodwill. If there is nothing in there, there won't be a mess, other than dirty clothes. The only hope I can give you is that it was the same with my oldest daughter who is now 27. She finally learned late in her teenage years how to keep her room clean, and now as an adult, her apt is always kept up. So eventually I think the yelling and grounding works, it just takes a while to kick in.



answers from Des Moines on

My kids are that old yet, but we go through periods when they do well and not so well. they are 3 & 2 and it's really not to young to start understanding the cause and effect of not doing chores. First, I ask. Second, I get down and start helping them. I choose a toy that needs to be put away and give it to them to put in it's place. sometimes this can take a little longer than you'd like, but in the end it's worth it. Third, if they just won't I box up anything out and just tell them these are gone, no more toys. then I put them up for a month or 2. Most of the time, I think when kids are stubborn about doing what they should, it's because they crave your attention. When my kids feel like they are are getting what they need then do what I need like keep toys picked up. Yes, they are young but repetition is everything, be consistent. my son (3) will finish a book and walk past the shelf and set it down there instead of leaving it on the couch. If he's naughty, he'll sometimes take himself to the naughty chair. Good Luck.



answers from Evansville on

I too have a 10 yr old boy ---Room was in same situation as your sons. I had also spent about 4 hrs in it cleaning it myself and then it got messy again. I finally had to just take the TV and Playstation away until it was cleaned and he finally got it all picked up. When it starts getting out of sorts, I remind about the TV and Playstation and so far this seems to be working.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I've got a great suggestion for you. If the rule is "keep your room clean" then why let him get away with not cleaning it? If I had a child that age who wasn't listening to one of my rules, I'd tell him that every morning, whatever is left on the floor after he leaves for school, goes into the trash. I bet he'd start cleaning his room after the first day he came home to find his clothes on the floor aren't in the house anymore. He's 10 years old....don't let him decide what rules to follow and which ones to ignore. If you let that happen now, you'll be in big trouble when he starts acquiring more freedom in the future and will be expected to follow things such as curfews and such.



answers from Huntington on

hi, I know when i was younger, I did the same thing. So what my mother ended up doing is, making a chart of what had to be done and a reward was given if the chore was done and it could be anything. Something that was my favorite, like nintendo my mom would take it away from me if i didn't clean my room or would let me talk on the phone. Find something that is his favorite and take it away and then if he decides to do his chore let him have something to reward him for doing it. If he didn't clean everything, give him a limited time on whatever he wants and if he wants to do it longer (example: tv time if he wants to watch tv, limit it for an hour if he cleaned somethings if he decides to clean it all give him a little longer to watch tv)I dont know if this will help but it worked with me.

A little about me: I am a single mother of a two year old and go to school full time and work full time. I love scrapbooking and spending time with my daughter.

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