HELP – How do I get my seven year old to keep his room tidy? 26


This was tidy 1 hour before I took this picture! 

Help, MiniMad’s bedroom resembles a bomb site

I am in need of some help and advice people of the interweb.  Mini Mad’s has an issue with keeping his bedroom tidy and I have to admit I am finding it exceedingly hard to deal with.

Maxi is a rather neat child and his room is kept pretty much in order and all I ever need to do is give it a quick hoover and dust and maybe put a few things away every now and then.  He even makes his bed on a morning.

Mini, on the other hand doesn’t seem to do anything other than make his room a mess.

We have tried to make sure that he has sufficient storage and have even considered a single bed with storage too.  He has two book cases, but his books are always on the floor.  He has a desk, but his pens are always on the floor with his notebooks. He has two clothes rails in his wardrobe that he can reach, but his clothes are always on the floor. He has shelves and a storage basket for his teddies, but does he use them?  I even gave him a basket for his shoes, but no, they end up everywhere on the floor.

We know that his room could do with an update, but I am loathed to decorate again, at least until he has some respect for his belongings and room.

Today I went in to find he hadn’t even bothered to open his blind, make his bed or remove his water bottles for the last three days.

I feel like I am sharing my home with a teenager not a seven year old.

So, people of experience, please can you help me.  How do I deal with this, whilst I still can.


26 thoughts on “HELP – How do I get my seven year old to keep his room tidy?

  • the mummy madness

    We have been using something called mum bucks, where my son earns time playing on the ipod or watching tv. He has been non stop and asking for more chores so he can earn more time!

  • Jo Bryan

    Oh dear I am not going to be much help, I have a tidy child and a messy child, both now 18, my messy child has finally got it tidyish, we are talking last few weeks and he is soon to be 19. Now I have stopped moaning, nagging, bribing, doing it myself, I just explained on a rare listening moment it made me happy, nothing more. At the age of your son, he would do it if I sanctioned him or offered a deal, but it was not a long lasting affair.

    At that age a mini chore list and not asking too much worked, with occasional rewards for putting books away, keeping games in crates etc, again not always working without a nudge. I like the Mum bucks idea, but I also think it creates a doing something all the time for a reward and I caught this happening with my son, what will I get for doing something, when his twin did it for nothing, even though I fairly rewarded her. It just creeps into an expectation, if that makes sense.

  • Sonya Cisco

    My teenager is a nightmare for this, and always has been! Bribery worked at that age- she got a pocket money bonus if her room was tidy. That stopped working when she got a saturday job- these days I threaten to put a password on the broadband!

  • Kate Thompson

    OMG! The OCD in me would be jumping up and down at that room! I fine my older two if they don’t respond to a tidy up request 😉 usually works well!

  • Mums do travel

    I, too, have a messy child. She’s 15 now and I just keep her bedroom door closed and don’t let it bother me. I’m naturally very tidy and the rest of the house is fine. I don’t want to be constantly nagging her about something which actually doesn’t matter so I don’t. Occasionally I get her to put everything away so that her room can be cleaned. This usually works if she’s having a friend over for a sleepover or is after some new clothes – I say that the sleepover/ new clothes can’t happen unless and until her room is tidy. Good luck with your son!

  • laura redburn

    my sister and i were awful at keeping our rooms tidy, but then we just grew out of it. i think part of it was that our parent’s didn’t make a HUGE deal out of it. so we were less likely to ‘rebel’ and keep it messy.

  • Keri-Anne

    I don’t have any advice but i remember being just as untidy. One a month, i remember being banished downstairs whilst my mum went into mine and my sisters room with a black bin and blitzed our room. By bedtime, it was messy again!! x

  • Terry

    Oh my!! I remember those days when I used to try to get my Daughter to keep her room clean. I think it was a losing battle. I even went so far as to box lots of her toys up and give them away. Wishing you lots of luck!

  • Michelle

    His room, his mess! I’ve always encouraged my boy to keep his bedroom neat and tidy so that he can find things he needs for school, or when he was younger, that he wanted to play with. If he didn’t, I certainly wasn’t going to go in every day and tidy it up when he’s old enough to have that responsibility!

    I’m sorry, I don’t have the answers to the question! It’s an eternal one asked by parents for generation!!

  • Lucy Dorrington

    My daughter is now 18 and she is not naturally tidy, and my son is eight and would definitely rather make mess than sort it. The only real long term strategies that have ever worked are having a daily ‘tidy up time’, when everything stops to tidy. This teaches that it’s better to keep on top of it, and if you put things away as you go, instead of leaving everything out, your tidy up time will be shorter and you will have more time to play! Also, never tidy unobserved! I know it’s tempting to tidy up when everyone is out of the way, but I feel this is the mistake I made with my daughter, I always used to do it when she was in bed or at school, but never seeing me tidy, meant she probably thought that everything put itself away and no effort was required! Children need to see the behaviour you want, so make sure he sees you doing general tidying chores and he may just get the idea! 🙂

  • Steph

    I’m afraid mine are too small for me to help with any experience – but I do remember my dad battling with one of my brothers constantly. I’m one of six and noone else seemed to row about it, but he was soooo messy. Maybe it’s something to do with asserting independence..? Not helpful, I know!

  • Bek

    My six year old son is exactly the same! I have found that discussing how we could re-decorate his room has helped. I told him that we would not do any painting, etc. until it was tidier. He has chosen the colour he would like it, plus pictures he wants to put up. It is now much tidier. Unfortunately, we now have to re-decorate in there. It does need it though.

  • Clare Mansell

    H’mmm I have a husband who sometimes doesn’t open blinds/curtains, forgets to turn lights off and doesn’t see mess… I think some people just don’t even register it!

  • Cass@frugalfamily

    Mine are allowed no friends in while their rooms are messy and no electronics until it’s tidy. It’s on our chore chart that they must give their rooms a proper tidy up on a Saturday and if it doesn’t pass inspection then they don’t get their pocketmoney x x

  • Julie

    I can completely understand your frustration. No idea what to suggest – Islay is the same, the boys are much better. I can get Islay to improve temporarily with bribery but nothing works for more than a few days. i do remember that I was pretty bad – that all sorted when I lived with my aunt in London for a few months after finishing school – she was lovely but pretty severe if I left things messy! Good luck and let me know if you find anything that works! Juliex

  • Three times the mischief

    Can you limit the tidying to one set time per week? That way his room gets tidied enough for you to wizz through without having to be perfect all the time. Also maybe change your mentality about the issue. Do you have to live in that space…no. Does Mini actively disrespect his things.(break them etc)…no. in that case maybe it’s not the end of the world if your “tidy” and his “tidy” are different.
    Also (I’m sure you have) but have you asked him what would help him keep his room tidy/explained the benefits of a clean space?
    My Grandma was a psychologist and she was the only person who didn’t nag me about my bomb site of a room growing up. I asked her why once. She said “because children need their space to be theirs”.
    You are doing a great job by role modelling a clean and tidy home 🙂 x

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