One of the biggest struggles here at the Brouse House is room cleaning.  I am not naturally neat and, go figure, neither are my kids.  Some of them may be, but they live here, so it remains to be seen.  I am not here to tell you that your kids have to keep their rooms straight, picked up, or clean all the time to be good kids and for you to be a good mama.  Nope, dropped that standard years ago, happily.

My goal is communication.

I am here to tell you that our children have to know what we mean before they can learn to do what we tell them. In special education, we called it a working definition.

See, when I say, “Go clean your room!”  I have one definition of that, but there are six children with six different definitions of that who walk away to complete the task. Add on the fact that sometimes I don’t actually mean do all the tasks I sometimes mean and you have a real problem. Many more definitions walking away (don’t ask for odds and numbers, that’s not my gig).

When I go to check their rooms… problemo. I get mad and they get mad.  Where does the fault lie?  Smack dab in my lap often.

But not anymore.

Years ago, I did something that helped.  It helped lots. And then I lost the tool I’m about to share with you.  And my kids brains didn’t stay trained. Well, actually the two who were old enough to learn the tools’s goal did.  So, that’s something.

But, as is common with moms of large families, I forgot that there often isn’t trickle down learning on all of the things I want trickled down.

Room cleaning is one.

So… a few nights ago I remembered that the fuss is usually, “I didn’t know you meant clean that!” or “I didn’t you wanted me to do that today!”

I decided to write down the tasks I say over and over and clarify what I mean because, honestly, I don’t always mean the same thing, which isn’t fair to the kiddos.  I’m cleaning up my language (not that way!) and clarifying the expectations.

This is what I ended up with for our family.

Room expectations WEB

See, I don’t always mean they have to do everything on the “Clean your room” list, so I clarified.  I will start saying either “Pick up your room” or “Clean your room” and they’ll have the printed, placed in a page protector, taped to the back of their bedroom door list.

Yes, I had to spell things out.  That isn’t bad.  It’s fair.

Sure, it would be nice if they remembered it on their own.  That isn’t always life.

No, you don’t see dusting on this list at all.  That’s life here at the Brouse House.

My original poster had icons next to the words because both of the kids weren’t readers yet, yes it was that long ago.  Paul Louis is on the brink of reading well enough for this list and take read the first words, so I think he is ok.  Plus he has his room buddy Esther to read it.

Today, I’m giving you my document in case you’d like to use it.

Room Expectations

I also made one with icons for you, in case you have pre-readers and like the list.  Of course, you can add tasks to your list.  Do what works for your family.

Room Expectations with Visuals

Clarify your particular expectations.

You’ll all be happier for it.  Trust me.

And to further clarify, this list does not and will not ensure the rooms stay clean.  That’s a totally different goal and requires scheduling.  It’s up to you for when and how often you ask the kids to do the tasks on this list.

Someday, I hope to not hear “Oh, are we having company?” when I ask them to clean their room, but I will be happy to just keep the rooms picked up.  I’m not freaked out that it’s not normal life for us to have super tidy rooms 24/7.  It’s just not how I roll.

And I’m ok with that.

Time to make an expectations list for the bathroom, don’t you think?

{don’t forget to enter this fantastic prize package for the Jamberry Nails giveaway!}

Where do the expectations get dropped at your house? 

Clean Your Room WEB

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