I was reminded of our system when a mom in a facebook group struggling with a child who didn’t just clean their room when told. I can’t take credit for it; someone else in another mom group shared the idea with the group over a year ago. I wish I knew the person so I could credit them. I’m not saying that this has been completely life changing, but it has made life better.
I don’t think it’s just neurodivergent kids that need this; all kids could probably benefit from having the vague “clean your room!” broken down into specific steps. And then having those steps written out for future reference so there is no “I forgot” option. Heck, even I would profit from using these steps if I actually, you know, cleaned my room…
- Clear off your bed, then make it.
- Put all dirty laundry in the hamper and all clean laundry away.
- Put things that belong in your room away in their place.
- Put things that do NOT belong in your room away where they belong (or returned to the person responsible for them.)
- Throw away garbage!
That’s it. Now, when you have a ton of things out of place some of those steps can still take a long time. I let the boys have breaks or split the steps up between multiple days if it’s really bad. Clearing off and making their bed first is so they have a sorting/staging area for the rest of the steps. With younger kids, for things that do not belong in their room I have them put them right outside their door in the hall, and I often take those from there.
Sorry it’s not a printable but all you have to do is write the steps with numbers on a sheet of paper and make it look however cool, decorated, or plain as you want. Some kids do better with a visual picture along with it, while others may be fine with words only. I have no idea how to share documents on the blog yet. But WeHaveKids.com has a visual schedule for cleaning the room that is very similar to my list and can be easily customized/amended with scissors as desired.