This is a stock photo, but I'm LIVING this. LIVING.IT. The current state of affairs in certain people's bedrooms is actually worse. It's WORSE! I really get after my kids on the days the dog walker comes, and I quote myself, "You GUYS, I am a parent educator AND a professional organizer - we can't let Allen SEE this! We ARE a LOVELY family. Pick this crap up!" And because my kids love me and don't give a rat's a** about my job title(s), like order, don't mind disorder - sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. I've gotten more or less zen about the 85% compliance -- I'm getting super ok with a B average these days, but that's another blog.
Here's the point, parents are at a loss riding that wave of helping kids clean up their room and letting it go. May I offer some assistance with a script?
Parent: Yo! Your room is . . . well . . . there really are no words . . . Grammy is coming at the end of the week and I just can't deal with her judgey eye rolls -- can you help me out? (Notice parent did not call the child a wreck or disrespectful or a slob. The parent owned the problem.)
Child: Um, not now. (A tween is a tween, is a tween - don't be expecting no miracles!)
Parent: Ok, and I'm guessing you might NEVER feel like doing this. How about at 4:00 today, I'll bring tea up for me and do you want an Izzy or a Bubble water? (Beverages can be very motivating to get people to do boring things.)
Child: (Groan!) That's so lame Mom! (A tween is a tween, is a tween - don't be expecting no miracles!)
Parent: Ok, unless you have a better time today, 4:00 it is, I'll surprise you with your beverage. How long do you think you can tolerate tidying your room together? (Please don't try the, "We are DOING this until we are DONE" business. This parent is firing humor, beverages, calmness, asking questions - hopefully it will wire organizing to it. (Refer to last blog for a refresher on what gets fired together gets wired together.) Imagine if your child has the thought - 'Organizing - oh, no big deal, short amount of time, fun beverage and no drama - a life long useful habit! Using words like tolerate gets to the heart of the matter. They don't wanna, they don't feel like it, AND they can tolerate stuff for a prescribed amount of time.)
Child: (eye roll, snort, groan, sigh) - 20 minutes. (Kids usually KNOW what is reasonable-ish, not always, but inviting them to come up with part of the solution is respectful and generally effective.)
Parent: Got it. I will set at timer for 15 and then we can put things to rights with the last 5 minutes. (A key organizing tool is to keep time & energy for putting donate stuff in bag, chucking un-sorted items into a bin, throwing out trash and just generally to and fro-ing all the stuff that doesn't belong in the room. A BIG mistake is to work for 20 minutes and then have junk all in the hallway in unclear piles.)
Tune in next week at the same Balanced - time, same Balanced-channel (blog)* and we'll hear how our parent/child is getting along tidying up that bedroom!