Parents the world over will agree: if there's one thing they struggle with, it's getting their kids to clean up their rooms.
Piles of clothes, bunches of Barbies with matted hair and missing arms, dirty socks, Lego blocks under the bed . . . the sanctuary you so lovingly gave you little darling can quickly turn into a warzone. But it can pay off sometimes too.
Just ask eight-year-old Emily from Glasgow Scotland.
She recently won the title of the UK’s messiest bedroom, which landed her an amazing new children’s bed worth £400 (over R8 400).
“Emily unfortunately treats her room like more of a changing room and spends almost all her time in the family room instead. Aren’t we lucky,” her father, Steve, told Glasgow Live. "Anytime tidying is enforced it takes no more than a week to revert back to looking like a bomb zone. I’m hoping a new bed inspires positive change and behaviour."
Emily came out top of the grubby pile after over 100 picture entries from across Britain were sent to bed retailer Happy Beds for their messy bedroom competition.
"Parents from across the UK have been sharing shocking pictures of their children’s messy bedrooms, with images showing toys and beds in total disarray, and very little carpet space!” Happy Beds shared. "[After] sifting through over 100 messy bedrooms, Happy Beds has crowned Emily the messiest child of 2021."
Tidying up is important. A study published by the University of Minnesota says household chores for kids “help to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance”. But how to promote cleanliness without being a nag?
“Calm, explanatory, kind communication is key, and praising your child's efforts such as telling them their room is much cleaner than it was before can encourage them to repeat this behaviour and clean more often,” neuropsychologist Dr Sanam Hafeez shared in an interview with Romper magazine.
Whether Emily will be inspired to clean more regularly remains to be seen, of course. The little girl came up against some tough competition:
“We all know that getting children to tidy their rooms can be a difficult task and we feel for these parents,” Lucy Bolland, marketing manager at Happy Beds told Ladbible. “It's important to have a tidy room to help you feel peaceful and sleep well.
“We hope Emily loves her new bed and that this is an incentive to keep her room tidier in future,” said Lucy.
- Toddlers can’t exactly clean, but they can help pick up small items and push a button on the vacuum. Get the little ones, from as young as 3, involved in tidy-up time.
- Communicate with your kids about germs and why it’s important to clean.
- Make it a family task – set the timer on a clock and get everyone involved in a race to sweeping the floor or wiping down counters.
- Include clean-up time in playdates. If the kids are expecting company, try to set aside time devoted to clearing up any mess that’s made.
- Add incentives such as an increase in allowance or treats once tasks are done timeously.
SOURCES: LADBIBLE.COM; GLASGOWLIVE.COM; ROMPER.COM; NBCNEWS.COM; HEART.CO.UK