I DON'T DO TEENAGERS ◽ HOME
If you have teens in the house, you only have them a few more years before they exit your home for college…and then for good. They will then clean their own toilets, beds, clothes and bodies, without your constant reminders. And teens can be downright dirty in the way they eat in bed, throw their clothes on the floor and leave the bathroom a wreck when trying to get ready for a date or visit with friends!
Cleaning really can be an art, something enjoyable, and it has to be taught – whether or not they completely learn it or not. If we show them the way, hopefully they’ll get sick of their filth and remember that way and walk in it (we can hope!) Of course, some teens are clean freaks by nature, but most of them are not…and neither were we!
Here are a few ideas for teaching your teens the art of cleaning:
First, sit down with your teens and talk about cleanliness and what is expected as long as they live under your roof. Don’t belittle them or despise their filth, but rather just state the facts – if they want to be trusted, gain privileges and be helped out with gas and fun, then they will contribute to a clean house. Period.
Let them buy the cleaning products for their own bathroom and take ownership for that space. Maybe they can learn a skill of making a DIY cleaning product that’s safe and effective. Perhaps they’d like to set up a caddy with their own supplies that are not yours. They might enjoy buying a specific fragrance to spray or candle to burn. Once their space is really theirs, maybe they’ll keep it clean.
Teach them to use the washer/dryer and give them a day of their choice that’s totally their day to wash and dry. If he’s working and only is off on Monday evening, then that’s the night that the washroom is clean from our own things, and open for his. Make this happen weekly, so that he can strip his bed, wash his clothes, and put everything away. If possible, provide teens with two sets of sheets, so they can switch one out for the other. Affirm them, notice their closet that’s straight, thank them, and love them. Again, allow the teen their own choice of products, perhaps a wrinkle releaser, cute hangers for the closet, and suggestions of places to give and donate old clothing.
Good hygiene is a must for our teens, especially as they start to interview for jobs. Also, if they play sports and work out, smelly bodies are not attractive! Don’t make them embarrassed, but shop with them the first time as they choose deodorant, shampoo, wash cloths, makeup removers, hygiene powders and other products for their faces, bodies and feet. The theme in this article is ownership. Let them choose (within a budget) their own products and provide cute caboodles or cool zipper pouches to house their personal products.
One of the best ways to train our teens in the art of cleaning is by being good stewards of our things and ourselves, as well. Sure, we will all have piles of laundry, stinky bodies, and dirty sheets on weeks where life gets crazy. But as a general rule, they need to see us try to maintain good health spiritually, physically and in the spaces where we live. We can always offer to pitch in and help them on weeks that are busy, and hopefully they just might do the same for us when they see us under pressure.
Teens are fickle sometimes. Teens can be terrible at taking care of what they own – did I mention the inside of their cars? They will fail, they will get behind, and we’ll all scream a time or two, “Clean up this mess!”
Art takes skill, time, patience and enjoyment. And so does cleaning. I hate unloading the dishwasher, and he doesn’t mind it, so he often does it for me. I love ironing, as many of my friends know and wonder about, but I do! So I iron his shirts and keep our clothes buttoned on the hangers, and straight. Teens will learn by example, by patience and by giving them ownership and accolades. Yes, we all need a little “Good job” now and then…