Maybe it was slipping on the piles of drawing paper left by the dresser, or maybe it was the puncture wound from stepping on the tail of a miniature airplane; as I hobbled over to my son’s clothes basket, I resolve that this year my child is keeping his room clean! I’m not unreasonable; he is seven, obsessed with cars, planes, and drawing. I don’t expect eat-off-the-floor clean. I just want a room clean enough that, in case of an emergency, a firefighter won’t break his/her leg and add to the casualty count.
I’ve been lax until now. Being a single mom, going to college full-time, and dealing with an autistic, hyperactive child at times strained my patience to the breaking point. A clean bedroom wasn’t as important as studying, doing homework, or avoiding my son’s frequent meltdowns that could last an hour, leaving both my son and I emotionally exhausted.
Looking at my son’s room, I realize it isn’t going to be as bad as I feared. He groups his toys. Cars are separated from planes, monster trucks from his trains. I just need a place for everything off the floor. I have a plan.
A visit to second hand stores is in order. A multi-shelf entertainment center will be perfect for the airplanes and the hundreds of cars he owns. My son likes to line up his toys and he likes to decorate; I can already see his cars filling the shelves in neat rows, like a car dealership’s lot.
A will hold his books. The only one he “reads” right now is a coffee table book that has all the airplanes ever made in it. He has worn this one to tatters. The rest of the books are “work”, which is how he refers to anything that resembles school assignments.
A plastic container will be perfect for his drawings and paper. I go through them occasionally, weeding out the “masterpieces” from the average. He is a prolific artist, and can go through half a tablet of drawing paper at a sitting. A smaller plastic container, slid inside, will keep all his pens, markers, and pencils neat and easily at hand.
The clothes basket has to go. A hamper is more visually appealing, and, unlike a basket, will keep it from becoming a repository of cast-off toys.
I’m not going to sweat the bed. My son likes to sleep with his favorite toy, which at this time is a two foot aircraft carrier. Better on the bed then on the floor!
The only thing left is to schedule the cleaning time. My son is a visual learner, and a clock with hands helps him transition from one activity to another. I will schedule a quick “cleanup time” from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. This will emphasize play time is over and bedtime is coming.
Wish me luck! It is time to get this party started.