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Pamela Cole Harris of Home and Garden Makeover, invites you to reprint this article in your print publication, ezine, or on your website. This is a Free-Reprint article. The only requirements for publishing this article are:

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    Thank you for adhering to these four very simple rules.
    Teaching Your Child to Clean!
    Copyright 2004, Pamela Cole Harris

    When you call 911 because there is a distinct and suspicious 
    odor in the neighborhood and the culprit turns out to be two 
    pairs of sneakers, three pairs of underwear and a dozen or more 
    hotdog remnants of unknown origin and vintage found under your 
    child's bed, it's past time to get your child's room organized! 
    When your child has gotten lost for hours in the mounds of 
    clutter trying to find his way from the bed to the door, it's 
    past time to teach your child to organize himself! But if you 
    haven't reached that stage yet, there is still hope!
    Here are some tips to help you teach your children neatness 
    and organization:
    1. Your child learns by example. If the only clear area of 
       your home is the path from the sofa to the television to 
       the refrigerator and back, then it's time to commit to 
       organizing your home! Make the process a family project 
       so that your children can learn that everyone must pitch 
       in to keep the home tidy.
    2. Establish a routine and stick with it! Teach your child that 
       beds are made and toys are picked up every day. It is easier 
       for a child to clean a room a little every day, rather than 
       be faced with a huge mess all at once.
    3. Provide plenty of storage - shelves, plastic storage 
       containers, hampers, etc. Create a special storage area 
       out of a plastic storage unit made for storing garden tools. 
       Attach laundry bags in colorful colors to the hooks meant 
       for rakes and shovels. Spray paint the unit in a cheerful 
       color to match the room. Voila! A fun storage area!
    4. Reward your child's cleaning and organizing efforts with 
       fun! Make a checklist of tasks with a reward when the tasks 
       are completed such as permission to watch a favorite show, 
       time to play a favorite computer game, a special story time 
       with you or staying up an hour past bedtime. Simple rewards 
       such as these will provide an incentive to keep up the good 
       work! Make a game of cleaning! This works especially well 
       with young children. A game of "Pick Up" to see which of you 
       can pick up more clothes within a certain time limit or a 
       game of "Hide the Clothes in the Hamper" will make cleaning 
       more fun!
    5. Be specific. Telling a child to "clean that room" can set 
       the stage for failure and frustration. The task may seem 
       overwhelming! But telling your child to pick up the clothes 
       which are on the floor allows your child to focus in on a 
       specific, achievable task.
    6. Limit the amount of "stuff" your child has. Once a month, go 
       through your child's room together and give toys and clothes 
       that have been outgrown and are no longer needed to those 
       less fortunate. Not only will your child's room stay cleaner, 
       but they will learn a valuable lesson in sharing and giving.
    Although you may think it inevitable, the process of keeping 
    your child's bedroom clean need not be a war! If you are 
    consistent with the rules, your child will learn what is 
    expected and do it (eventually!). If you are inconsistent, 
    you have already lost the battle! Better stock up on flashlights 
    and compasses in case you need to find your way to their closet! 

    Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and decorator for thirty-five years (YIKES! Has it been that long?). She is the author of "Home and Garden Design Tips", a free weekly syndicated home and garden content service for your website. Get the code at http://www.homeandgardenmakeover.com/content_syndication.html . And while you are there, sign up for her monthly newsletter! And visit her other sites at http://www.pajamabusinesses.com and http://www.thewellfedtraveler.com .

    More Articles Written by Pamela Cole Harris

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