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Tips and resources for healthy family routines -- for your mornings, during your daily schedule, and on to bedtime.

Guest Expert Photo

WebMD Expert Discussion: The Clean Room Battle

Some parents are strict about the level of mess in their child’s bedroom, requiring regular cleanups. Others just close the door and figure that because the child has to live with it, he can decide when to clean it.

In any case, no matter how old your child is, odds are that his or her room doesn’t look like the pristine pictures in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. Maybe it’s just a little messy. Maybe there are food products under the bed that are developing their own civilization. Either way, WebMD guest parenting expert Tanya Altmann, MD, says you need to get your child on a regular clean-up schedule.

First, make clear what you expect, especially for a younger child. In the online discussion about Healthy Family Routines, she advises making a list of things your child needs to do each morning or evening: Make the bed? Put toys away? Put books on the shelf? Then make up clean-up games and work with your young child.

For older children, priorities may need to be set or the bedroom can quickly become a Hazmat site. At a minimum, food must go out of the bedroom and dirty clothes must go in the hamper.

At all ages, accept that your child probably won’t clean the way you would, Altmann says. Be positive about what she diddo -- she folded the clothes -- instead of what she didn’t do -- put them away in the drawer. And remember: children learn by example. If your ownbedroom is a bit of a mess, let them see you cleaning it up.

In this online discussion, one mom noted that all children respond differently to cleaning; some like it more than others. She suggested setting aside a special day for clean-up. For example, on Saturday the kids know that they don’t leave the house until their rooms are clean! What are your thoughts and suggestions?

Discussion led by Tanya Altmann, MD Guest Expert
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Guest Expert What is a guest expert?

Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, is a best-selling author, a working mother, and a UCLA-trained pediatrician, practicing in Southern California.

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