Teens and young adults have unique needs to help them declutter. My advice is to suggest their room may need a Deep Cleaning or a Decluttering, and then offer to help.
Some teens may feel comfortable having you in their room helping, and some may really need that help, but they still may want some want privacy and space to work at their own pace. It’s tricky, because they probably need your help if they’re new to this, but still may not want your help. Teenagers don’t always say what they mean, so no might mean “not yet” or “I’m not sure.”
Ideas to “be around” in the case they need help without being completely obvious:
- “Hey, the washer is empty, do you have a load ready for me to start?”
- “I’m about to start the dishwasher, do you have any dishes?”
- “Can I take out some trash for you?”
Or, you know what, go ahead and be completely obvious. You are the parent after all. Ask “Is there a way I can help?” or “How do you want me to help?”
Each teen is different and the results will be different, but I think you get to have the expectation that rooms in your house get regularly cleaned and decluttered. But, maybe we don’t get to say exactly how it’s done because we’re trying to raise independent adults. There’s definitely a balancing act here, and I’m in the thick of it with you. Just act with love and good intentions, that’s all we can do.
Some of my kids really respond to lists and being able to check things off. If your teen is like that, I’ve created this Room Declutter Checklist for Teens and Young Adults.
Some of my kids don’t necessarily love the list, but they seem to respond to rewards built into the system. I’ve said it a million times, bribery is a completely valid parenting strategy. I still mean it.
I actually have technical child development reasons for thinking bribery works. Children often do not feel the intrinsic value of things like adults do, so we use reward systems to replace that until children develop into adults. There’s a slow weaning process as parental rewards are slowly replaced during maturation with the feeling of satisfaction adults feel for doing things. So to sum it up, rewards work. The reward needs to fit each child’s needs and what motivates them. Teens and young adults mature at different rates, so you’ll need to decide what fits your situation.
I want to thank some awesome people who helped me brainstorm ideas for this list. Thank you Sarah, Melanie, Sumbal, Carrie, and Anne!! These ladies also moderate our Challenge Support Facebook group. They are the best!!
I hope this printable helps a teen or young adult in your life! Let me know how it goes!