How to get your kids to tidy their rooms without asking!


You know how it is, the nagging drains you, the kids make excuses and eventually you end up doing it yourself.  Wouldn’t it be brilliant if your youngsters tidied their rooms (and did other stuff!) without being asked? Sounds impossible? Not with Michael Heppell’s tried and tested method…

God has a great sense of humour. Just as she programmes kids’ brains to push the boundaries, she simultaneously reduces a parent’s brain to take pressure! And so the war begins.

A few years ago, my wife and I found we had a challenge with our 12 year-old son. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to tidy his room; it was as if the concept of “tidy” didn’t exist.

We thought we had tried most things but nothing prepared us for the results from the crazy idea below.

Instead of nagging, we decided to catch him doing something right. In simple terms, we capped the complaining and practiced the praising.

This meant we had to look for what was right amongst the myriad of things that were wrong. As soon as we spotted something – from picking up a sock to putting a book back on a shelf – we praised him. It was important not to go over the top but was equally important to make sure we gave lots of positive strokes.

The first few days were hysterical. Just finding something (anything!) to praise was a challenge.  After a week we saw little change.  Half way through the second week our son actually said, “I know what you’re doing by the way. I’m not stupid”.

It was during the third week when we saw the biggest change. He picked up, put away and even made his bed (twice)! This was a major breakthrough. And by week four he started to create a new habit – a tidy habit.

We’ve since tested this with a daughter who loved her bed more than school,  with a grandmother who worried too much and with a dozen other situations where flipping it from complaining about what’s wrong, to praising what’s right has made a massive difference.

Michael Heppell is a “success coach”, and an expert in organisation and time management. With a style described as “shot-gunning a bucket of espresso”, Michael works with individuals, multi-national corporations and everything in between. His books – the most recent of which is How To Save An Hour Every Day – have been translated into 18 languages.

Do you want Michael Heppell to take a look at your organisational challenges and come up with an action plan just for you? For a free Time Makeover, simply email us on [email protected] and tell us why you need this Makeover!