You know you’ve become the stereotypical parent when you find yourself screaming at the top of your lungs, asking your child to clean his room! But don’t worry; getting them to tidy up their space is not such an impossible task. Here are some tips you can do to encourage your kids to clean their room:

Encourage the ‘cleaning-up’ habit while your kids are young. The younger your kids are, the easier it is to get them to help out in the household. Most kids four and below would find it an adventure if they just see you doing it. After all, they are at that age when they like to model everything you do. If they see that you like it, they’d likely catch on.

Affirm efforts rather than results. Some parents can get rather compulsive, expecting kids to clean up in the same manner that they do. But if you want to encourage good habits, it’s great to appreciate interest and attempt, no matter how small. So, start praising! Even if it’s just the socks that’s in order and everything else is in disarray. If your kids can see that what they do is pleasing to you, they’re more likely to continue their efforts.

Have systems of organization set up. For some kids, cleaning their rooms is like rocket science, so break things down to 1-2-3. Set up a system of organization that they can follow. For instance, have labeled boxes ready where toys should go. Create shelves for schoolbooks and video cartridges. Set up hampers for soiled clothes. Label drawers and cabinets. A clear knowledge of which stuff should go where can go a long way in restoring order in your children’s rooms.

Make it fun! Like any activity, make cleaning up fun. Perhaps you can set it up as a family affair, a good-natured contest of sorts among family members. Maybe you can schedule cleaning time while listening your children’s favorite music. You can even make it a pre-requisite to something kids would enjoy, like a video game they like or a visit to their favorite restaurant. Make it an adventure and they’d more likely get on board.

Create boundaries. Here’s something that helps: creating ‘areas of order’ and ‘areas of freedom.’ The former is a place where cleanliness is mandatory; the latter is a place where kids are allowed to pig out! Younger kids can easily understand boundaries like this if you teach them early on and you’re consistent with the rules.

Grant teenagers some leeway. Now if you’re dealing with adolescents, don’t ask for perfection. A little disorder can be their way of establishing individuality or autonomy. In this case, just set up a minimum cleanliness and order requirement, e.g. always have clean sheets with no dirty laundry running loose about, and relax about everything else.

Getting you children to clean up their rooms may be a headache, but it’s more than doable. But don’t forget to account too for individual differences and personality quirks! What may look as disorderly to you may be orderly to your kids; they may even find chaos soothing as is the case with creative personalities. When your kids lose track of stuff more in an orderly room than a disorderly one, then maybe he should be left alone to his style!