As the school holidays draw to a close, sleep routines have been disrupted for many, with weeks of late nights, lie-ins and special days out. With sleep deprivation known to affect everything from a child’s attention span to their planning and problem-solving skills and behaviour, re-establishing a good sleep routine is vital in the back-to-school countdown.

But what about the bedroom itself? Have your children been given more leeway to do what they want outside of the term time routine? If their bedroom is a jumble of toys, clothes and “stuff”, you are not alone.

Why do some children like a messy bedroom?

There are several reasons some kids like a messy bedroom, often to do with age. Older children and teens can see their messy bedroom as an extension of their need to be independent. Younger children might have difficulty with organisation and need parental help or guidance. Some children might simply just like it!

What’s the problem with a messy bedroom?

Some believe a child’s room should be a sanctuary. As long as there are no dirty plates and food, what’s the harm in a bit of clutter?

A messy, cluttered bedroom can affect your child more than you might think, especially when it comes to bedtime. A bedroom should ideally not be a playroom full of distractions. Children who are overstimulated can struggle to settle down when it’s bedtime, so it’s important that children associate the bedroom as a place to sleep.

How do I help my child keep their bedroom tidy?

Not all of us have the luxury of having a separate playroom. If this is the case, compartmentalise the bedroom – an area for playing, and an area for sleep. Allow for the bed to become an area designated for just bedtime rather than an area where they can play. At the least, remove toys and gadgets or store away. By encouraging children to put away toys at the end of playtime will help to signal the start of a wind down bedtime routine.

Ideally TVs and other electronic display devices should be banned from the bedroom. If that’s impractical, keep them away from the bed and try to limit the use of these devices in the hour before bedtime. Blue light that’s emitted from digital devices can suppress melatonin production – responsible for that ‘sleepy feeling’ – and make it harder to fall asleep.

What are your tips for helping children keep their bedrooms tidy?

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