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Old 10-04-2007, 06:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: Collected Past Posts about Cleaning Up

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Title: Problem du jour
Post by: Chris3jam on August 03, 2005, 12:37:49 PM
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Ok, this is a problem that is happening as I speak. Now, I wouldn't have this problem, except that my oldest at home is 9, the next is 7.5, and the youngest is 3.

I told them to clean up the den. They know what to do. . . put the tapes back, the Legos in the bin, the tangrams in the bag, and the books on the bookshelf and the trash in the trash can. I listed it out. Now, if they were younger, I would have 1.) given them a shorter list, and/or 2.) be helping them. We have a time limit, and I need to be doing my part in cleaning the kitchen (as you can tell, since I'm on the computer :P). Well, they've done everything but. They are playing around, wrestling, throwing things, and generally just not doing a thing. Now, this is the time where daddy would get the paddle and paddle them for disobedience. Now, it is my thought that they are old enough (the older ones can certainly help the 3 yo). I've made it fun . . . .they all got to chew bubble gum while cleaning (they don't normally get this treat because it usually ends up in someone's hear, in the carpet, or on the furniture -- it's already ended up in dd's hair), and we had gone to the grocery store earlier, so they got something really nice for lunch. But, it irks me that I have to go help, especially since they are not exactly babies anymore, YK? I cannot make these things go away -- they may be used as toys, but they are also used for school. But, I'm, well, exceedingly annoyed. This is their normal MO, which is why dh can hardly stand to be in the same room with them. He says that I "cater" to them and "let them get away with it" when I help. I'm beginning to believe him. They do not seem to be able to do anything independently any more. He says it's lack of painful consequence, which is why they are not learning to obey. I'm trying to figure out what else to do ---- is it not time for them to be able to do something without me standing over them ever second? When will they "get it"?

I'm considering telling them to spit out their gum. . . that was the condition of getting the gum. They wanted a piece, I said "No. After clean up", they appealed by asking to chew it *while* they were cleaning. I gave in (stupid me! ) Now, they are not upholding their end of the "bargain".


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Title: Re: Problem du jour
Post by: OpalsMom on August 03, 2005, 01:42:23 PM
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Well, yeah, I think I'd make them spit the gum out. And changing the deal probably wasn't a good idea -- that's one of those that's so easy to see in hindsight, but hard to resist in the moment.

What does helping them clean up look like for you? It kind of sounds like you're trying to do an all-or-nothing transition from helping to being out of sight, and it might be better to make a slower transition. Like, instead of standing over them every second, stand over them every 5 seconds


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Title: Re: Problem du jour
Post by: Singingmom on August 03, 2005, 02:32:53 PM
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ITU your expectation that your older 2 should be perfectly capable of tidying a room by themselves. It sounds to me like they're not, though. Oh, I know they really could if they'd just get their acts together, but it seems like they don't have the maturity yet or something.

If I were you, I'd start staying with them while they do a job like that until they seem better able to handle it. I know it's inconvenient and you shouldn't have to, but hopefully you wouldn't have to for very long. You did a good thing by listing the smaller jobs. How about assigning one specific job to each child? When he gets that done, give him a second job. My 6 yo likes to make himself a list and check things off. Maybe yours would go for that.

I'd probably say to them when they act like they did today or if they still don't cooperate after you break it down for them, "Apparently you need a lot of practice completing simple chores. Therefore, I'll expect you to do xxx now to give you that extra practice. If you can do a good job when I ask you to pick up, I'll know you don't need extra chores to practice." (To me that seems like logical consequences. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

Hugs and I'm sorry you're having a rough day. Hang in there and let us know how you're doing.


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Title: Re: Problem du jour
Post by: Gretchen on August 03, 2005, 02:41:07 PM
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You said you listed it out - did you do it verbally or written down? I find for my very forgetful 7 year old, we have a much greater chance of success if everything (and I mean *everything*) is written.

I would suggest working with them one at a time to reinforce exactly what your expectations are. Work together to make the list of tasks and then direct him in doing them (or sit and read a book if no help is needed). Make sure the other kids are out of the room at the time. Once you've got them doing well separately, then do some training sessions for working together.

I would also try doing cleaning sessions before something fun (watching a video or whatever), and better yet if the something fun has a set stop time. That will help them learn to work more quickly if they're motivated to do something afterwards ....

Gretchen


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Title: Re: Problem du jour
Post by: JessicaTX on August 03, 2005, 02:43:18 PM
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Well, for today, I'd put the smallest one in there with a timer for 5 minutes and tell that one to pick up all the books. After the timer goes off, put the next oldest one in there with the timer on, and a specific job, up in order till the room is clean. I have to separate my kids into cleaning different rooms or nothing gets done, they feed off of each other's silly antics. Oh, and I'd add more chores to do, so while youngling #1 is in teh living room tidying, youngling #2 would be cleaning up the dining room, I'd give the other a walmart bag and tell them to find 15 pieces of trash and put them in the bag.


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Title: Re: Problem du jour
Post by: MarynMunchkins on August 03, 2005, 02:46:24 PM
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I'd take the stuff away, and make them do more writing in school. The dreaded worksheets...

You're not the maid. If they can't clean up the stuff, it gets put up. And then I'd limit how much stuff can be out at a time in the first place. One toy per kid at a time.

Hang in there!


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Title: Re: Problem du jour
Post by: raisa on August 03, 2005, 05:07:42 PM
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I can totally relate -- mostly from the child's POV though on this one-- My mom used to get really intense about housecleaning (rightly so, I'm sure, but it freaked us all out) and I remember often being left with a big messy room to clean, and just being overwhelmed, and fighting with my sisters. We may have individually had the skills to do some picking up, but in a group scenario we brought out the worst in each other. A few more ideas --

-Could you let the older ones know you're upset? This would be a natural consequence for them. They don't need to see you out of control, but it's fair to tell them that a messy house if very hard for mommy.

-Was the gum way too much excitement for them? I think taking it away when they can't handle it, is totally fair.

-My mom used to put lots of energy into "making it fun" (like rewarding/motivating with fun music or a nice lunch) but this can become its own drama. Also, it makes it seem like a choice instead of saying "it will be done" and being confident that it will happen.

-Would they rather take turns -- or split up tasks -- one do the trash, one do the toys? Was it hard for them to do it with the 3 yo (maybe they felt more like they were babysitting, or it resulted in a bad power struggle). They might have the skills individually, but self-delegating tasks within a group takes a lot of maturity. I am pretty bad making decisions in groups. I can still imagine me, taking out the trash, seeing my sister playing with the toys instead of putting them away, starting to boss her around, she tries to take out the trash which I was doing, me throwing the trash at her . . . this was totally us. We would have been scared of our mom, but still might have got out of control.

-Maybe ask the 9yo and 7yo, one on one, for ideas of how to get their help? Especially with the mess they made instead of cleaning. They should be old enough to say "hey this needs to get done. What are your ideas of how we can work as a team?"

-Other posters have great ideas about minimizing the toys/ etc. as much as possible to avoid messes, instead of just cleaning them up. You owe it to yourself! Good luck!

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Title: Hooray for playful parenting!!!!!!!
Post by: hey mommy on August 23, 2006, 10:40:04 AM
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Last night I was cleaning stuff up in the kitchen and since we got home late(6:30), I didn't have time to pick up toys, etc. before dh got home. So after we ate dinner, I was cleaning up the mess in the kitchen and told C to go pick up his toys. I had put the marbles in a pile for him so all he had to do was put them in the container. He did that w/no problem. The other stuff got picked up by the 2 of us(I ended up helping him w/some stuff) and then I left him to pick up the 2 small puzzles that were left.

So, dh walks in to help C pick up puzzles. C is resisting b/c he's tired and wants mommy to help, etc. So I go in there and I"m about to get really, really mad and in the past would have spanked his butt and fought w/him for 1/2 or more to pick up two stinking little puzzles. Well, this time I said "I bet you don't know where that A goes!" and started teasing him and playing w/him and playfully threatning to pick up the pieces myself ("You better get it before I do!!!") and that worked like a charm! He started giggling and joined in and then DH joined in too. So the 3 of us sat there playing together, and getting the puzzle picked up at the same time..

HOORAY!!!!! It was soooo much nicer than getting mad.


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Title: Re: Hooray for playful parenting!!!!!!!
Post by: ArmsOfLove on August 23, 2006, 11:53:26 AM
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that is SO awesome

It's totally about our attitude and when someone is having fun other people want to join in

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Title: Punitive or consequence? (cleaning room)
Post by: Gentle Journey on September 21, 2006, 09:40:52 AM
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Ok, so my children had an extreme amount of toys. My mom saved all ours, people gave toys to us and we got them some. We shipped out toys by the garbage bags full when we moved to an apt. cause we no longer had a basement. Each of the kids got a HUGE storage tote for their toys each, even the baby, lol. Ok, so fast forward. They still have an extreme amount of toys. It's like they just keep multiplying. We;ve just given 3 garbage bags to the blessing shop. 2 of themhave been DD's toys. She was told if she couldn't keep her room clean, we'd take away the toys cause obviously it's too many for her to handle. I'm not fussy, all she has to do is pretty much throw them in her closet. It's an open lid and take up the whole thing. She wont. So I keep telling her if her room isn't clean when she leave for school, I clean it with a garbage bag. And I do. So, am i punishing her for not cleaning her room or is the consequence of not putting your toys away having them taken away cause she obviously doesn't appreciate the fact that she has them. I mean, she asks for everything and usually gets it from my mom and Nana when we go down there or certainly for Christmas. She went on for months about this toy. My Nana got it for her for her birthday last month and withing 2 weeks all the parts were missing and was no longer played with. So am I helping her by taking away all the extra or just being a big meanie? My idea was for her to list all the toys she can think of over the next few days. If she isn't even aware she has it, she doesn't need it.


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Title: Re: Punitive or consequence? (cleaning room)
Post by: expatmom on September 21, 2006, 10:24:01 AM
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Looking at your signature, it looks like dd is 4 yrs old? I think that it might be too much to expect of a 4 yr old.

Clutter is stressful. I get stressed when I look at a messy room & find it overwhelming to know where to begin! Imagine how that would feel to a 4 yr old! My dd gets panicky when her room is a tip, even though it is relatively straightforward to tidy it up. What has helped her is for us to give every toy a special place or storage container. When she gets something out, there is somewhere identifiable to put it back. Also, we have gotten rid of anything that is not part of a set & then organized her room around those themes. She is 7 & still needs a parent with her to guide/motivate her when tidying. At 4 (which is what ds is) I would expect enthusiastic participation while we tidied up together.

Your dd can't help that she gets everything that she asks for. Maybe you can work with the grandparents to be more selective with gift giving or to keep some of the toys at their house for "special" times.


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Title: Re: Punitive or consequence? (cleaning room)
Post by: canadiyank on September 21, 2006, 10:28:25 AM
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I take things out, but not with a threat. They just disappear. Then they go in a closet, then downstairs, then to Salvation Army. Our church had a drive for stuffed animals during VBS this year and I was *shocked* at what my dd wanted to get rid of...we explained it was for kids who didn't have any and she was so generous. Maybe go that route? We have so many toys we can't keep our rooms clean, let's give some to kids who don't have any. Maybe do some decluttering of your own at the same time?



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