21 answers

Clean Up - Morgantown,PA

I am at my wits end. I have a 5 year old DD. We have been trying so hard to get her to clean up her toys etc. I feel that I have tried everything. I am not a neat freak by any standards, but just tidy up daily and clean up completely when necessary. I also have an 8 year old DS. He is better but not great. Tomorrow we are having some family over for a meal and the house needs to be clean. We spent all day cleaning. I spent all week trying to cajole her into tidying up her room. It is a disaster. The only way I can get her to put anything away is if I stand over her and say. Put that shoe there, now get the other shoe and put it next to it. I don't do this often so it's not like that's the only way she knows, I have expectations that she can do some things on her own. Today I tried this with both kids, 10 minutes cleaning, 10 minutes fun. After 6 hours of this her room looked worse. All I was telling her to do was to put dirty clothes in the basket, shoes on the shelf, dolls in one area, and toys in another. 6 hours! We have a small house so we don't have a lot of room for a lot of stuff. Stuff in the LR just has to go into a big bin, it's not difficult. In addition we don't have a lot of money so they don't even have a lot of toys. It has gotten so bad with them taking care of their stuff that they only get one gift from Santa at Christmas and one gift from us and we go to a museum for their present. My son didn't get any gifts from us for his birthday and we went to DC for the day. I have tried bribing with tv time(they don't watch much), threatening, taking away toys(like 2 hours after the kids got their Easter Basket half was in the yard sale box just because they wouldn't get the few toys out of the middle of the LR floor so we could walk through). I feel like when I ask my daughter to pick up her stuff that she isn't getting what I'm asking her to do(I even say to her "what are you hearing me ask you to do?). I have read books and tried all different types of techniques and I feel like the worst parent out there because the house is always a disaster and I can't keep up with the mess and I'm always snarking at them to clean up. We literally can't have friends over because I can't keep the house clean long enough. I've even told her she could have friends over if she cleaned up her room and that did nothing. I have read her bedtime story while standing in the hallway because I couldn't get to her bed, we have talked about safety and fires and getting out of the house or into her if she gets sick and absolutely nothing is getting through to her. I am so frustrated and embarrassed. Sorry so long.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Guess I wasn't to clear. Stuff has gone into the yard sale box never to be seen again, no change. They don't have a lot of toys. In fact it's not many at all. No room no money so no toys. Todays clean up should have taken 30 minutes max. Put the toys away before you get something out has been the rule since birth, they hear put your dirty clothes in the basket at least 2 times a day. Running out of clean clothes has happened. They get two gifts for Christmas, one for their birthday. Easter Bunny isn't coming next year. I think I just suck at this parenting thing.

Featured Answers

You've got some good answers here. Some kids "take" to this easier than others. As some have posted, an ADHD child will be overwhelmed by cleaning a room. I know my ADHD kid (at 14) still needs more help than his sister who is 3 years younger.

Part of my problem is that my husband and I aren't on the same page. He says their rooms are theirs and so it doesn't matter if they clean them. He doesn't think it's important. I think it's training them for life later (+ we've paid the mortgage so as long as they live here - I will have a say). It's a constant struggle at my house. We've tried to pare down on "stuff" as well, but it just seems to grow!

One thing I do...is in the common areas. If they leave stuff out and they've gone to bed, I take it and put it in my "store". They must buy things back from my store and the store is only open 1 morning a week. If something is really important to them, they tend to put it away. If there are certain things I put in my store they decide they don't want, there's a "maid fee" (which is less than buying it back). They know the expectations and know what will happen when they don't clean up. It's not meant to be punative, but to teach them what's appropriate and so that I don't get resentful about living in a sloppy home.

1 mom found this helpful

start taking things away from them and not letting her go anywhere. My kids are 18, 9 and 6 and they have chores to do weekley or that dont go anywhere for the weekend and are grounded. I do have to say i do have good kids because i have always made them clean up after themsevles.
good luck it will be hard but keep trying.

More Answers

You said you've tried everything. But I didn't see you mention doing it with her - which is not the same as standing in the room and telling her what to do. This is how I get my 4 year old to clean up. We have races. Whoever can get the most clothes into the laundry bin wins! Whoever puts the most toys away wins! Etc. It works, even though we don't actually 'win' anything tangible, just bragging rights :) If your child has a competitive streak, this might work for you.

Would it be nice if he'd do it entirely on his own when I ask? Sure. But I'd spend more time nagging him to do it on his own then I spend actually helping him do it. So the cleaning races are actually more time efficient for me.

2 moms found this helpful

I have already taught my 4 year old. Here is what you do; TAKE IT AWAY!!! I lock up ALL toys that she did not return to the toy bin. When she wants it, I say, "sorry, you didnt put it away properly...so, you will have to wait"....When she takes her shoes off, she will even say, "put your shoes where they belong!!!"
I am not an OCD person..but, like you, I am in a SMALL house. I just had to put my foot down!!!! That, and I had to announce that I am NOT the maid!!!

Good Luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful

Good Morning K. -

I have a different take on this - I think 5 is just too young to clean her room by herself. Which is why you do have to stand over her and give simple instructions like "put this shoe in the closet." The rational arguments of fire hazards etc. - they just don't have the thought process to understand that what they do today may have an affect in some hazy, unspecified future. 8, well, that is a little different.

But, start with both all over again - easier to "train" two at a time :)
Get your husband on board - you need a united front on this.

Go ahead and put everything in its place. Take a picture of their rooms once you clean them. Print it, and hang it up in their rooms - a visual reminder of how their room should look - do this for the living room also.

Then change the play rules. Let them take out one toy at a time, period, just one. When they want to play with another toy, they must put away the first toy before they can get another. If they do not, then they lose the play privilege for a certain length of time. Continue this over and over and over - because it will take awhile for it to sink in.

Stand in their room when they are changing clothing and direct them to put their clothes in the hamper - literally watch over them. Again, if they don't, they lose a privilege. Continue this over and over and over - because it will take awhile for it to sink in. Continue this over and over and over

When they do things correctly praise, praise, praise them. Continue this over and over and over.

Also, is your bedroom clean? I ask because my son went through a snit when he would not clean his room. I finally asked him why such a big deal and he said "But, Mommy, your laundry is not put away - it is all over your cedar chest and you don't always make up your bed". Ahhhh, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Yup, I keep a neater bedroom now - teaching by example. LOL

My first house was also very small, be to overzealous grandparents my son had an abundance of things - I had to learn to teach him to pick up after himself. Since I have never been Martha Stewart, it was a learning experience for me also.

It takes patience, and lots of repetition.

You do not suck at parenting !!!! Don't ever say that.

Like me, you just have to learn some tricks to make it easier. Heck, my boy is 14, and I am still learning how to be a parent. This is normal. We try one way, if it doesn't work, we find a better way.

PM me if you need to vent or talk.

Good Luck

God Bless

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with Laura U. that reducing the amount of stuff might help. Five is not too young to help clean a room, but I wouldn't expect her to do it herself. And a child (or even adult) will have trouble keeping a room clean unless there is a place to put everything.

In my opinion, clean and neat are two different things. Clean is more important than neat.

My mother just closed our bedroom doors when we had company. Problem solved :-)

1 mom found this helpful

I like the first comment, and she is right... You are gonna have to clean it up, but one day my husband got so tired of all the toys, he just bout a big bin with a lid, put ALL the toys in there and whatever was junk toys, like toys that are useless, or happy meal toys, and baby toys, we thee away, and put the bin in the garage, put the stuffed animalsnin a hanging net, and they had nothing to play with... And it was like that for a dag or so, then we got a smaller bin to jeep in the house, and they main toys stayed in their room, and they always throw their dirty clothes on the floor, and we are still working on that one... But just clean it, and tell her that since your cleaning, it all goes

1 mom found this helpful

You've got some good answers here. Some kids "take" to this easier than others. As some have posted, an ADHD child will be overwhelmed by cleaning a room. I know my ADHD kid (at 14) still needs more help than his sister who is 3 years younger.

Part of my problem is that my husband and I aren't on the same page. He says their rooms are theirs and so it doesn't matter if they clean them. He doesn't think it's important. I think it's training them for life later (+ we've paid the mortgage so as long as they live here - I will have a say). It's a constant struggle at my house. We've tried to pare down on "stuff" as well, but it just seems to grow!

One thing I do...is in the common areas. If they leave stuff out and they've gone to bed, I take it and put it in my "store". They must buy things back from my store and the store is only open 1 morning a week. If something is really important to them, they tend to put it away. If there are certain things I put in my store they decide they don't want, there's a "maid fee" (which is less than buying it back). They know the expectations and know what will happen when they don't clean up. It's not meant to be punative, but to teach them what's appropriate and so that I don't get resentful about living in a sloppy home.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow,your daughter must have a LOT of stuff. It's probably overwhelming to her to have to clean so much. My son is the same way.....here's what we did.
First, we went through all his toys in his disaster of a room. If it was stuff that he didn't play with AT ALL it went into the garage sale box. If it was stuff that he liked, but rarely played with it went into another pile. If it was something that was always played with then it was put away. I don't know much about girls, but boys have a TON of cars, guys, and more cars. So, we went through cars and got rid of the ones that were broken or not played with anymore. The pile of stuff that was kind of played with went into a big bag and out into the garage. It will be opened at a later date. Once you have her room cleaned up (and you will have to help her, unfotunately) then you discuss what will happen when her room gets gross. If she can't pick up her room for 10 minutes before she goes to bed then you will come in with a garbage bag and anything that is left on the floor you will assume is trash. Then follow through and DO IT. Just start scooping her stuff up and putting it in the bag. She is PLENTY old enough to clean up after herself, my boy is 5 too, so I know she can do it. There may be tears, there may be a tantrum, but I bet her room will be cleaned up the next day! And, if it's not, then there wont be very many more toys for her to play with. :)
Then, stop buying her toys. Tell family to stop buying her things. My house is never pristing...EVER...and the messiest room in the house is my 5 year old's...so I completely understand where you are coming from. Try out my idea...it may work! Good luck
L.

1 mom found this helpful

When my kids won't clean I box up all the toys and put them in my closet. for every day their room is clean they get 1 toy or toy part back (like with polly pocket... only 1 doll or outfit) and then you have to organize it, so it isn't making a mess of your room.

We started this at 3 and and our 5 year old daughter now can fully organize and clean her room.

1 mom found this helpful

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