4 Year Old Twins Vs. House

Updated on May 06, 2011
K.P. asks from Douglas, MA
10 answers

My twins leave a path of toys, stuffed animals, puzzle pieces, spilled water/milk, stickers, ripped up toilet paper…..etc... in just about every room in our house. Today somebody got them a water bottle and while I unloading groceries, they both proceeded to tip out the water and spread it all over our walls "We were helping you clean, mommy". I'm so tired of all the yelling and time-outs that don't work. I put myself in time out after the yelling fit. I feel horrible (as I do everyday). Has anyone done anything drastic like throw all their toys away. I have a rewards chart where if they clean up without me asking they get a bonus sticker, which when the chart is filled out they get a small treat. What they have done to get that bonus sticker is make a mess on purpose, clean it and ask for the bonus sticker. Pretty smart of them - but that's not exactly what I mean. Right now as I'm typing this, my son has just dumped out 3 bins of books which are now all over the place… AARRGGHHH! Any advice?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks ladies for all your advice. I know that time flies and before you know it they are teenagers who barely say "hi" to you. In the mornings I always tell myself that "today, I won't lose my cool" and before their naps - that's thrown out the window. Poor kids! I'm not even a neat freak. I think I'm just unorganized and that stresses me out and then my husband is always stressed when he gets home. I seem to not be the carefree person I was before I had kids and that frustrates and saddens me. I don't want my kids to think of me as this mean mom who is yelling all the time. I just can seem to consistently lighten up. I'll reread these tonight when the kids are sleeping and I have better perspective!

Featured Answers



answers from Burlington on

I don't have any advice for you but I do want to say you are not alone. I don't have twins but I have a 15 year old, one 4 year old and a 4 week old and my house is always a mess too. And like you I am no longer that carefree laid back person I was before kids. It saddens me as well as my 4 year old tells me all the time that I'm grumpy. Makes me sad to think she is growing up thinking I am mean and grumpy all the time. My husband is the same way. He comes home from work stressed as it is which just adds to the already intense house.
I did just start a donate bag. She is given time to clean up her room with me before her bath every night. Whatever toys are left out go into a bag to donate to needed children. The first few times we had a shopping bag full but that has quickly decreased. It's one way to get them to "help" you clean up and a good way weed out those toys.
I hope you will be able to find a way to get back to that carefree person you once were!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Boston on

I have 4 year-old twins too, and can totally relate. My house is a mess too... but, we try to have them work on what they can. They KNOW that if they take a game or puzzle out, that they're supposed to clean it up when they're done... but they won't unless I'm there to enforce it. So it's my job to enforce it... and then if they don't comply, they go to time-out, and the toy/whatever might go into indefinite time-out (in the basement) too.

Also, the more organized the stuff is, the easier it is for the kids to clean up. We recently got two of those shelves full of bins - one for the toy room/living room, and another mostly for books in their bedroom - and that has helped too. But again, if I let them slide... things get messy. (There are currently Polly Pockets & Littlest Pet Shop animals strewn on the floor behind me, that should be in bins!)

Also, kids need very specific instructions - you can't just tell them "clean up the living room" and expect them to be able to accomplish much. It's more like "pick those crayons up off the floor & put them in their box." And then move onto the next step, & the next.... The general neatening/tidying kind of stuff, I have to do myself. (And that's the part that I'm the worst at, because there's still so much STUFF, that even I don't know what to do with it all!)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Preschool teachers have ways to deal with this - they have very scheduled days, and certain times that are clean-up times. Of course, they're not also trying to do laundry, grocery shop and vacuum. ;o)

The thing you need to remember about kids is that they need to be told everything about a thousand times. Then you have to re-tell them and then repeat it again. It's not personal - it's just how they are.

Kids like routine - so liek the preschool teahcer you have to plan out a typical day - let them mess up the living room in the morning and when you begin to prepare lunch put on special cleaning up music and a time. Try to beat your previous day's time each day. (don't make it a competition against eachother but against their own personal previous best) When I remember to use them timers are an amazing tool - they're good for bedtime preparation too. (I used to race my kids to see if they or I could get PJ's on more quickly - I frequently lost - I'm older, slower and more tired!)

Then do the same in the afternoon - something like "daddy's coming home soon, let clean up" - put the timer on again - and/or clean up song.

Do not beat yourself up for losing your cool with the kids. I don't think there's a mom of preschoolers that hasn't lost it - kids are so all-consuming at this age that they just suck the life out of their mamas. Thankfully Spring is here. Get them in jeckets and get a wagon and go for a walk, go to the playground, let them mess up the park.

Finally cut your self some slack. We all want a neat house - then we have kids. It's doesn't get a lot better as they get older either. School papers, dozens and dozens of them begin coming home when they get to kindergarten. Then comes sports equipment. If you have girls then come make-up, shoes and hair stuff when the teen years come. Ipods, computers, backpacks, cleats, hats, the list goes on.

I'm told that once they grow up and move out you suddenly have this hosue that stays neat and clean - but you miss them terribly. I can see those days coming so I'm trying to tolerate and, yes, even enjoy the ipods, computers, baseball gloves & shoes. ;o) If the next ten years go as quickly as the last 15 did it I'll have a quiet and neat house before I know it. :o(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

For one thing, cull the toys! Our children have way too much stuff these days. Children can't even see all the stuff they've got. Give yourself a break and halve the amount you have out at one time. Then cut it down again --by half. This helped me and my kids liked it too... in fact, they barely noticed the missing toys and appreciated the order. Same with the books if you can. When they did miss something, I would just say something matter of factly: 'the toy is resting.' End of story.

Read the work of Kim John Payne... Simplicity Parenting and others. He rocks.

What the others said about rhythym/schedule is true. It can be a life saver.

I feel for you, dear! I've been there. The balance between order and chaos is a daily dance. We need to all find our peace with it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Daytona Beach on

when my kids were younger and did this i would take away what they made a mess with and they couldn't play with it for a day. my son just 2 days ago, put toothpaste on my walls and floor. i made him clean it up, and then he lost privileges the next day, ie no computer, ds or wii. when he misbehaves at dinner while we are eating out, he doesn't get to go into the store afterwards with his dad and sister, he has to sit in the car with me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

At 4 they should be able to clean up their own mess. If it's an inappropriate mess (i.e. all the books on the floor) have them clean it up themself. In my house, if you refuse to clean up your mess, you go in time out until you're ready to clean up your mess. Then, guess what, you still have to clean it.

My 3 1/2 y.o. knows that if she makes a mess when doing a craft, she needs to clean it up or next time she asks the answer is going to be no.

About 15 min. before my husband comes home from work we do a pick-up game. "OK, let's see who can get 20 legos put away first" or "Let's see how many blue things we can find on the floor and put away" or "Toys that start with B." Sometimes I use a timer and set if for about 4 minutes and we race to see how much can be put away before the timer goes off. Other days I put in a kids' music CD and we all put away toys for 1 song. If you make it fun, the time goes much faster and you'd be surprised how much you can pick up all at once!

I do know people who have big storage bins for the toys and they rotate them out once a week so the kids have less, but always different, toys to play with. I'm not there yet, but I'm heading there!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Keep them BUSY! A schedule helps--sort of.

People tell me that we moms will all miss these cluttered years when we're old, in our clean homes, waiting for them to come & visit!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My husband is home with them. He has taken all thier toys and put them in the garage. He also seperates them alot. They are so much worse when they are together. He'll put my girl in her room reading books or at the table coloring and put my boy in his room playing trucks and trains. We are not above bribery - if youare good for the next 2 hours youcan have a popsicle. I also find it helpful to put them to work. When I'm cleaing I give them a wet sponge to help. When I'm unloading groceries, I put a bag of canned goods onthe table for them to unload for me. Bath time can be a great tool. It's like calling time out. When I just can't take the constant bickering and tattle telling, I call bath time and put them in seperate bath rooms. That buys me a good hour of total quiet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Augh. So sorry you're stressed with this!
They seem to have your number with the rewards program and they are sharp so it's time to be creative.

Can you try and make a game out of cleaning? My 4 year old is competitive so she likes to have me "time" her to see how fast she can change her clothes, put them in the laundry basket, etc.

Is there something that they like to do? Watch a certain show? Maybe try and tell them they can only watch that show after the toys, etc. are picked up?

Most things you try are going to be work for you in the beginning (that's the crappy part) but once you find what works, then it will be so much easier.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Thrown away... no... had ELSEWHERE? Damn straight. When my son was little I had a few "stations" set up in the house that he could use whenever he wanted... but the REST??? THAT needs permission. And someone much taller than he to reach them. What did the "empty" room accomplish? :D A place for summersaults, and bouncing balls, and laying out to read a book (NEVER could leave toys, books, games, out like other parents could. Kiddo got 3 books "out" at any given time (in his sight/reach), and only a few "stations" (including a pots and pans collection that was his and totally his to bang on to his heart's content).

Now... singletons are totally different than twins... so take anything I say with a grain of salt or 6 (We have multiples in my family, but I'm not mum to them... sibling, cousin, auntie... but not mum). What I DO have is a super adventurous ADHD kiddo who goes *non stop* 11 hours out of his 12 hour day. (AND that hour 'off'? It's in 10 minute pieces here and there) and has since he was a toddler. Our living room was a gymnasium, in our kitchen and laundry room he was 'put to work', and not until THIS YEAR have I been able to take my eyes off of him for more than a few minutes at a time. This year I get a whole 15-30 minutes (and slowly increasing, I got an hour and a half this week that I nervied myself to pieces over)... and I'm STILL antsy about it. And he still pops up under my elbow to drag me off to go see something funny 5 or 6 times if *I* initiate the "go play" aspect. Not that he's UNWILLING to be by himself... it's just that 99 times out of 100... if he was out of sight he was up to trouble. I cannot even EXPRESS what a gift the TV and Compute have been to my over all mental health. SAFELY ENSCONCED WITH HIS BUM ON A CHAIR FOR AN HOUR??? Heaven. He was safe. The house was safe. I was (mostly) sane.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions