HELP!! My House Is Always Complete Caos! Kids Are Out of Control.

Updated on January 31, 2009
C.O. asks from Seattle, WA
10 answers

Can any one give me suggestions on how to get my family under control and get them to start helping out around the house? I am looking for ideas on how to set up some basic house rules and how to get everyone to follow them when theres never been any before. Also what kind of punishments or disapline to do. It seems like alls my kids to is run around screaming and making messes. I can't get anything accomplished.. I need some sort of routine or schedule for everyone to follow. Can anyone help?

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to touch base with everyone and say thank you for all the great advice and make sure you know if there are times you don't hear from me for a few days, I haven't forgotten about you all, there is just days at work that I am so busy I can't manage to get on here to chat. Any way, I am in the process of starting some charts through HandiPoints which is something that we have started in the past but didn't follow through with it but we'll give it another try. Also, I am already familiar with FlyLady I spent hours printing stuff out before Christmas last year and just haven't gotten around to reading it and really jumping in with both feet. But I am ready now. Wish me luck! I will keep you posted as things progress. Thanks again for everything.

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answers from Medford on

Hi C.,
I'm a mom of six, only three left in the house, but years ago when I had five of them, ages 4-14 we implemented a chart system.
It sounds crazy but I couldn't believe how well it worked because basically the kids rewards and their discipline was their own...I didn't have to do it.

Involve your daughter in making and decorating the chart..make it fun and upbeat while at the same time letting her know that things have gotten out of control, and she's now old enough to start contributing a little bit.

Everybody had their everyday chores that were required of them such as room picked up, bed made, homework done ect... then there were extra chores. Everyone had one, so someone may have kitchen, one had living room, one had bathroom so on and so forth. This chart we made had everyone's name on it, with a goal at the end of the week of a certain amount of points. Each chore had a certain value. Everytime they did a chore correctly they got points for that day, if they didnt' do it right they didn't lose all their points but lost some because they had to go in and do it again or I had to do it. So they would have to find something else to do to make up the points. Just assign whatever value to whatever chore. I think the kids at to earn 1500 points when we did this but their chores were worth 200 or 300 points depending on what it was...
I remember docking one of them 50 points because the kitchen was still a mess after they cleaned it. She wanted to stay the night with a friend the next night but knew she couldn't because she was going to be short on points so she was searching all over for something else to clean LOL!
Anyway the point is, this chart represents both reward and discipline. We did it this way just because I was overwhelmed with cleaning up after everybody and nobody was going to volunteer. This provided motivation for the kids to not only contribute but to also do it right.
Your daughter is only 10 but can she take on two chores to help out. Only thing you have to do is stick to the rules of the game. If she doesn't earn her points she loses her privileges.
Missing assignments resulting in bad grades made all earned points null and void.
It was interesting how it worked out...the kids literally were looking for things to do to earn back house was pretty clean LOL
Good luck~~

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Family meeting. Start with Amber, she's old enough to reason with. Let her know that she's getting old enough now to get special priviledges (going to friends, etc.) and with that come responsibility. I have a white board up at my house. Each morning I write down an afterschool chore, also what the snack is, and any other little notes I want for the kids. As they do their chore, they erase it. I use to be the one to erase it, but we've done this a LONG time now. The 15 mo. old is still young enough to re-direct. I think if you can get Amber under control, the baby will follow suit. As for discipline tactics....I always do discipline that doesn't feel like discipline if possible. For example: Amber, after you unload the dishwasher, you can watch television. Or, when your clothes are picked up off the floor in your room, then so and so can come over. I don't know what types of problems you are having, so it's a very general suggestion, but if you want to email me, with specifics, I'd be happy to give you suggestions. I'm sure other moms will be helpful as well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think all of us moms have been here. I know that I started training my kids to help with things as soon as they turned 3.

I also understand that your 10 year old may not be as receptive to cleaning or helping since it has never been expected of her. I would re-arrange it like this:

Make it seem as though you are trying to help your son learn something new. Ask your daughter to help you train her brother. This way, whatever you ask them to do, they will do it together at the same time. Make sure that if they are helping with laundry, she ask him what color is this? However you sort laundry will affect her questions.

For instance, while loading darks, I put in green, black, blue and greys. So I ask my son to give me only greens. Then, once that is done, I ask for only greys, and so forth. This helps the child learn color recognition, and will help your daughter feel that she is helping your son-even though she is really multi-tasking and helping you too.
As for dishes, I would do the same thing. Have them do them together.

Harder chores like cleaning the bathroom or anything that requires harder labor you could ask her to do them and help her. And give her some kind of incentive-like having a friend over for a sleep-over, or something she likes (shopping, skating, going to a movie, etc.). This will help her feel that if she helps, she will get rewarded and that she is needed in the house-without the argument.

Best of luck and hope this works.

Kim B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Hi C. - Due to the age span of you kids you will more than likely have to utilize a blend of ideas/systems. A sticker type of program will work for the younger but the 10 yr old may need some other system (all depends on things they enjoy & respond to).

At our home we use the Family Rules system & it works very well this program is a skeleton frame and we at home can change the "skin" of it to best fit our individual family (one nice thing is there is an on-line support for parents to share tips & ideas back & forth). The book for this program is wonderful & has many more ideas as well as a detailed how-to-do "X". One of the BIGGEST things is to have you & your husband sit down and agree to a specific set of family rules, then write them down (ours includes how behavior is expected as well as daily/weekly chores, etc). Then each family member (including parents) have to abide by those rules. Each rule will have a "value" set for them. For example when our kids break the bedtime rule (staying in bed - except to go potty) they earn 1 card (these rules & values can change as time goes on & you can change any rule when needed - ok, you have to have a family meeting to make sure everyone knows about the new/changed rules, etc). The "cards" are anything that we dream up, we currently use chore items (vacuum, clean windows, brush the dog, etc) as well as other activities (read a book or play a game with brother). There are also Grace & Wild cards. Our kids know that if we (mom & dad) break a rule we have to do the cards too, but no reward for us & that is ok since we should know better anyway. The "reward" part which can also be tied in with a sticker chart for the younger child is each kid earns a "Token" (we use poker chips) for each day they have no cards. Just because they got cards for one day does not mean they are all out of luck. They can still earn RAK chips (random acts of kindness) so if we see them doing something good/nice we reward them with that. It takes 3 RAK to replace 1 token. We do keep a calendar of what our kids earn so we don't forget to give them their tokens to put in their jars. Our kids helped us create a rewards list of anything they would like to earn, the key is mom & dad get to set the value of how many tokens it will take to earn that reward item.

Hopefully you will be able to glean some valuable ideas from all of us Moms and find something or a blend of things that will work for you & your family. Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

You have lots of great responses. I'll make mine short:

Watch an episode of Super nanny to see how she gets families to deal with exactly what you are dealing with. I learned a lot from just watching her once. Have your children watch it with you. It helps them understand better too. My daughter is 10 and sometimes has to use the naughty corner, not often, because it is effective. Start a plan and stick to it and you will see big differences really soon!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on has been good for our family...good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Medford on

Hi C.!

I am sure that you will hear this from others, but I really recommend Her website has lots of great advice for creating an ordered & peaceful home & getting your kids to help. I can't say that my home is perfect, but things are going better since I learned of her website.

Good luck! V.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would have a discussion first with your husband about what you need and decide that, then have a family meeting with Amber. She should have a democratic voice in this as she is old enough to logically think about what is fair.

Amber is old enough to understand "natural consequences" of if you leave your stuff out and I pick it is mine and you have to earn it back (special chores).

Amber should also be doing regular chores as a part of the family. You could make it her way to earn allowance or special trips. I my family it was just part of being in the family, but if you haven't done it before, you might have to pay allowance.

But Hayden, who is 15 months, and just waking is probably leaving messes in his wake. This will be the state of your house for a while. When he is two or there about he will go through a stage when he will want to put everything in its place. Take advantage of that stage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I also find FlyLady to be an excellent resource, and very encouraging. I have been using her for almost two years, and have "flown" off and on--with the on times being my happiest, most productive months. We had a new baby a few months ago, and now I am trying to make a fresh start again. She is having a "Super Fling Boogie" right now to clear the clutter from your home. This is the kicker--it's impossible to clean anything with clutter--when the surfaces are clear, it's a breeze. I'm really trying to stick with the missions. However, I find that the very most important thing for keeping on top of the house and being on top of the kids routines and discipline is...Getting Up Early. It doesn't sound fun, I know, but it really works better for me to carve out an early retreat than to beat a hasty one at the day's end. When I do this, the whole day is better, seems longer in a good way (I can get more done and have time left over), and I have more energy. By the time the kids get up, I'm showered, dressed (actually looking nice instead of sloppy), I've done yoga, read my scriptures or another inspirational book, prayed, made a short list for the day, cleaned up a little, and made breakfast. I greet my two year old with a smile and we get him changed and make his bed right away. I'm ready to help my kindergartener and we are not rushing him through breakfast. This works so well, I don't know why I don't do it everyday, but I'm working on it. "Mrs. Sharp's Traditions" by Sarah Ban Breathnach is a great resource for bringing order and fun to a family--inspired by the way the Victorians did it. Getting up early and Clearing Clutter--good luck, and know you are not alone.



answers from Portland on

As others have mentioned is a God send and she has the HouseFairy to help get the kids involved. There is also This would be great for Amber to use. This sets up chores, rewards, goals and there are activities on the web page just for her. You both will be involved in charting her progress.

Best of luck!

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