Cleaning up?

Candy - posted on 09/06/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I have a 5 and 6 year olds. They have to clean their play room up for their allowance. They dont clean they dont get allowance. They dont care. I have even band them from the play room for a day or two when they dont clean it up when asked. They dont care. Any ideas on how to get them to clean this play room when asked. I have even told them I would get rid of their stuff. That may work for a week or two but then we are right back to square one. Any ideas?

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Sabrina - posted on 09/06/2010

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When our playroom is a mess our kids get too overwhelmed. They don't know where to start. So I will take a chair in and I sit and tell them what to focus on. First, pick up all the barbies you see and put them in this bucket. Next, pick up all the building blocks and put them in that toy box. With a little direction they do all the cleaning themselves. Plus, my oldest is getting better at knowing how to clean up. I think you just have to teach them to look past the overall mess to the individual items that need to be picked up. And be patient. A mom's definition of clean and a 6 yo definition of clean are very different.

Angie - posted on 09/06/2010

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Don't tell them you're going to get rid of their stuff but actually get rid of their stuff - donate them or throw them away but don't give them back. If they don't respect and enjoy their toys, they don't need them.

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Btw, I also agree with Sabrina and Erin. If the mess gets out of hand, my son is overwhelmed and can't clean it up, so I have to help him (or make sure I tell him to clean up before it gets too far gone, but that doesn't always happen). When I help him, we make it FUN--that is important. We still use the timer, even though he doesn't fuss anymore, he likes to see that he can "beat" the timer.

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You can't just Tell them you will get rid of their stuff, you have to actually do it. My son doesn't have a play room, so he HAS to clean up or our home is a wreck! Obviously, he could care less. When he was 3, we hit a wall, and he stopped cleaning up, so I set a timer for 15 minutes--far longer than it would take him to pick up the toys--and told him that anything not in it's place when the bell rang was going in the trash.

I didn't actually throw the toys away, I took them to Goodwill and donated them, but he got the idea. I only had to do that 3 times and he has cleaned up without a fuss ever since. Oh, and DO NOT REPLACE THE TOYS!!! If you have to toss out his favorite lego set or her favorite doll, don't go out and buy them new ones, that totally defeats the purpose. They can play with the remaining legos and dolls.

Erin - posted on 09/06/2010

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if you have time to do this, go in with them play some kid friendly music and try to make it fun as possible. Or make into a game. See how long it takes them to do certain tasks. Then have them do it at night as part of their bedtime routine that way it stays clean.

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Tracy - posted on 09/18/2010

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A play room is overwhelming to clean for 5 and 6 year olds if not supervised and broken down into easy-to-accomplish steps. My 5-year-old actually enjoys cleaning, but only when it's simplified. In his play room I have to supervise and break it down for him. Depending on what him and his sister have drug out to play with, I will say "Okay, lets get all of the toy cars up first." They do that, easy enough. Then I'll say "Ok now lets get all of the red toys!" It's a game, it reinforces learning grouping and colors, simplifying tasks, etc. My 7 year old daughter loves to vaccum so when the room is all picked up I let her do the vaccuming. By helping them get up the smaller groups of toys it isn't so overwhelming. We also have races sometimes too, especially if they've gotten out something that makes a big mess like the legos or ALL the hotwheels cars they own. They have two lego buckets so I'll say "Ok! Let's see who can get the most blue legos in their bucket in 3 minutes! 1, 2, 3 go!" I've never seen Legos cleaned up so fast! They don't just try to get the blue ones either, they grab handfulls and just put ALL the legos in the bucket at once. I do play the game and count the legos after the whole room is cleaned. i don't have to do anything but praise them for getting up the toys so quickly and then I announce the lego winner! They help count until they lose count or cant count any higher.

Also, a lot of times when kids don't seem to care about a punishment or about a reward they can earn it may be because they do not understand or see the value in it the way you do. My 5 year old has no concept of money at all yet. He knows it's there, it's great to get a dollar here and there or 5 dollars on his birthday from someone but he generally doesn't grasp the value of money yet. My 7 year old knows one dollar will get her one toy at the dollar store but even still she doesn't take care of the money she has. She'll earn a dollar here and there or her paw paw will sneak her one and tell her it's for icecream etc. I find them in her toybox, under her bed, outside in the yard by her toys, etc. Maybe it's a little early to use allowance as leverage. TV time, game time, outings with mom or dad, getting to stay up 10 minutes past bedtime for reading or quiet time in their room, etc. are more their level. I tried the sticker chart and for a week they had to have a sticker every day to go pick out one toy on Friday at the store. I discovered almost immediately it was almost impossible to earn a sticker every single day with their age difference. So I made it three days out of 5 and they were so excited! They actually did get stickers every day sometimes but when it wasn't overwhelming they were able to succeed.

Hope this helps

Darby - posted on 09/16/2010

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I have an almost 12 year old daughter, 4 year old daughter, and a 2 year old son, and a six month old daughter. The three older ones are required to pick up their room. None of them receive an allowance, it's just part of living in our house. I may give my oldest daughter some money when she goes above and beyond her normal duties, but her room and belongings are her responsibility. She does not go out to play with her friends until her room is cleaned up. If it takes all day, she doesn't go out. If it takes all week, she doesn't go out. It's been quite effective with her and I'm sure the younger three will respond similarly.

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First NEVER say you will do such and such if they don't do such and such without actually doing it. If they REALLY don't care that you get rid of their toys then they obviously don't want or need them so go for it and have a nice big garage sale and get rid of it all. The proceeds can go towards making that playroom into a room just for you, for the whole family, a spare room, or whatever else you can think up. WE do not pay our children to do chores. All of my kids have to do the following every day and they rotate on a few of them so that they all get a break from the one thing they don't like or fight to do.
My kids....
help with the laundry (the older 2)
vacuum
empty trash
process recycled goods
dust
empty dishwasher
clean their bathroom
feed the cat (and soon a dog)
set the table
make drinks
chefs helper
practice music & homework
pick up their rooms and livingrooms (if they are dirty or messy)
clean up after meals
set up and clean up during school hours (we homeschool)

My kids do all of this without payment. We have a motto of many hands make light work so this and all that my husband and I do don't seem like so much. I hope this helps in some way.

good luck and god bless

Lisa - posted on 09/13/2010

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Put up a chore chart. Add two or three chores a day for a week. Put toys away, make your bed, set the table. They get stickers for each day that they do it. Don't let it be a choice. Say these are your chores for the week. Praise praise praise. see if they can challenge themselves to get the stickers for the whole week! Reminders count for the first few weeks.(they still get the sticker if you hve to remind and encourage them.) I did this along with an after school schedule where my daughter has a frog that she moves from log to log. She loves it because it is a visual. It made a huge difference in behavior too. She didn't fight me anymore! It was fun now! She didn't whine or complain and was looking forward to putting that sticker on the chart! Should have tried it sooner. I am a teacher and just applied the same thinking to my home life. She cared when I put the fun visuals on the kitchen wall. Before, I could talk forever and it wouldn't have made a difference! Good luck!

Sara - posted on 09/12/2010

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Don't let them have the option. You say clean the playroom so they have to clean the play room. If you tell them something they have to know you mean it. No empty threats!

Candy - posted on 09/11/2010

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The room has alot of storage. There is a bin system like yours ,toy box,closet,and a corner shelf. I think I need to weed out when they are at school. I am just a softy of this. I never liked cleaning my room. Hubby says I need to get on this before they are teenagers and rounding the show. Thanks for all the advice ladies. I love it here.

Cara - posted on 09/11/2010

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I'm just wondering why they have a choice. My children don't leave the room until it is done. If we have to go somewhere or it is bedtime, they go back into the room when we get up/get home. My children have to keep their rooms and playroom clean as well as other chores during the week that rotate (ie cleaning/mopping the bathroom). I have gone through their room with a trash bag before. They did NOT get the toys back. That is just reinforcing a bad behavior. Kids have a million toys these days - why would they care if a few are missing for a week?

Tania - posted on 09/11/2010

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Having clean-up races against each other or against the clock can work because it makes cleaning up another game. I find my kids clean up better just before a meal because they have to clean up before they eat. Just make sure the clean up is manageable for them otherwise you still have a mess and you end up with hungry kids in tears refusing to eat (yes, I've had that happen). Guiding their clean up like Sabrina suggested helps a lot too.

Lisa - posted on 09/10/2010

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I was wondering if your playroom has enough storage space. Perhaps the clean up is much too overwhelming? Is the room overflowing with barely used stuff. My younger son is more of a "clutterbug" and purchased an inexpensive 9 cubby shelf to help organize his stuff. When I worked at the Montessori school, one rule was to "work" (they didn't call it play) with a game or toy or whatever and then they had to put it back before moving on to the the next game. Or maybe a posted clean up list can help, like "put stuffed animals in box, collect Lego in basket with red lid, all games go back on shelf" etc... The enormity of a messy room can paralyze an adult so one can imagine how hard it is for kids. Good Luck!!!

Rosemarie - posted on 09/09/2010

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This is also an area of problem for me but not so much my younger children, but my older girls who are 11 and 12. Iv been threatening for years to throw their stuff away but havnt been able to go through with it as a result their room is in a constant mess and they leave there stuff all over the house which drives me insane. After reading many of the comments I have taken much inspiration and Im deff going to take the matter in hand once and for all.

Lizz - posted on 09/09/2010

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Dont just threaten. Actually pack up ALL of their toys and move them out. Of course you have spent a lot of money on those items and you dont want to trash them but maybe you can hid them in the garage or closet (only if they will not discover them). Or ask a friend or your parents to stash the boxes at their house. Do this when the kids are not home. Trust me it works. After a few days of not having any of their stuff, they will agree to hard rules you can write and post on the play room wall.

Kitty - posted on 09/07/2010

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im working on this now my son is 6 so we will see
what haqppends... any other idea's?

Candy - posted on 09/07/2010

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Thank you all. Your ideas are great. I cant wait to put some of them to work.Thanks again

Erin - posted on 09/06/2010

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I REALLY like the timer idea! I never ever thought of that one and I'm definitely going to give it a try! I have major issues getting my 3 year old to help with putting toys away.
I completely agree with giving them direction. My daughter moans and moans about cleaning up, but if I help her out and give her some direction, she finds she can get it done faster and easier. It really is overwhelming if you think about it. I think....how many times have I looked at my living room and thought, "Where do I even begin?" hahaha!
We also turn on the radio in her room so we can sing along while working : )

Juliana - posted on 09/06/2010

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In our house, when its time to clean up and the kids decide not to pick everything up, the toys left out disappear. We did this everytime and at one point they had almost no toys left. I dont return toys for at least a few weeks. i want them to appreciate what they have and to take me seriously. Now when I say clean up time, they clean up.

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