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What do you do when there is nothing left to do? - Page 3

post #41 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
Also this idea that children are incapable of certain behaviors is very American. In many countries, 7 and 8 year olds are in total charge of the younger children in the family and they are able to handle the responsibility. I do not consider this a good thing, don't get me wrong, but to say that that age isn't developmentally capable of taking care of things is demonstrably untrue.


I think sometimes, we as Americans, are way too laxed with our expectations of "appropriate" responsibilities.

For example, since I have allowed my children to take on whatever jobs THEY choose for themselves.....I have been SHOCKED at what has happened!

DS 9yr: LOVES washing dishes, loves washing clothes and putting them in the dryer, loves cleaning glass and dusting, loves cooking preparing meals, change baby diapers, assist Angelo with a bath

DD 6yr (almost 7): loves washing and drying dishes, loves organizing, loves vacuuming and mopping floors, loves cleaning glass and dusting, loves wiping down the kitchen, loves cooking/preparing meals, change baby diapers, assist Mylee with a bath

DS 4yr: LOVES scrubbing the bathroom which includes the sink and toilet, loves caring for the pets, loves washing and drying dishes, loves wiping table and chairs after meals, loves sweeping the floor, loves cooking preparing meals

DD 2yr: Loves folding clothes, washing dishes, caring for pets, helping in the kitchen

NOW.......my issue? I do not encourage these things due to fear of them getting hurt, getting in my way, or taking too long : I am working on that. We actually made a family chart (without dh on it as he is a big help and will do whatever is needed) with "Home Blessings" on it. THEY created their own lists (see above) It pretty much would have left me with breastfeeding, picking up, assisting with laundry put away, and overseeing homeschooling!

They LOVE doing it! However, they hate picking up after them selves

SO for the New Year, we as a family have truly though about doing it their way and seeing what happens!
post #42 of 76
It isn't that a 7 or 8-year-old isn't old enough. It's that some of us at any age don't automatically make an emotional connection between the giver and the gift after the initial thanks; and some of us at any age struggle very hard to keep things together. So I was advising the OP not to attribute disrespectful motives to her children when it could be from a different set of assumptions altogether.

If children who have less, take better care of their things, that only means they are capable of taking care of (let's say) five objects. Just because they can take good care of five objects, it doesn't necessarily follow that they or anyone can take equally good care of a hundred objects. There have been stories on MDC, in the adoption forum, of older children who moved from an orphanage to the US, suddenly had the same number of toys as a typical American child after a lifetime of nothing of the sort, and immediately developed the exact same messiness and carelessness of the OP's children.
post #43 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post

First off, you need to be able to make the house clean for your own mental sanity. This is not your children's responsiblity. Your comfort and mental sanity is not their responsibility. It is YOUR responsibility and perhaps your husband's, depending on how you have decided to have household responsibilities split up right now. Responsibility doesn't mean you yourself need to do it, but that it's your job to see it gets done. When you yourself cannot do it, it is not appropriate to delegate responsibility to children who cannot handle it. You can ASK them for help, but don't expect much. Just because they CAN physically put the puzzle away and put the tissues in the trash, doesn't mean they have the mental ability and presence of mind and motivation to do that at all times. The best way to teach them is by motivating with love, and by example, but this will take time-- as in, they may be better helpers by the time they're 10 or 12-- not now. (If they were naturally neat kids, they might be better helpers sooner, but all kids have differing personalities and talents and apparently neatness isn't your kids strong suite, which is normal.)
Ok, I am new here, so please forgive me if I am overstepping the bounds, but I feel compelled (for DoulaSarah) to say that I whole-heartedly disagree with you. It absolutely is the children's responsibility to keep their toys/ clothes/ rooms/ areas cleaned up to their mother's standards. When they are grown with homes of their own, they can use their own standards. By making this bold statement, I am assuming that 1) Mom's expectations are reasonable and age-appropriate and 2) these are expectations that were in place and the children were well aware of them prior to her moment of posting. Given these two things, I think OP is perfectly in line to expect her children to keep their areas and things picked up and to treat their things, space and one another with respect.

I agree that the OP is responsible for her own mental sanity and if that means taking a break without kids or counseling or XYZ she should do so. But with 5 children, she must be able to count on them to help out. It is not the same as an only child or two kids close in age. When there are fewer children, parents can choose to give children fewer responsibilities and still have time to keep house, work, cook, do school work, and LOVE UP their kids. But in a family of 7, if mom is the only one picking up, putting away, clearing the table, doing dishes, sorting clothes, etc. there WILL BE NO TIME for Loving up with Mom. Especially if Mom works, which I believe OP says she does (cleaning homes).

I am not saying that it is better to have more children or better to have few. In a family with 5 kids and the oldest is 8, her needs are way different than the 4 mo old twins. Mom is stretched really thin to meet all of the needs on both ends of the spectrum and everyone in between and her own and DP's and keep house. Maybe before the twins were there, it was ok to let mom do it all. But with newborn twins, all the rules have changed, so Mom gets to change the rules. Best Wishes OP!
post #44 of 76
I let only a few toys out into the living room and I don't get expensive things that I will feel horrible about if they are left out. DD's things are mostly easy to clean up because we have a bunch of baskets and a toy box to just toss the toys in and I let her have space in the living room for her puzzles and then we take it down together at night or before we leave. I also bag up toys and put them in the garage if they are not picked up and I don't get them out again until it is convenient for me. I rarely have to bag up things though because dd knows that I will forget about them the next day and she won't see them again for quite a while.
I don't know if these things are possible with five kids, but it may help just to find one spot for all of the nicer toys to be and to bag up things if they aren't put away.
post #45 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
It isn't that a 7 or 8-year-old isn't old enough. It's that some of us at any age don't automatically make an emotional connection between the giver and the gift after the initial thanks; and some of us at any age struggle very hard to keep things together. So I was advising the OP not to attribute disrespectful motives to her children when it could be from a different set of assumptions altogether.
I agree with you lolar! My comment was not directed at you, it was more directed towards this from LTB:

Quote:
When you yourself cannot do it, it is not appropriate to delegate responsibility to children who cannot handle it.
Perhaps she did not mean it this way, but her post to me sounds like she is saying that 7 and 8 year olds are not developmentally capable of picking up after themselves or taking care of their things, which I disagree with. Also the idea that the children don't need to show any consideration for the mother because the messy house doesn't bother them is very strange to me. When do they learn consideration for others, if not at home with the family?

ETA: My posts are coming from the standpoint of someone who feels that the very hands-off, show-don't-tell approach was not effective for my child. Children are different, some naturally enjoy doing things around the house, like AngelBee's kids. Some do not, like my dd, and need an extra push. At this point I am convinced that if I am not more proactive with her, she will not learn consideration because it doesn't come to her naturally.
post #46 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
Perhaps she did not mean it this way, but her post to me sounds like she is saying that 7 and 8 year olds are not developmentally capable of picking up after themselves or taking care of their things, which I disagree with. Also the idea that the children don't need to show any consideration for the mother because the messy house doesn't bother them is very strange to me. When do they learn consideration for others, if not at home with the family?

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post #47 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
I guess I'm going to be somewhat a voice of dissent here.

To me, 7 and 8 is plenty old to start learning consideration for other people.

Not taking care of a beautiful gift is IMO inconsiderate to the giver. It's not about the thing, it is about the person. While it is probably true that they didn't mean any disrespect to their grandma, that just shows that they haven't yet learned that trashing a gift will very likely make the giver feel bad. So you have to teach them that.

Not picking up after oneself is inconsiderate to the OP. Obviously they should not be spending all day cleaning house, but just little things like taking their plate to the sink when they are done eating is totally within their mental abilities and is a start to teach consideration for others.
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
LTB, I think this is a very American (or wealthy country) attitude. In my experience, in countries where kids don't have a ton of stuff the children do very much take care of their things because it is all they have. I agree with AngelBee that the disregard for things that you see around you is a product of having too much stuff and considering it all replaceable.
I agree with this also.

We are not a family that values things over people. If a thing breaks, it's just a thing. At the same time, we want our children to understand that we are very fortunate to have the things we do have, and that we cannot replace everything should we break or lose things. So we do teach our children that it is important to take good care of our things, and I do think it's appropriate to expect our kids to take care of their things insofar as they are actually able to do so. Expecting this and teaching this are not incompatible with respect for the children and their abilities, and are not incompatible with understanding that children will forget at times.

Likewise, we value teaching our children to appreciate the effort and thought that does into a gift. So when our children receive a gift, particularly if we know the gift required extra effort on the part of the giver or holds extra meaning for the giver, we talk about that a lot--and we remind the kids to treat special things with extra care, and provide supervision as necessary. This might involve finding a special place for the item to be stored or used. Right now, we have a few books from the kids' great-grandmother which are about a hundred years old. The kids enjoy them with respect for the history of the family and of the books, and treat these items with great care. They are 5, 7 and 9 years old. They are very capable.

We also value teaching our kids that each member of this family has responsibilities to the rest of the family. We share a living space, and thus we share responsibility. Thus, we expect that our children will participate in the care of the home to the extent that they are able to do so. And that does sometimes include explicit instruction and schedules, but those things are not incompatible with respect, flexibility and problem-solving.

I think kids are very much capable, with individual variation. I also think that if a problem becomes big, as it has for the OP, it can be very helpful to sit down with the kids and make expectations clear, and involve the children in making a plan to meet expectations.
post #48 of 76
I was taking "who cannot handle it" to mean "who are easily overwhelmed as part of their temperament."

OP, the other day, by coincidence a friend of mine who has a 16-year-old and 11-year-old, told me that on vacations after breakfast every day, before they can do anything else, they have to spend one hour on housework, one hour reading, and one hour playing outdoors (weather permitting). After that they are free for the day. (She allows only one hour of video games and TV only in the evenings, also.) She says this works well, both for the older one who has severe ADHD and for the younger one who is super-organized. Of course there are exceptions for family outings and such. She began this system as soon as they were school age, I believe. So there's another idea that works for someone, somewhere.
post #49 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
I was taking "who cannot handle it" to mean "who are easily overwhelmed as part of their temperament."
Hmm, you are probably right. Even so, while I agree with LTB that children need to be taught with love and example, I don't agree that it is perfectly normal for children to be messy and careless with their things and inconsiderate to other people in the family. It's not really that much different from a child that is naturally aggressive and excitable and hits other children. In that case we wouldn't just explain why they shouldn't hit and then wait for it to sink in, we are more proactive. In the same way, if a child who is developmentally capable of understanding consideration for other people is not being considerate, we need to teach them in a more proactive manner.
post #50 of 76
I think you have gotten many different perspectives, and I think you have to take it as just that. Different perspectives. You can take what resonates with you and go with what feels right for your family. There is no one right way. There is no right age for children to do things or be a certain way. I think you have to just keep in mind that you have 18 years for them to be responsible adults, and many if us are still working on that, myself included.
post #51 of 76
This thread is very interesting to me. I was nodding a lot through the OP's story, as i struggle with many of these things (the attitude, the mess, etc...) with my 2..mostly originating from my oldest, i have to say.

I vacilate between many of the ideas posted, and my final questions is- how to you deal with balking? When your child refuses?

I think it's all well and good to say that we teach our child respect, responsibility etc... and i believe we teach and explain these things to our children as well. Does that mean that my 5.5 yo dd (who is perfectly capable to cleaning up her things. I've seen her do it. She does is at school and occasionally at home.) willingly cleans up after herself because we go over this concept often, talk about how mommy and daddy participate in the household and how she can/is expected to also?

No.

We do not punish. We strive to be a GD family, set examples (always working on that one), and point out that when she's begging me to read her a book and i'm cleaning up, that if she were to help we would read the book sooner. Rarely works.

I routinely take toys out to our barn to be out of rotation, or give them away. I have threatened to take them all away (should probably follow through on that....) and yet... still a mess.

I don't know. It actually makes me feel less stressed to think that perhaps its' too much to expect than to face repeated failures at getting a change in action.

The only thing we have not tried is following a written out schedule or chart. I have resisted because this is sooooo not the flow of our family. I guess that's probably it right there... we either need to accept our flow, or change it.
post #52 of 76
I don't often require them to clean up their messes, because they are young (3 and 5). More often I request help and positively encourage it. I believe most of the time they did not intend to make a mess, and when they learn they have created something that is a problem, they are usually happy to have a way to help fix it.

However, there are times here when a mess was made very deliberately in our play room, in a naughty sort of experimenting way.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27113278@N08/3157975561/

And at those times, I do require them to help with the cleanup. If one of them refuses, that kid gets time out while I do the cleanup, even if it takes me half an hour, and for a period after that. (Because if they dump crap all over the floor, and then refuse to help clean it up, I am certainly not okay with them having fun doing something else or making another mess while I clean it up. This is my version of a natural consequence.) Not helping also means that the toys that were involved in the deliberate mess are also off limits until the next day. Helping, on the other hand, is a fun race/game-like activity that is really pretty enjoyable, and they are learning that this is more fun than the long time-out and loss of toys...so we are making progress in this area.

When they are older, when I tell them "it is time to clean this up" I expect immediate effort, even if they aren't sure how to start...I will help them learn how to do it, but I want to see the effort. If they are in the habit of refusing, this is not something I will be willing to put up with, and after a fair amount of time for a change of attitude, that kid will find himself with a stripped down room and very few possessions. I will only let them have as much as they can and will handle.

That said I will never expect perfectly neat rooms, drawers of perfectly folded clothes, etc. I am talking basics...being able to walk through without stepping on toys, and dirty laundry in the hamper. To me this bare minimum standard of housekeeping is not negotiable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newmainer View Post
I vacilate between many of the ideas posted, and my final questions is- how to you deal with balking? When your child refuses?
post #53 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmainer View Post
This thread is very interesting to me. I was nodding a lot through the OP's story, as i struggle with many of these things (the attitude, the mess, etc...) with my 2..mostly originating from my oldest, i have to say.

I vacilate between many of the ideas posted, and my final questions is- how to you deal with balking? When your child refuses?

I think it's all well and good to say that we teach our child respect, responsibility etc... and i believe we teach and explain these things to our children as well. Does that mean that my 5.5 yo dd (who is perfectly capable to cleaning up her things. I've seen her do it. She does is at school and occasionally at home.) willingly cleans up after herself because we go over this concept often, talk about how mommy and daddy participate in the household and how she can/is expected to also?
...
I don't know. It actually makes me feel less stressed to think that perhaps its' too much to expect than to face repeated failures at getting a change in action.

The only thing we have not tried is following a written out schedule or chart. I have resisted because this is sooooo not the flow of our family. I guess that's probably it right there... we either need to accept our flow, or change it.
One thing I learned from the Secret of Parenting that rings true to me is that sometimes kids balk at home because that is their safe spot. Basically, that they may be "holding it together" all day and then they get home and flip out.

The way we've managed that so far with my son (who's only 3.5) is that when things are going well, that's when we tackle something like a messy closet in his room, or decluttering his toys. We also try to do something every day, so it doesn't become so overwhelming (not that he can't trash it quickly ).

That way he has an opportunity to participate before we're in conflict about it or it's at the end of the day or just before dinner or some other hot-button time like that.

I also have observed with my niece and nephews that some kids can tidy up a big mess, and some kids need it broken down into pieces. ("Okay, let's clean up the top of your dresser for 6 minutes: ready, set, go!")

Since I'm posting anyway, I wanted to clarify that although I think kids who are 7 or 8 can respect things, I'm still not sure that they really would get that someone who gave them something would be upset that it was on the floor or whatever -- particularly if their other prized possessions are down there. If a room is overwhelmingly messy to me, I think it really might well be beyond them to deal with it.

I don't think it means lifelong disrespect. OP, that doesn't mean you just have to suck it up, but I think it might help to frame it as that they are overwhelmed and forgetful, not disrespectful and unkind.
post #54 of 76
I might be unpopular here but I require my children to clean up. It might be punitive but they clean up or they lose the toy that was left out. I let them play all day long and do not require clean-up(though I remind them when they trip over toys or step on toys and hurt their feet that it might be easier to pick up a few things rather than trip over them) until before bedtime. If my living room is chaotic and messy, we do the ten-second-tidy and everyone(even the almost 1 year old) participates. But the mess in their room is allowed to stay there all day long until bedtime. But at the end of the day it's time to clean up. I will help you. I will be patient while you find the home for everything. But I do require that you clean up your toys because YOU took them out. I am single. I have 3 daughters. I cannot do everything. I am not supermom and when I try to be, I lose control. I become mean-mom, overwhelmed-mom, and mood-swing-mom. So I need help. I am frequently heard saying, "please wait, there are 3 of you and just one of me!" So I will wash dishes and the 8 and 4 year olds put them away(except for the sharp knives). Obviously the more breakable stuff in the top cabinets is for the 8 year old and the 4 year old gets the silverware and pots and pans int he lower cabinets. I do laundry and hang it in their closets. But the 8 and 4 year olds are required to put away the piles of clean underwear, socks, and pajamas in their dresser drawers. Together they take out the recycling and separate it properly and then take the big bins to the curb for garbage day. They are capable of a lot. And they LOVE to put away the dishes. Since we got the cat 2 years ago, the NOW 4 year old has been feeding him in the morning and evening. We marked a line on a measuring cup and she feeds him and I get fresh water. I am one person. I need help to run a household. So I see nothing wrong with making my children contribute to the household chores. And asking a 4 and 8 year old to clean up their toys at the end of the day doesn't seem like a lot to ask. I even have the baby help. She LOVES to put things in baskets so directing her to put one toy at a time into the proper bucket or basket isn't difficult and it makes her sisters feel like everyone in the house is contributing instead of just them being forced into cleaning up a big mess.
post #55 of 76
I also have to dissent with the cleaning/straightening up business. I think children CAN and SHOULD contribute to cleanliness of the home at an appropriate level. It is not about just the OP's state of mind. Children do not want to live in a dirty house (even if they are the ones that make it that way and are unable to say that they don't like to be in a dirty place). No one does. I'm not saying that dishes can't be in the sink or beds un-made or whatever, but I am saying that ALL family members have a responsibility to contribute to the home in making it a place everyone can be happy in. In short, I feel to some degree it IS a child's responsibility to keep the house "clean" (meaning, I feel that that they have a place in the family and should contribute to the home at whatever level they can). Am I forcing my 4 yr old to clean bathrooms and wash windows and pick up every toy? Of course not. Can he HELP pick up toys, put his tissues in the trash, and put his dirty laundry in the basket? Yup. And that is enough for him at this age. He will voluntarily help out with other things as well sometimes.

As for our "solution"", for us in our house, I do the "cleaning" (bathrooms, scrubbing the kitchen sink, moping the floors, etc.) about 2x a week and DH does an evening "straighening up" after kids have gone to bed (picking up toys, putting away laundry, feeding the animals, taking out the trash, etc.). It basically boils down to both of us doing 1/2-1 hour of housework a day to keep things clean and functioning. DS1 is 4 (DS is only 12 weeks) and he is expected to help pick up toys and help clean up after himself (help wipe up spills, things like that). To us, a clean house is important (it is not "spotless" or perfect by any stretch, but we are comfortable inviting people over, feel happy in our space, and it is relaxing to be in our home).
post #56 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
DS1 is 4 (DS is only 12 weeks) and he is expected to help pick up toys and help clean up after himself (help wipe up spills, things like that).
In the vein of some of the pp's, what do you do when he refuses?
post #57 of 76
Quite honestly, it depends. If he is refusing because he is having some other issue at the time that is beyond his control (exhaustion, illness, that kind of thing) we don't push it and we queitly do it ourselves with a gentle reminder that we're helping him ("I see you're really tired tonight. Let me give you a hand and I'll clean this up for you this time."). If it is purely a lazy thing or a control thing, then we just don't go further- a casual "Before we go out/read/play games/whatever, we need to clean up, so let me know when you are ready." usually works best.

We try to keep it low-key, that cleaning up is just part of what we do, part of the flow, and he rolls with that.

It's not always a 100% thing and he is only 4, but the idea that he contributes and has some responsibility for himself is important to us and to him. Our house is very small. We cannot get away from messes. The livingroom/diningroom is the only place to play, sit, eat, etc. We have one bathroom. From the middle of our house, you can see into every room. If there a giant mess, it impacts everyone. Don't get me wrong- we sure allow mess making- cooking, playing, whatever! We just need to clean it up too if we are to be able to function as a family in our home.

If DS was older- more like the OP's kids, I guess- old enough to understand the expectations and do more but refuse, I might try something like trying to contain the mess in their rooms. I would probably take the attitude of "The shared spaces need to be clean, as they belong to everyone and it is part of how the family functions to have a clean family area, but your room is your own space where you deal with yourself". Then, I would quite literally toss everything on the floor of the common areas into their room. I would not require them to clean it up, but I would not wash clothes not in the basket. I would take toys out of the common areas and any I found there I would box up or toss in their room. I'd probably toss the tissues in there too and anything else they leave for me to clean up. Quite literally, kick the mess down the hall, shove it in their room and close the door. It would become THEIR mess in THEIR space. The natural consequence of this is that most likely, they will get frustrated with their own mess and will need to find some way to deal with it. Like another poster said, kids want to play in a clean space. If they cannot share in playing in the common space without taking responsibility for it, then they have the option of playing in their own space, but it will be messy and dirty if they don't do something about it. Both of these things they have the power to change if they are willing to clean up (and I'd help them if they showed initiative and were willing to work too). This plan would also keep most of the house clean and I'd just shut their bedroom doors. I'd require food to be eaten at the table.
post #58 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
In the vein of some of the pp's, what do you do when he refuses?
Some things ways in which we've responded to refusal:

~Offer a choice: "well, I still need help. If you don't want to do that, how about you do x, y or z instead? You can choose, but I do need help." Actually, I can't think of a time this hasn't worked for us. There is always something that needs doing, and if I do whatever I've asked my kid to do and my kid washes windows/washes the table/sweeps the floor/whatever then it's a win-win. And most importantly, they are participating in caring for our home and learning that they are capable of taking on responsibility (this is more important than doing exactly what I initially asked them to do). Make sure to express appreciation for any help. (eta, for clarity: In our home we expect the kids to help. You may not choose to not help. You will help. You can choose how to help, so long as it addresses the current needs and is realistic.)

~make it a game: who can pick toys up the fastest? Can we beat the timer? Who can remember where this goes? Who wants to mop the floor by skating around on wet towels? Who wants to vacuum the floor with the elephant's trunk (which the vacuum cleaner hose kind of resembles)? (make sure to express appreciation for help.)

~figure out why the child doesn't want to do it, and help make it easier: Often picking up toys is overwhelming. The kids don't know where to start, or where to put it all, or it's taking too many trips to bring them back to their rooms. To make it easier, we can break it up into do-able pieces or rearrange how we store things or whatever. Making it easier to get done may happen right then, or it may take more creativity and planning (no one says you have to solve these things immediately, sometimes it takes time). Express appreciation for any effort they make.

~Ask yourself: Is this unusual? Is something else going on? Is the child hungry or tired or sick? Overwhelmed? Is there anything getting in the way that we need to address before the child can participate in cleaning up? Would there be a better time of day to clean up?

~Make it fun together time. We can clean a room together and share jokes and conversation, or just be silly. Cleaning up doesn't have to be unpleasant. Express appreciation and tell them you enjoyed their company.

~Simply say "since you didn't do it, I had to do it. Next time I expect you to do it." The expectation remains, the kids know you aren't pleased. And you can make a plan ahead of time to see that it gets done the next time, if need be. The key to this is that expectations have to be both appropriate/realistic and consistent.

~"Waiting for the bus:" just stand there, waiting expectantly until they do it. (Not my favorite, not the best approach with my kids, but it has been helpful on occasion.) Express appreciation when they comply.

~Natural consequences: occasionally, something does get accidentally stepped on and broken (or chewed by the dog) when it's left on the floor. This is a good learning experience, and the next time a toy is left out you can remind the child what happened-and they might be more willing to pick it up (or it might take some time). This has been a powerful learning experience here.

~Make it a routine, something that happens the same way every day: it takes time for this to begin to work and to become a habit for everyone (and will require lots of supervision at first, or with kids of young ages). But the predictability of it really helps. Pick up time can be at a designated time once or twice a day. Or it can be that we put away one thing before taking out the next. So long as it's predictable. As always, express appreciation.

I've said to express appreciation throughout. I think expressing genuine appreciation for kids' contributions is important. I like to hear that my efforts are appreciated, I express appreciation for my partner's efforts every day, and I extend the same to my children. Positive feedback is very important. Kids need to know that their efforts are appreciated.

I think it's important to remember that these things take time, and no single response is going to work every single time. And sometimes, things aren't going to get done. It's a process. And our kids aren't the only ones learning. It takes time for them to get it, and it takes time for us to learn how to best approach this issue given our temperament & abilities and our kids' temperaments & abilities. And it does help to stretch our comfort zones a little bit, to be flexible, to be patient, and to get creative. I also think it helps to keep the expectation very clear and consistent: I find that it's okay to change our approach when needed, change our routine if needed, get creative, sometimes be flexible and open to negotiatin, to find new ways of doing housework--but the expectation is always that the kids will help, that is always the goal and the message.
post #59 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solose View Post
My parents never taught me to clean and if i didn't clean my room my mom would go in and do it for me. Now,I am a chronically messy and porcrastinating person and this has hurt me in so many areas of life. I battle with it every day and I really wish my parents had taken a hard line with me in regards to cleaning and organizing, because now it's very hard for me to change old habits. So I really commend you on at least trying to get your kids to learn to clean, because it's so important to learn that at a young age.
I just want to say my mother was opposite to yours, she had high expectations of what clean should be, taught me well, and yet I am a messy housekeeper!
I think we all have different standards of what we can live in and what is acceptable varies greatly between people! Hence the stress of living with people (spouses, kids) who all have different standards.
We can only change ourselves.
Imho, hard lines only hurt.
post #60 of 76
I love all of Magella's suggestions. I wanted to add two: with my dd, I've found that just simply being very firm usually works. Basically I don't give her a choice of whether she is helping or not. I explain the situation to her: the house is messy, I can't do it all myself, families help each other, etc etc and then look her in the eye and say calmly but forcefully YOU WILL HELP, now, would you prefer to vacuum or sweep?

Another idea I got from a friend is to dock their allowance if they don't help. For example, we give our dd an allowance every week that is not tied to chores, it is just her money to save and spend. However, if she leaves her dirty dishes out and I have to bring them into the sink and spend extra time washing them because the food residue has gotten hard, I will charge her 1.00 for that service and take it off of her allowance. So it is sort of a logical consequence. I also docked her allowance a few times when she was being very fussy and unpleasant about helping me when I asked, which isn't terribly logical, but it did have the desired effect. It helped her get past the initial transition phase and now when I tell her we are going to spend an hour cleaning she is fine with it.

I think the key thing to remember is that, unless a child has some unusual issues surrounding cleaning, they will eventually get used to the new rules and routine and will be fine with it. It's only really hard at the beginning, when they are making the transition into having new responsibilties.
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