DDs are 6 and 3. We've been having big problems with picking up. When I say it's time for clean-up, I get screams, whining, excuses, lying on the floor, fighting with each other....I totally get that it isn't a fun thing to do, and that this age they will still need some help. However, I'm having trouble getting past that reaction to be playful and creative and make it work.
I'd like them to grudgingly get started, politely ask for specific help, complete specific tasks, and generally get the area noticeably cleaner (but not perfect) in a reasonable amount of time. Is this totally unrealistic?
I also get that it's not their fault I'm 7.5 months pregnant, that it's hot, that my patience is not what it could be right now, and that other people's stuff all over the floor is a trigger.
But we need something to work better.
We generally make the beds as part of the morning routine. I try to get them to pick up things when they're done with them, but in reality, unless I follow them around all day long and do half of it with/for them, it doesn't happen. They (like all children, I'm sure) can destroy a room in no time. I can vacuum in the morning and by afternoon the floor is covered. I like to do clean-up again after dinner / before bed, the rationale being that we're done with it for the day. This is when we seem to get the biggest protest -- because the mess is the biggest? It's certainly routine -- both that we're supposed to do it and that they throw a fit. I often give myself a time out because I can't help in a productive way amid said fit, and then they usually just don't do much of anything.
This is very disconnecting, and I want to be enjoying them and doing fun stuff before DD1 is in school all day long and I'm taking care of a newborn full-time.
I've also decided I need some place of my own that isn't going to get messed up by other people. I'm just not sure where this would be... For now, they're basically not allowed in our bedroom. Though that doesn't help with DH's mess..... I'd like something more useful than a storage closet! I just want a place that's predictably peaceful.
Some stuff will also definitely be going to the basement, though I'm trying not to be punitive about it. I think losing things you don't take care of is a natural consequence, but being punitive about it kind of loses the natural impact. I don't think them having their rooms however they want is a good option right now, as I'm trying to install good habits, and after just a couple of days it's really starting to be a safety issue.
Once in a while a race will help, and DD2 usually responds to counting, but I need a lot more techniques, (and patience), and I'm really just not willing to do the majority of cleaning up the things that they can take care of themselves right now.