When my children were tiny, We always expected they needed help picking up their toys, so we helped. We still help, and we don't get into power struggles about it. Sometimes i walk in the kids rooms and want to cringe. I will sometimes just pick up what is making me cringe without messing with private stuff, papers etc. I might make the beds, too. Unmade beds don't bother them, but it does bother me. Sometimes I will walk by a messy room and just close the door. Sometimes I will simply tell them it's obvious they can't tell dirty clothes from clean clothes and go in there and sort it. If it's really a mess, dh or i will go in and lend a quick hand. Sometimes, too, i walk by and the beds are made and it's not cringe-worthy.
I never argued with kids overs getting dressed , and I probably dressed my kids far past the age they could easily dress themselves---which they often did. Of course, I did have one who was kinda cranky in the morning and liked me to put on his shirt when i woke him. I'd then put his boxers, socks and pants on his bed and he'd finish. I'm sure some might cringe at a mother putting on the t- shirt of an 8 yr old, but it made him happy and it got our day off to a non-cranky start. Now he's older and hasn't asked me to help him get dressed in years. :LOL In fact, i can't remember the last time I helped anyone put anything on.
But I don't have any problem saying 'Come get these coats, shoes, backpacks, toys etc out of the kitchen right now. Every one of you has something in the kitchen that belongs in the cubbies" . That just doesn't upset me to say that, and none of the kids seem perturbed by it, either. Maybe they all don't come running breathlessly to clear it out, but they do come. If a child or two has a lot to carry, I will help him/her. Or I will ask a sib to lend a hand depending on what I am doing. I am not doing guilt or shame, I'm simply saying that there is a pile of stuff in the kitchen that does not belong there and I suppose my tone does indicate annoyance, which maybe makes them come quicker.
: But I am not going to hide the factthat it's frustrating to walk into a kitchen to cook and not be able to see the cutting board for the stuff. I might say to the younger ones "If you leave this here, it could get something spilled on it and be runied". Or "If your shoes are in your cubby, you won't have to look for them later". No humilation, just facts.
Sometimes, too, I will tell my oldest that I'll pay him $10 to mow the lawn. He's never once said no, because he wants the $10. If he did say no, i'd do it, or my dh would. I will let you know if he ever turns down the money. lol Of course, he helped me dig out my garden beds, which took a couple of hours and he did that just beause I asked if he would help. No money involved, just a request.
Maybe all those years of being nice to them and helping them has helped that. But no way would I feel bad about telling a kid to please go pick up all artwork that is strewn all over the living room floor. Not "Come here, you little brat- this place is a mess . I can't trust you to take care of anything, can I? " More like "Girl, these papers are everywhere and the dogs are going to tear them to pieces. Here, you get those and I'll get these". I also don't have a problem saying "I am vaccuuuuummmmming tommorow, please pick all the game pieces up off the floor so they don't get sucked up into the vaaacccuuumm".
My kids are too old and too smart for me to have to dance around whether the stuff of 6 people strewn all over the house is a problem at times. I mean sometimes it's just "Let's pick all this crap up- the place is a mess. Pretty soon none of us will be able to find squat".