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WWYD of your child did this to your home EVERY DAY?

post #1 of 108
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I bet you wouldn't believe me that I spend at least 2-3 hours a day cleaning my house and its still messy and its a small 1 bedroom apt! My 6 yr old is a tornado who refuses to clean up. (even when I start trashing everything) This mess actually took about 4 days to create since I haven't done much since my back has been hurting to much from the car accident on the 21st. I did have CLEAN, FOLDED laundry on the couch that was ready to be put away in the morning when the kids woke up and she unfolded ALL OF IT and I came in to find her throwing it around and sitting on it: The clothes laying out are what I washed tonight and need to hang up in the morning before she rips it apart. Underneath are the clothes she undid. The ornament boxes are my doing since I started taking down the tree tonight as I know it will be a battle if I try doing it while she's awake. Anyway, she will create this kind of mess in a single day if I don't clean. I'm getting help to come clean on the 2nd thanks to Santa and ALL her toys are getting locked up and I don't know how I'm going to do it but I'm putting locks on her dresser and the closet too since she keeps pulling everything out of there too. WWYD if your kid created this type of mess EVERY SINGLE DAY? Nothing seems to get though to her that this is unacceptable and getting her to help clean it up is impossible because she just doesn't care about the mess. I'm having secret fantasy's of sending her to live with the Quaker family we met a few weeks back and letting them straighten her out there way! (no I wouldn't but darn it I want the nice polite kid who cleans too!)
post #2 of 108
What's their way?
post #3 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
What's their way?

From what I understood from the mom it involved a lot of things you can't advocate here on MDC.
post #4 of 108
Odd, I hope you don't think that has anything to do with Quakerism. Quakers are pacifists, or at least most are.
post #5 of 108
BTDT. We're slobs, and have two messy children- so the debris sometimes gets even worse.
What works is to read the riot act and to ask the boys to fold the clothes and put things away. Use a hula hoop to contain a small area, and get them to clean that area in one sitting (but do as many sittings as you like before you get a break.) And- this is the key thing- never ever leave a job half finished. If you take the clothes out of the dryer, fold them and put them straight into someone's hands to be put in the drawer.
The secret weapon, however, is having loads of playdates when the house is tidy and none when it's not. Kids care what their friends think of them.
post #6 of 108
My 6yo dd can create a mess out of nothing in 10 minutes flat. I was a lot like her when I was
her age. For me it's not about the "mess" it's taking responsibility for her belongings and also
respect of the communal spaces in the house.

I don't "clean up" after my dd. I clean the whole house, and if she makes a mess and it's in the
communal space of the home she is expected to pick it up. I don't want our room to be a disaster
since we share that area. She has a play room that is ALWAYS crazy messy. That is her space. If
she can't find a toy I remind her that if she put things back she would be able to find them. She is
slowly learning this lesson. I have also explained that she will not be getting any more toys with
pieces or board games until she takes care of the ones she already has. So at least she is putting
away her board games now.

I don't get mad about it. We just talk about it. She has refused to pick up items in the communal
areas before. I simply pick it all up into a trash bag and put it into the basement. If she forgets
about the items, I donate or freecycle them. If she remembers she earns them back. This hasn't
happened for a long time though. The lesson was learned.

I also try to keep a head space that dd is 6. It's fun to destroy. It's fun to watch all her clean clothes
fly into the air when she throws them about. It's fun to pour a whole container of leggo's onto
the floor. She isn't trying to actively complicate my life. She's being 6.
post #7 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
I want the nice polite kid who cleans too!
These exist?
post #8 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
I did have CLEAN, FOLDED laundry on the couch that was ready to be put away in the morning when the kids woke up and she unfolded ALL OF IT and I came in to find her throwing it around and sitting on it:

This I could not tolerate. If dc were 2 or 3, I would say that is to be expected, and the adult should make sure the clothing is out of reach or away. But 6? (my dd will be 6 in Feb). No way.

I would explain that I worked hard to clean and fold that laundry, and that it was wrong for her to ruin my work. And I would communicate that I expect her to pick it up and refold it as best she could. No, it wouldn't be perfect....but she needs to do her best to make it right. I know all about power struggles, and I know that this could become a bad one--but I would at least communicate the expectation. And, if she came to me asking for something (play with her, read a book, etc), I would answer "after the laundry is refolded" and continue with my work.

Beyond that, I would try to figure out why she would dump and sit on folded laundry. Does she need a designated, clear space to play? Does she really like to climb on the couch? (I know my dd does, so that is an unwise place for me to leave laundry). Does she have some unmet need? (food, attention, rest, etc).
post #9 of 108
My ds finds laundry irresistable, too. One thing that works for me is to fold it into those lidded storage bins so they are out of sight. If your dd is hellbent on annoying you, it wouldn't stop her. In that case, I would guess she is doing it for attention and planning a ton of fun time together might help. There was a time when I couldn't do any cleaning in front of ds because making messes for mommy became the game. I weeded out all the toys with many parts at that point.
post #10 of 108
WWID? I would cry.

My DD is not that old yet but we send her to Montessori school now and I like some of the principles they use to teach children to respect their "works" (toys) and the space. So far, using Montessori techniques have helped a lot here. -Within reason, I don't expect DD to be compulsively clean.

We only keep out a certain number of toys - DH is on his way to buy containers for the old ones now. I try and keep it around 10. Each toy/puzzle/book/whatever has its own place and DD has her own work area to play with the toy. When she takes the toy down, she plays with it until she is done and then she is expected to put it back where it belongs. Even if she takes out all of her toys at once though, there are only 10 so it only takes a few minutes to straighten up. Having your own work area is important too. In school, DD has a mat (2' x 3' or so) that is her work area. No one invades her work area and there is only one work in the area at a given time. It is just more orderly that way.

One thing I did see in your place is that there is a large amount of stuff. I know you are in a small space, can you pack away most of it until you move to a bigger place or give away a lot of it? I am on a quest to get rid of a lot of stuff right now.

Oh, and we are far from being neat people. My mom never instilled a method of straightening in me even though she was compulsively clean so I have been learning it as an adult. That is why I started with DD so young, because I wish that was something my mom had done for me. And I like the idea of "if it is in the communal area and it doesn't get picked up, its freecycled". We will do that when DD is a little older I think.

Good luck, I wish you the best.
post #11 of 108
EVERY day? While 32 weeks pregnant with an 8 month old trying to crawl? I'd bawl, constantly.



I have no suggestions, as I've never dealt with anything like this. Our older two are pretty good about at least getting their toys off the floor and throwing them on their shelves. Soon we're going to try and get some baskets to keep their toys and things in while on their shelves, but for now as long as they're near the shelves I'm happy.

The Montessori techniques sound like a great idea. Worth a try!
post #12 of 108
I would tell her to pick it up, if she didnt, for every item she trashed and refused to pick up I would take away a toy. If she still didnt do it I'd throw the toy in the garbage in front of her.
post #13 of 108
as you can see from my sig, i have two dds. one is almost 6 and she hates to clean. it drives dh and me nuts. she doesn't purposefully create a mess to get out goats, but she just does endless art projects which involve dumping out all the crayons and cutting up lots of shreds of paper. we're forever picking up after her very resentfully.

my younger dd (3) can create a mess, too, but she really is much more apt to pick things back up with prompting. if i ask dd1 to pick up she will say things like, "i HATE to pick up. i'm NOT picking up anything. i'm NEVER going to pick up ever again." grrrrrrrr.... i've talked and talked until i'm blue in the face.

i think a lot of our problem is too much stuff. i have packrat tendencies and dh does, too, though he wouldn't admit it, but you should see the amount of computer eqpt here. i have slowly been trying to get organized, though. i've been putting their art stuff and toys in designated bins that have a little picture and words that show what goes in them. (both my mom and my dh gave me more BINS and baskets for christmas, too!) i'm trying to keep on top of it.

dh did a masterful job of cleaning the basement playroom all christmas eve night so santa wouldn't trip when he came down the chimney. he put away about 12 loads of laundry and picked up tons and tons and tons of toys and just trash (art project scraps mostly) from the floor. i really would prefer if they confined their trashing of the house to down there, but gosh it looks nice un-trashed. they really don't want to play down there unless we're with them, though and i prefer to spend most of my time upstairs in the kitchen and living room so those are the areas that frequently get hit by little tornadoes.

i've been boxing some things up this morning (it is boxing day after all) to take to the thrift store. i just really need to get rid of a lot of stuff. i think the girls need to see me get rid of my stuff before they can get a handle on the idea of getting rid of their stuff, but again my 3 yr old is better at this than my almost 6 yr old.

i think a lot of it is just temperament. my older dd is very very ACquisitive. she just wants stuff. you should see the panic that sets in if we go out to buy, say, a pair of shoes and none of the ones at the store are quite right. she feels this desperation to just get something, get anything she's got to GET GET GET! seriously, that was her first word. no lie. as a baby the first thing she said was not Mama or Da-Da it was GET. i'm fighting an uphill battle here, but we keep fighting it. i remind her that toys are nice, but that people are the best thing of all. it's a lot of fun to play with her friends' toys, but it's a lot more fun to play with her friends. she wouldn't really want her friend's mom to drop off toys for a playdate and no kid.

i think sometimes when my girls see a cluttered space even if the laundry is all folded it's just too much for them and they feel "cluttered in their heads" as i sometimes tell them i feel. think about it, when you walk into a space that is just chock full of stuff even if it's put away and not taking up valuable butt-space on the couch, you can feel kinda edgy and icky and stressed out. do you know what i mean? i'm not being particularly articulate, but i'll try to make an example. take your space out of it. say you've been invited to a friend's parents' house and these folks collect knick knacks and have them all over the living room on shelves and tables etc. your kids aren't with you so you don't have the worry that someone might knock something over, but you might still feel a little claustrophobic and jumbled in that kind of space. now imagine the opposite -- you're invited to a house that has only one or two special items out and the rest are out of sight and pulled out when they're needed. your mind might feel more restful and settled. if you can imagine what a 6 yr old might feel like in those kinds of environments maybe you can see why some 6 yr olds might feel like taking all the stuff and strewing it all around. it may just be a response to feeling out of sorts. now, i'm really talking to myself as much as anybody else here. i DO NOT have the uncluttered house. i have seen my dd1, though, when we go to dh's mom's who has a very neat house (she has housekeepers come in once or twice a week, too, i think) and dd1 loves it. i think she really revels in that clean neat space. that's not to say that she doesn't make a mess there. she does, but i think on some level she appreciates the clean orderly space.

anyway, i'm rambling, but i wanted to commiserate and let you know what we're trying to do with very very modest success with dd1, but some success with dd2. we model de-cluttering. we model picking up. we model having a designated place for everything and everything in it's place. we model as best we can model which admittedly is not so well some days (see earlier disclaimer about being a packrat, but i'm trying to reform). i think we really need to fix up our space some more (our walls have needed painting for about 5 years) for dd1 to appreciate it. i guess it's about respecting our environment.

gotta go help somebody on the potty....

hth
post #14 of 108
Hmmm. I have a little three year old so I have NOT BTDT. I mean, he does create a lot of mess, sometimes even on purpose, but he's not six and can't be expected to put things away without me focusing on it and singing the cleanup time song and stuff like that.

She's six. Do you think you could give her the chore of folding and putting away her own clothing? Not as a punishment, as a real job that she always does. You might have to supervise her. If she's so crazy about laundry she might really enjoy it. Then you wouldn't have to do her clothes--you might be able to fold the rest of the family laundry with her--and you could put things away together.
post #15 of 108
I can't stand messes. I would cry. And then set a timer. If the mess wasn't being cleaned up by the timer went off, any toys in the mess would be thrown out permanently. I would help clean up of course, but not without dd's help. Yes, I am mean. I would not leave laundry within dc's reach if she is too tempted by it.
post #16 of 108
Some of that doesn't look like kid mess to me. Is that a vaccum cleaner and boxes of unopened tinsel in the room? (or is that a stack of computer paper?) Those stacked plastic bins with stuff on top of them? The stroller? (or is that a car seat? Can you put the stroller in the hallway or in the car trunk if you have one? In the bedroom? Hall closet?

I find my kids are better at not doing crazy things if there is some ryhme and reason to begin with. Some of it can't be helped when you live in a small home, but purging frequently helps me.
post #17 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
Some of that doesn't look like kid mess to me. Is that a vaccum cleaner and boxes of unopened tinsel in the room? (or is that a stack of computer paper?) Those stacked plastic bins with stuff on top of them? The stroller? (or is that a car seat? Can you put the stroller in the hallway or in the car trunk if you have one? In the bedroom? Hall closet?

I find my kids are better at not doing crazy things if there is some ryhme and reason to begin with. Some of it can't be helped when you live in a small home, but purging frequently helps me.
this.
i can see that some of it is the 6 yr olds mess but it also appears that you need to take responsibility and set an example.
i also agree with the idea of finishing a task (ie fold and put away laundry instead of leaving it out).
post #18 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artist Mama View Post
this.
i can see that some of it is the 6 yr olds mess but it also appears that you need to take responsibility and set an example.
i also agree with the idea of finishing a task (ie fold and put away laundry instead of leaving it out).
If the OP's house is like mine (and gee, sure looks like it is! ) you have to go into the room where the child is sleeping to put away the clothing. So you might perpetually have a cycle where you wait to fold until she's asleep, then go to bed, then she wakes up and trashes your folding project, perhaps before you're even out of bed!

Hence my suggestion to do it together. Since she's six, enlist her help.
post #19 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
[url] I'm having secret fantasy's of sending her to live with the Quaker family we met a few weeks back and letting them straighten her out there way! (no I wouldn't but darn it I want the nice polite kid who cleans too!)
Okay, I'm a Quaker and here's what we do. Don't know if it's typical of Quakers or not...

If my dd's made a mess (she's 6, btw), I've explained to her that she has ___ minutes in which to clean it up. Set a reasonable time for the mess in question. If it's not cleaned up in ____ minutes, the items remaining out will get put away in the closet by me and will not be taken down for____ (set a period of time). They will be returned, I reassure her, but they definitely will be removed by someone, either by me or by her.

So far, this has worked. I also explain the why of picking up: if blocks are left on our wood floor, they could cause someone to step on them and hurt their feet or skid and hurt themselves; if dolls are left out, they could be broken or stepped on, and so on. At the same time, I pick up after myself too, so it's not just a case of Mean Dictatorial Order-Givin', Butt-Sittin' Mom.
post #20 of 108
I have to agree with the above two posters.

Before you can expect the 6 year old to take you seriously or even know what it is that you want (and I do agree that at 6, frankly, she can and should take responsibility for care of communal spaces as well as her own), you need to get your act together.

It looks like you might need to do some purging of your own stuff. Or bite the bullet and get a storage space. Once you have enough space so that she can actually see what neat and orderly can look like, then you can ask her to help you maintain it. She is not going to learn how to do that with that much space taken up by things. Even if she were magically to be Miss Sparkle overnight, you'd STILL feel hemmed in and cluttered with a ton of stuff sitting around, especially in those gigantic containers.

It sounds like you are focusing extra stuff on her that isn't fair. It's totally out of line for her to destroy your folded laundry. OTOH, why is folded laundry sitting out in the first place, or why isn't she expected to put it away once you fold it?

I know what it's like to have too much stuff crammed into a too small space, to have kids that rip through it and create more chaos. But when it got to the nervous breakdown point for me, I had to take a VERY hard look at myself. And in the end I literally ended up purging half of my stuff, and boxing up 1/4 more for storage. Even now that I have space and storage, every six months I MUST go through and purge things or else it gets out of control.

The pictures you've shown show surface kid mess. But underneath it is adult disorganization and clutter, unless your 6 year old was dragging the vaccuum around and leaving it in the room, and threw a bunch of storage tubs in there and is responsible for having large, bulky items (like the carseat) laying around--which could very well be true, as in she drags them out of whatever closed door you've put them behind, I'm *not* discounting the possibility. You're not going to get rid of the kid mess without solving the underlying problem. It's VERY hard to do in a small apartment. And storage is not free in most places. But in the four months it took me to process my stuff and give myself a breather, that $20/mo. was a lifesaver just so that I could have some peace and the rest of my family could breathe as well.

If you're not naturally organized (and I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're probably not), it is a REALLY hard thing to do. It's often very hard to explain to people as well, if you feel better with less clutter but aren't very good at maintaining that in the first place. It's even harder to do when you have too much stuff in too little of a space, and if you come from a background where you worry about not having something when you need it, someday.

I think it's time that your 6 year old had some chores. It is inappropriate of her to destroy work that you've done. It is not wrong for you to give her some consequences for doing something like that. However, please understand that if that is the environment she's seen all her life, she is not going to 'see' what needs to be done to make things look neater. And it may also be part of her nature (I was raised by textbook OCD parents, the house was spotless, but I was taught nothing and was punished for doing things 'wrong', and even though I was IN neat and organized since I can remember, for whatever reason it's hard for me to see what to do when confronted by a lot of stuff.)

I'm not saying your house is a pit. Not by a long shot. But to be honest, I see more things in there that an adult should correct than six year old wild rumpus mess. And if it's really starting to bother you, then you should not only get tough with her stuff, but also with yours. I know how hard/nervewracking that is to do though. Damn near overwhelming.

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