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Keeping bedroom tidy

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have a hard time getting ds (5) to participate and wonder what others do. I just came across the "House Fairy" site - anyone used it?
post #2 of 23
I'm interested in what others do, too....my girls need some help in this area!
post #3 of 23
Well, we have a rule that their rooms must be picked up before bed. They can do it on their own time, though. Anything left out is taken away. What helps the most here is that their toys are not in the bedrooms. We have a gameroom that they are all kept in to play. They tidy that up twice a day before lunch and dinner. I just have bins that they throw it all in for the most part. No real issues with them cleaning up at all because they know anything left out is taken away for a while.
post #4 of 23
We are very relaxed about cleaning up, have chosen to set an example and let DS find his way there. We've rarely made an issue of it. We use cooperative family cleaning, "Hey, you grab the yellow blocks and I'll grab the blue and let's see how fast we can get this cleaned up." I might ask him to make a scene somewhere else if the area he's chosen is too much in the way of foot traffic, etc. This was just not a power struggle I wanted to have. And it's strange because I'm OCD. I think for me it's almost a consious effort not to subject my need for cleanliness onto DS. My standards for it are rather high and not very realistic for someone so young who has much better things to do.

That said, because myself and DH are tidy people in general, DS has become accustomed to living in an environment that is well, tidy. DS isn't super neat, but he's not a huge mess maker either. He does like to create habitats and "scenes" of all kinds using all sorts of materials from around and about the house. I've noticed recently that when he's creating something like this and needs to dump a container of materials to find one in particular, he will rather automatically (as in not really thinking about it) replace the contents back into the container once he's found his piece. He's of course seen me do this hundreds of times... without thinking, and without complaint. I believe DS likes to have his environment tidy when "working" because it's a more pleasant way to create (and perhaps because of me and my OCD, it's just what he's used to ) and so he does whatever comes natural toward that end.

The few times I've decided to make an issue of it (I'm tired, my OCD is over the top for some reason), I've invoked some really big power struggles and THAT was the real mess. The more I pushed, the more he dug in his heels and not because he didn't want to contribute necessarily, but simply because I was pushing and making an issue. Just that natural human response to being pushed. The more I back off, the more he seems to want to be responsible and useful in this way rather naturally (not consistently mind you, maybe when he has a place of his own ).

The other thing I've come to is that DS and I spend a lot of time TOGETHER playing. In this, I feel that it's just as much my responsiblity to clean up toys and such as it is his. We've try to maintain a "cooperative" atmosphere. And I find *rather* consistently, that when I'm tackling chores and ask if he'd like to dust, he's usually pretty amenable. I do *ask* however and will take no for an answer. The other night while preparing dinner, DS grabbed the corn and offered to shuck it for me. I didn't gush, simply smiled and said thanks but I admit on the inside I was gushing just a tad. Mainly, I'm counting on maturity and setting a good example and of course, just having an overall good relationship with DS. Putting that first seems to make all things "parenting" that much less daunting.

Just my .02 for whatever that's worth.

The best,
post #5 of 23
This is ONLY a problem if your son has too much stuff. Keep whiddling away at at the toys, games, and books until it becomes maneageable for you son.
post #6 of 23
I find that if I start to help that they start picking up right away. I also like to rotate toys and books every month or so. We have a relatively small space and this helps cut down the clutter. This only works if you have a space to store the books and toys that are to be stored for a time. We Moms tend to know which things that our kids are not really interested in.
post #7 of 23
I've found that everything needs to have a "home". A shelf, basket, etc. I've recently purchased some bin organizers and my DH made a bookshelf for DD's room. Also, everything (hooks, etc.) needs to be within reach of the child. This has helped immensely. She knows where everything goes, and it is easy for her to get it to its proper place.
post #8 of 23
I usually say I'm going to clean your room now, I'm going to throw away whatever looks like garbage to me, so if you want to come help me you can.
It tends to work (mainly because my daughter's favorite toys tend to be total trash like my husbands old toothbrush --yuck!, cardboard boxes, deflated helium baloons).
post #9 of 23
Originally Posted by Nolamom View Post
I've found that everything needs to have a "home". A shelf, basket, etc. I've recently purchased some bin organizers and my DH made a bookshelf for DD's room. Also, everything (hooks, etc.) needs to be within reach of the child. This has helped immensely. She knows where everything goes, and it is easy for her to get it to its proper place.
Great point. This is one thing I've done from the beginning that I believe allows DS to easily participate in cleaning. Everything has a bin or basket or container with a specific grouping of toys: dinosaurs, animals, wood blocks, plastic blocks, accessories, etc. The bins are placed about his room, are easy to locate, reach and fast to fill.

post #10 of 23
dd had asked to start collecting pokemon cards. dh talked with her about responsibility and taking care of things. He explained that she didn't put away her toys and keep things together so he didn't think she was ready to have pokemon cards. So they made a deal that if she could keep her room tidy for a week without us reminding her that he'd get her a pack of cards. And she did it. Since then she's slacked off but we did have a baby and I think she's forgotten some.
post #11 of 23
I ask my 5 year old to put her clean clothes away(usually just thrown in a pile at the bottom of the wardrobe) and to tidy her room so I can see the floor at least- I usually help her with the latter. I think it's good to instill this trait from about this age, and it helps for when they go to school.
post #12 of 23
My son is 5 1/2 and only just started picking up his room without a huge battle.

He loves certain characters and I've started playing a "make believe" game where we can invite one of his favorite characters over for a playdate. (my son has a great imagination). I tell him that we can only invite "____" if ds has picked up his toys.

It's working.
post #13 of 23
We do much like Embee, and much like her, I'm OCD as well. I just pick up what bothers me, and let the rest go. A lot of the time, dd isn't into picking up her toys, but give her a squirt bottle and a mini mop, and she'll mop my floors for an hour! So, we often switch 'chores'. I'll pick her stuff up and she'll wash the non-breakable dishes/dust/mop. Either way, everything gets done. We have also decluttered a LOT (still in the process) and made sure that if it doesn't have a home to find it one or get rid of it. HTH
post #14 of 23
The House Fairy is great! : Of course, I'm a Flybaby, so I love everything associated with Flylady. I haven't bought any of the House Fairy materials, but if you belong to the Flylady email list, a lot of her tips are emailed for free.

At our house, The House Fairy tries to catch DD's room looking nice. House Fairy has left small toys or a couple of quarters, sprinkled with glitter, and it really is a great motivator for my DD.

DD is visiting my parents this week, so I'm doing a major purge of her room while she's gone. I'm getting rid of at least 50-75% of the toys, because it just overwhelms DD and makes it impossible to clean. I honestly think that toy clutter is at the root of 80% of DD's behavior problems. And I'm going out on a limb and saying she'll never notice anything I've tossed, but will be thrilled at how tidy her room looks.

Good luck!
post #15 of 23
We tried an allowance system with DD1 when she was five. We said she needed to make her bed -- which included setting the million stuffed animals ON TOP of the blanket in some sort of neat pile -- every morning, and she needed to help me straighten the play room every Friday before dinner. If she did these things, we'd give her $2 at the end of the week.

This lasted MAYBE 2 weeks, and there was a lot of harassment. We gave up. During one argument, DD1 said, "but I want my allowance!" and I said, "Well, you just need to do your chores next week and then you'll get it, absolutely!" Her response was "Well then I guess I'll never get any allowance." She basically admitted that she was not going to do the chores. We did not make a big deal about it. She just wasn't ready for regular chores...but that meant she wasn't ready for allowance either, and both were ok with us.

From time to time over the course of the year, she would ask for some item in a store, and I would say "you don't have any money for that, sweetie. Maybe you could start doing your chores again, and then you'd get some money every week." She would think about it, and then shrug and say "maybe."

It was not until a recent visit from my parents, nearly a year after our first introduction to the idea of chores, when DD1 decided she wanted to try again. I actually didn't realize she was doing it -- but then noticed that her bed was made when I went up there during the day. She started even asking to sleep on top of her covers with a throw-blanket, so she would be able to have a neat bed in the morning. After she'd done this for about 4 days, I told her how nice her room looked, and how proud I was of her for doing it without even being asked. I reminded her that if she kept it up for another 3 days, and then we cleaned the playroom together, she'd get money. And I also mentioned that since she was older, it would be a little more money.

The kid got allowance this weekend!!!

I guess the point I'm making is that sometimes they are ready for regular chores, and sometimes they're not. Natural consequences work pretty well for big messes (like painful feet from stepping on polly pockets all over the floor). Other than that, I think it's a waiting game. YMMV, of course.
post #16 of 23
For us, everything has a place. We don't have a playroom so it all gets stored in ds's room, and on a bookshelf in our living room. Ds likes being able to find stuff, so that's my big motivator to put everything away at the end of the day.

I let things get out of hand for a year and I often ended up yelling at him because I couldn't stand the clutter. It took us (me, ds, and dh) waay too long to clean up everything at the end of the day. Ds was overwhelmed by it all too, even though he swore he couldn't part with any of it, lol.
He is a packrat so when he's gone I declutter in small increments. That way he doesn't get too upset over things being gone all at once.

Once you have a place for everything, when those spots get too full, something has to go.

I also usually do a big decluttering right before his birthday, and before Christmas.

We also do an allowance each week, that helps.
post #17 of 23
My DS has pretty bad allergies and he has a little brother. So their bedroom is limited to legos for DS to escape his brother and play with. For the legos all I have to do is mention I have to vacuum and they get put away quickly. I have to vacuum at least 1x a week.

The rest of the toys live in a small amount in our living room and then a bunch in the basement. I found it is easiest to incorporate a few strategies. Our house is on the market which is the motivation to keep it up.

For the basement the rule is you pick up one "item" before leaving. Like all the bristle blocks or all the uno cards kind of thing. I have to be down there with them and I will pick one thing (or more if I am bored sitting there with them). It at least keeps things down their sort of manageable and they get in the habit of playing and then cleaning before leaving the area. Now and then I take my older DS down and the two of us work together to get the rest of the things up so I can clean. Everything does have its place.

The living room is open concept so lately we have a rule of cleaning before dinner or right after dinner. We participate and clean the kitchen while they work on their toys. We also help with their stuff because the 3 yr old is limited in how helpful he is and his brother will get upset having to do it all himself. I have found that the daily quick clean is becoming not only a habit but we find it easier to keep up with it. Once again everything has a place.

I do put swap toys out now and then which makes the areas stay cleaner and the toys out used more. I really limit what is in the living area or I would go totally insane. I declutter toys all the time.
post #18 of 23
Originally Posted by velcromom View Post
I have a hard time getting ds (5) to participate and wonder what others do. I just came across the "House Fairy" site - anyone used it?
Dd and I just watched the video intro...:

What works for us is just keeping up with it, doing a little each day. It's the same way with the rest of the house.

My just turned 8 y/o son still needs help with his room.
post #19 of 23
The House Fairy Lady is super creepy!
post #20 of 23
ok, that fairy is SCARY and weird and creepy. I would NOT do that for my kid...probably give her nightmares...
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