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#1 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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New here and need help! I don't know if this is the correct SIG for this or not, but here goes.

I'll start by saying I am not a neat freak but....my house is a pigsty - it is not cluttered , it is messy. My children, mostly the 3 and 4 (almost 5 year old) go through the house like hurricanes daily, hourly and just trash it. I have tried to get them to play in their rooms or in the lovely large playroom, but they can't seem to contain themselves or their messes.

I can't keep up with the mess and it is driving me crazy. I am the type that can NOT function in disorganization. I don't want a sparkling clean house, I just want it not to look like a flippin' BOMB went off in it. I could, conceivably I suppose, follow them around and pick up after them, but it wouldn't do any good.

I have streamlined their toys, I have put things in storage, but it does no good. While I don't want to limit their precious creativity, I can't stand them pulling out every mattress, blanket, piece of clothing from their drawer, scrap of paper, kitchen utensil, baby item, etc.

I have, in the past, tried to limit play to certain rooms, but with a 15 month to chase after, I can't keep up with it. It doesn't help either that my dh will not help in enforcing any rules whatsoever. He sides with the children and thinks I should only pick up the house once a day - at night after everyone is sleeping. This situation has caused countless arguments.

Any advice on what you do with your littles is so appreciated. Life would be so easy if I could just, um, embrace the mess, but I can't. This is driving me to the point of depression, I think. I can't stand it! HELP PLEASE!
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#2 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 04:13 PM
 
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We've got the same thing going on at our house. It drives me mad! Literally! I can't stand it. We try to keep stuff in little rubbermaid tubs to keep it organized, but it doesn't work. My kids will take a tub of matchbox cars, dump them out and then walk away. Or take the big tub of dinosaurs and other animals and do the same. There have been days where they've emptied all the tubs plus the toybox out and simply dumped it into one big heap. They don't play with it. They just trash the place. I make them help (or do it all), but it still doesn't phase them.

And here's what I've come up with. The only way to eliminate this is to reduce drastically. Like I think my ds should have one dump truck instead of 3, 1 excavator instead of 2, 1 tub of matchbox cars instead of 3. However, I know my ds would completely flip out if I did this so I haven't yet. But I sooo want to. Right now I've got some bags of toys hiding in my closet to see if they even notice that they're gone. If he doesn't say anything here within a few days I think they'll be sold or donated.

Another issue we have is that we garage sale too much. Stuff is so cheap that it's fun to buy it But then in the end it leaves me completely stressed, yk? So that's something else we have to work on. No garage sales!

Maybe somebody else has some words of wisdom?

Liz~A wife and homeschooling mother to two gifts from God!
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#3 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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Sigh... you have a playroom? (Oh dear, that's not very helpful, is it?)

I don't know what to add (I have a 3 & 5 yr old), except to streamline further & that your dh has GOT to get on board with you. I am insistant that before other things get done, the mess that has just exploded HAS to be cleaned up. Period.

Your dh is doing them no favors for their future lives. I hope you can get things worked out.
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#4 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 04:27 PM
 
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I've been there. It's sooo exhausting to continue to pick up the same things over and over again.

Here's something I've started doing recently.
I have 2 & 4 yo boys. I ask them to pick up their toys before bedtime. After they are in bed I get a kitchen sized trash bag (or you could use a rubbermaid tote) and go around the house and put all the toys that aren't put away into the bag. Then I put the bag into the garage.

I've done the 3 times in the past week and they haven't even noticed that A LOT of thier toys are missing. This tells me that they really have too many toys. AND it has made it a little easier on me when it comes time to pick up the toys because there just aren't as many for them to spread all around the house.

Eventually, I'll need to go through those bags and decide if we should keep any of it or just donate it all to charity. Right now, I'm content for it to sit in the garage for a while! LOL!
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#5 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneotamama
We've got the same thing going on at our house. It drives me mad! Literally! I can't stand it. We try to keep stuff in little rubbermaid tubs to keep it organized, but it doesn't work. My kids will take a tub of matchbox cars, dump them out and then walk away. Or take the big tub of dinosaurs and other animals and do the same. There have been days where they've emptied all the tubs plus the toybox out and simply dumped it into one big heap. They don't play with it. They just trash the place. I make them help (or do it all), but it still doesn't phase them.

And here's what I've come up with. The only way to eliminate this is to reduce drastically. Like I think my ds should have one dump truck instead of 3, 1 excavator instead of 2, 1 tub of matchbox cars instead of 3. However, I know my ds would completely flip out if I did this so I haven't yet. But I sooo want to. Right now I've got some bags of toys hiding in my closet to see if they even notice that they're gone. If he doesn't say anything here within a few days I think they'll be sold or donated.

Another issue we have is that we garage sale too much. Stuff is so cheap that it's fun to buy it But then in the end it leaves me completely stressed, yk? So that's something else we have to work on. No garage sales!

Maybe somebody else has some words of wisdom?
I feel so guilty giving things away and/or hiding them. I gave away at least 6 HUGE bags to Goodwill in the Spring but it doesn't seem to have done any good.

We garage sale too....but I really try to keep toy buying to a minimum. Garage sale-ing is addictive!
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#6 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TigerTail
Sigh... you have a playroom? (Oh dear, that's not very helpful, is it?)

I don't know what to add (I have a 3 & 5 yr old), except to streamline further & that your dh has GOT to get on board with you. I am insistant that before other things get done, the mess that has just exploded HAS to be cleaned up. Period.

Your dh is doing them no favors for their future lives. I hope you can get things worked out.
I know he isn't doing them any favors, he just doesn't realize it. He gets so annoyed with me when I make the children clean up their mess. It is easier, or so he says, to just do it after they are asleep. This is the man who NEVER EVER had to lift a finger growing up. His mother did everything for him.

Ugh. That aspect of my life really belongs on another sig, but he is not, nor ever will be, supportive of me in that respect.
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#7 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SaraMama
I've been there. It's sooo exhausting to continue to pick up the same things over and over again.

Here's something I've started doing recently.
I have 2 & 4 yo boys. I ask them to pick up their toys before bedtime. After they are in bed I get a kitchen sized trash bag (or you could use a rubbermaid tote) and go around the house and put all the toys that aren't put away into the bag. Then I put the bag into the garage.

I've done the 3 times in the past week and they haven't even noticed that A LOT of thier toys are missing. This tells me that they really have too many toys. AND it has made it a little easier on me when it comes time to pick up the toys because there just aren't as many for them to spread all around the house.

Eventually, I'll need to go through those bags and decide if we should keep any of it or just donate it all to charity. Right now, I'm content for it to sit in the garage for a while! LOL!
I hear you. I've done the same thing. But how do you deal with the mess all day? I can't wait til bedtime for the house to be somewhat navigable. Plus, they are not just pulling out their toys - they are pulling out mattresses, towels, blankets, contents of their drawers - EVERYTHING. Is it wrong to make them play in a designated room or rooms?

You know what a fantasy of mine is...it is to go through the house and trash the place, I mean empty all the drawers, pull out the cushions, etc and make everyone live it for a few days. But...my dh would not care AT ALL and the drama of it all would simply be lost on the 3 and (nearly) 5 year old. And in all honestly, I would have a bona fide nervous breakdown after about 6 hours of living in a house in that state. :

What to do. sigh.
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#8 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 06:32 PM
 
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OMG - I feel like I could've written these posts! My hose sounds exactly like this. It's chaos - utter chaos. And I'm in total agreement about the depression. I literally don't want to get out of bed now that our house is this disastrous.

I've tried for 5 years to fix it, and to no avail.

Here's my plan:

Reduce each family members clothing supply by at least 50%. That will help in the laundry/storage space areas.

Pick out 5 different toys for each kid. The rest are going to the basement for at least 3 months. I'll rotate quarterly.

WE have TONS of kids books. I'm going to save maybe 20 of them, and donate the rest to the library.

I sure hope it works!!!!!!!

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#9 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 10:46 PM
 
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We have the same issue. I think decluttering toys and clothes is a great idea..but is only works so far. If your kids are anything like mine, they will pull anything and everything out, sheets off the mattresses, towels out of the closet, paper out, band-aids all over the bathroom. We would have to make our house almost completely devoid of everything, since even if we have little stuff..they find ways to make messes with that. :

Really, what works for us is to just spend lots of time outdoors and outside. We usually do 2-3 quick clean-up/pick-ups a day. Each time only takes 10 minutes or so, and i go through and pick up/ put away everything which was taken out in the bedroom or common living areas (kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc.) I let the playroom go a bit more, and don't pick that up as much. Anyway, we usually head out sometime in the morning, so we do a quick 10-minute clean-up before we go out. Then we come home, just in time for lunch and dd2's nap. While dd2 naps, I do homeschool stuff or other 1 on 1 activities with dd1..and that keeps her occuppies. Then when dd2 wakes up, we head out again (and do another quick clean-up)...sometimes just outside in the backyard to play in the kiddie pool, but sometimes out again to the playground or something.

Then I do another quick clean-up before bed.

Anyway, I really think spending several hours a day out of the hosue is what helps the most. First, if we aren't home..they can't mess things up. .and I LOVE coming home to nice clean (or at least picked-up house) after spending some time out. Second, I think being out a lot (sometimes to playgroup, or the library, or friends houses, or the playground, beach, etc., etc) really stimulates my girls, tires them out and keeps them from feeling as "bored" at home. On days we are out a lot, they tend to play calmly and look at books more when we are home. I think being out, gets a lot of the excess energy out, and they are able to focus more on actual playing with toys or looking at books when home. It is days when we are stuck inside (due or rain, or for whatever reason) that they just trash the house willy-nilly. I am the same way..I tend to get really restless feeling if we have been stuck indoors or staying inside all day. Kids feel the same way..but their restlesness translates into trashing things. Anyway, just wanted to share what works for us. Good luck.

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#10 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 11:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EENS
I know he isn't doing them any favors, he just doesn't realize it. He gets so annoyed with me when I make the children clean up their mess. It is easier, or so he says, to just do it after they are asleep. This is the man who NEVER EVER had to lift a finger growing up. His mother did everything for him.

Ugh. That aspect of my life really belongs on another sig, but he is not, nor ever will be, supportive of me in that respect.
But that's really not fair to them. Part of your job as parents is to teach them life-skills and help them develop habits.
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#11 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 09:43 AM
 
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But that's really not fair to them. Part of your job as parents is to teach them life-skills and help them develop habits.
:

Plus, "it's bun, it's bun" (i.e. fun) according to my 2.5yo ds.

Do you know the clean up song??? My ds loves it and will start putting things away that he sees if I just start singing it. LOL! He will also start singing it himself sometimes when he's ready to transition to another toy to play with. (We have them sorted by type with pictures in his closet. I'll let him get out a couple of different ones to play with before I remind him that we need to put something away to get out something else.

He loves to help change the laundry and empties out the lint tray. He also loves to hold the dust pan for me when I sweep. We play a lot when we're cleaning and we only clean for brief spurts or as needed, but whenever he's shown interest in helping in any way, I help him and praise him to high heavens. I figure my future dil will have to love me for this alone.

eta: There are still times when I feel like my house is just overwhelming me, though. That's when I start getting rid of more stuff usually. And there is that cluttered craft room where I ditch stuff....
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#12 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 10:43 AM
 
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#13 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 10:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ameliabedelia
If your kids are anything like mine, they will pull anything and everything out, sheets off the mattresses, towels out of the closet, paper out, band-aids all over the bathroom. We would have to make our house almost completely devoid of everything, since even if we have little stuff..they find ways to make messes with that. :
So it isn't just my kids??? (Especially the band-aid thing!!!) They're EVERYWHERE...my mom always says she isn't buying them toys anymore, just boxes of bandaids.) Another thing they always get into....my wrapping paper stash. It makes me crazy!

OK - off I go to try to clean this sty.........

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#14 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 06:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ameliabedelia
Really, what works for us is to just spend lots of time outdoors and outside. We usually do 2-3 quick clean-up/pick-ups a day. Each time only takes 10 minutes or so ...
Then I do another quick clean-up before bed.
Yes! Getting out alot also works well for us, as do small cleanups during the day. Otherwise it's totally overwhelming at night. De-cluttering and having less toys/rotating has also made a big difference.

Is there any way that you can restrict access to some of the things they're getting into? Closed doors, child locks, etc. That might help with some of the non-toy problem.

I have also started trying to be really firm about clean up. When we're going someplace they really want to go, then I just say that we can't leave until everything is cleaned up. This works a lot of the time. It's amazing how fast they can tidy when they want to go to the zoo or for ice cream! Now just to get that everyday.

BUT I also have to remember to build in enough time for protests, whining, stalling, as well as the actual cleanup, before going out. Too often I am part of problem - I get overwhelmed by the mess and chaos and effort involved in getting out the door so I just want to escape with them without dealing with cleaning up first.

I've also been reading "Mrs. Clean Jean's Housekeeping with Kids: Family Pickup Lines (and Household Routines) That Work with Less Work from You" by Tara Aronson. Got it from the library - it can occasionally be annoying and get off-track, but she makes a lot of good suggestions so I recommend it.
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#15 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 10:36 PM
 
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yes to what everyone's saying! Okay, I have no solutions, as I grew up in a pretty messy house and a mom who regularly cried about it, and a dad who just can't seem to be anything close to neat. Recently, it came out that the women in Dad's family totally knew what they were doing with him, by never making/teaching him to do anything for himself; apparently the regularly predicted that someday his wife would hate them! (close to correct)

Anyway, (I'm supposing dh never will help clean after the kids are in bed himself? ugh!) is he around all the time? Could you make the kids clean when he's not around? I wish my mom could have taught me to have more of those kinds of life skills; it's so hard for me learning them now.

Also, could the kids be bored? Maybe they need to rip the house apart bc/ they are bored of just playing with the toys? Could some structured projects help make life more creative but less messy? I know, as an artist, the mess often comes with creativity, but if you let it conquer you, it smothers the creativity. The neat ones can do so much more! (like I said, I'm not in the neat group. yet?)
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