Almost 6 yo DD will.not.pick.up.toys - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 12-15-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm at kind of an impasse here.  DD has a "play area" in an alcove off of the living room.  It's been "her" play area since we moved into the house in March.  She has an easel, a table, a bin organizer, and a dollhouse.  And all of the bits to everything are strewn everywhere. 

 

I've helped her clean in the past.  We would sit and organize things and throw out the garbage that accumulated.  She has independently organized in the past as well.  Now, she will either get distracted before she even sits down if we're doing it together, which ends up with me organizing and her playing, or she will flat out refuse.  Literally, she's said, NO. "This is my play area not yours.  I don't have to clean it up."

 

DH and I are at our wits' end with this.  There literally isn't anywhere for new toys to go when Christmas comes if she doesn't do anything, and I've told her that.  I've tried cleaning up here and there after she goes to bed, but she will just get everything back out. 

 

Right now, my coffee table has a magnetic doll set, three stuffed dogs, markers, and a sketchbook on it.  She REFUSED to put them away a few minutes ago when I asked.  I'm also working on some almost-rage issues so I'm trying not to get into confrontations with her. 

 

Any advice would be welcome and I'll try anything.  I'm going to try to team up with her again and put things in their right places.  Wish me luck.

 

(She went upstairs to put a doll away.  I followed her up with some dress up clothes to find the hat from her head in her doorway.  It fell off and she left it.  AND THEN REFUSED TO PICK IT UP.)


DD 2/08
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#2 of 21 Old 12-15-2013, 08:17 PM
 
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Calmly put it (everything on the coffee table) in a bag or a pillowcase or whatever, and put it out of reach.  Then when she asks for it back, let her know what she can do to earn it back.  If she doesn't ask for it after some reasonable period of time, consider donating it to charity.  A friend has a pillowcase with a grumpy face on one side and a smiley face on the other.  Mr Grumpy eats the toys.  Mr. Smiley gives them back.  Are you prepared to make good on the Christmas promise?

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#3 of 21 Old 12-16-2013, 07:06 AM
 
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I agree with putting some toys away, out of sight/reach. But in a less punitive style. I would say to her, "Obviously, you have too many toys; you can't seem to take care of them all. Let's choose which ones you can manage for now". Then put away some (50%?) and see it that helps. Then start teaching the idea of putting one toy/set away before getting out the next. Gradually, more toys could be returned to the collection. And there would be room for a FEW new xmas additions. But it sounds like the quantity is just too much.

 

A tradition in my family is, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, still in an attitude of gratitude, we all go through toys, books, and clothes, and make boxes/bags for donation. It reminds us of our own abundance, others in need, and makes room for the coming xmas gifts at the same time.


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#4 of 21 Old 12-16-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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I offer my kid one chance to clean it up, then I confiscate and remove. It's punitive but highly effective.
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#5 of 21 Old 12-16-2013, 11:03 AM
 
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We have a small house, anything left out seems 10x more cluttering.  I remove toys, if she doesn't ask for them, we give them away.  Very simple, teaches the value of objects without making it seem there is an endless supply.  DH was a destructive kid and his parents would always replace the toys he broke in rage - I refuse to do that.  If she tosses something in a fit (like asking to clean up) it goes away and does not come back if it's broken.  If not broken, it still goes away until she cools off and shows me she can have it back.  She's 2 so slightly less reasoning involved because too much talk goes in one ear and out the other, but I've also always made clean up just a regular part of the daily activities so it's not so much a chore and she rarely resists.  I'm already prepping for Christmas by removing things that have been sitting in closets for a few mos un-played with.

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#6 of 21 Old 12-16-2013, 06:30 PM
 
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Maybe this will be an unpopular opinion, but I think it's ok to make a peaceful home your first priority and work on housekeeping skills later.  I'm a pretty messy person myself though.  I would probably clean it up for her if it was really bothering me.  When I need DD to clean up her stuff in common areas, I generally make it very easy for her.  I pile all her stuff up at the bottom of the stairs and ask her to take it to her room and put it away.  If I want her to actually put the stuff away in her room and not just throw it in there, I help her with that.  


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#7 of 21 Old 12-17-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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I do think it's reasonable for her to have ownership over "her area" and leave it messy if she likes it that way. But once it's spreading past the boundaries (on the coffee table) then it's in community space, and needs to be cleaned up each day. If she leaves it out after "cleanup time" then she's giving you permission to clean it up for her, and that means that "the toys go in time out." I used to have a box on top of the hall closet for this purpose. I'd give the toys back after a week or so.

 

Don't just implement this in anger. At a quiet moment, explain the new rules. "Mommy wants a clean living room to relax in. You have lots of space for your toys, and they need to stay in the toy space. If you leave toys in my area after X time, then I will put them someplace out of the way, and you won't be able to play with them again for a while." Any toys outside the "play area" after bedtime get confiscated. Toys dropped on the hallway floor fall into the same category. Your call as to whether she can leave her own bedroom floor a mess or not. I was allowed to keep my room messy as a child, but my kids never had their own rooms so I didn't allow that with them. Why should Leah suffer if Hannah won't clean up the toys? The bedroom floor was "shared space" and had to be safe to walk in.

 

What usually happens with this method is that the toys the kids like most are the ones that get taken away, while the ones they don't care much about are left available, since they were never removed from the toy area to begin with. Or sometimes they're actually relieved to have fewer toys and enjoy the "new" ones they haven't played with in a while.

 

If she's very upset about specific toys removed the first day you do this, I'd offer to give those back [b]IF[/b] she agrees to go through her toys and pack away some of the ones she's not using very much right now. After the "old toys" are packed up, then you return the ones you confiscated yesterday.

 

Some parents like to rotate toys every few months, so there are fewer toys in circulation making a mess, and the kids get "new" toys more frequently.


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#8 of 21 Old 12-21-2013, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for the late update. My DH somehow got her to clean it all up while I was at work. Now we're dealing with screen time issues that became so severe one morning this week that she's lost all screens for a week and lost Netflix for all of break.

DD 2/08
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#9 of 21 Old 12-22-2013, 01:00 AM
 
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I'm no help, but OH BOY, can I commiserate! "almost-6" is a challenging age over here too, especially in the defiance department! I don't remember it being this hard last time around...or maybe I just blocked it out.
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#10 of 21 Old 12-22-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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Oh, how funny!! I could have written every post on this thread so far!

 

I have an almost 6-year-old too. She's great, but man, is she messy. I also have a 3.5-year-old. I ask/tell them to clean up their mess multiple times, and get louder each time. I start off calm, cool and collected, and it escalates from there. This approach never works. However, if I need to vacuum and there are toys everywhere on the floor, I tell them that if they don't get their stuff off the floor it will get sucked up into the vacuum. They don't like that so they quickly pick up their things. It all ends up on the bed in a big pile so although the floor is clear, the next step is to get everything off the bed and where it belongs. I will help with the big stuff, but they are required to do the rest. It takes them a good hour or two. Ridiculous. This happens daily around here. We live in a small space so the clutter looks 100x worse. I don't like clutter so this is a daily battle. I have toy storage shelves and bins and drawers very well organized. It's great when everything is where it is supposed to go. It is just never that way. shrug.gif 


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#11 of 21 Old 12-22-2013, 09:30 AM
 
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Right now, my coffee table has a magnetic doll set, three stuffed dogs, markers, and a sketchbook on it.  She REFUSED to put them away a few minutes ago when I asked.  I'm also working on some almost-rage issues so I'm trying not to get into confrontations with her. 

I don't mean to downplay your frustration by reminding you how minor this is compared with others' homes (mine!)  But, well, I'm going to downplay your frustration by reminding you how minor this is compared to others' homes (mine!)  Sorry.

 

Personally, if it bugged me (and it doesn't) I would give her an autonomous zone, preferably out of sight to avoid the possibility of it driving me batty (which it wouldn't).  No food or liquids, but otherwise, her own.  Anything outside that zone needs to be picked up, or it has to stayed confined to that zone.  No complaining about lost or broken toys.    And she gets to keep it how she likes it--no orders, or snide and angry comments from you.  Give her this, and you can knuckle down on the rest of the house.  Just avoid framing it in a mine/yours context.  The rest of the house is for everybody and you want to keep things put away.

 

I'd take a picture of my dinner table for you, but I just cleaned it off for Solstice dinner.  It always has projects on it, and it would make your coffee table look like a Martha Stewart photoshoot.  I could take pictures of our little play corner, if that would make you feel better.

 

Again, sorry for downplaying your frustration.  I am a different person with different tolerances.  It sounds like she is a strong-willed, highly articulate little girl and you need to work with her to make your house peaceful and calm for everyone.  I do get that.  Good luck.


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#12 of 21 Old 12-23-2013, 09:30 AM
 
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I'd take a picture of my dinner table for you, but I just cleaned it off for Solstice dinner.  It always has projects on it, and it wouldn't make your coffee table look like a Martha Stewart photoshoot.  I could take pictures of our little play corner, if that would make you feel better.

 

LOL.  Ok I do love order in my house and I *try* to maintain it, but loving/trying and doing are very different things and currently my dining room table cannot be found  :wink  But I can honestly blame that more on DH than DD - like his pjs/underwear - really?!? If I'm super stressed I might wig out and start tossing everything in closets just to de-clutter and de-stress...the mess always returns much to my dismay and I resort to inhaling from my bottles of essential oils to find that happy place haha

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#13 of 21 Old 12-23-2013, 05:40 PM
 
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Currently, my table has this laptop, a jar of olives, a 1/2 full teacup, my purse and scarf, a box of crackers, my phone, some old mail, 2 presents waiting to be delivered, some un-mated socks, and the cat. None of this belongs to the kids!

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#14 of 21 Old 12-23-2013, 07:46 PM
 
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I'd take a picture of my dinner table for you, but I just cleaned it off for Solstice dinner.  It always has projects on it, and it wouldn't make your coffee table look like a Martha Stewart photoshoot.  I could take pictures of our little play corner, if that would make you feel better.

 

LOL.  Ok I do love order in my house and I *try* to maintain it, but loving/trying and doing are very different things and currently my dining room table cannot be found  :wink  But I can honestly blame that more on DH than DD - like his pjs/underwear - really?!? If I'm super stressed I might wig out and start tossing everything in closets just to de-clutter and de-stress...the mess always returns much to my dismay and I resort to inhaling from my bottles of essential oils to find that happy place haha

:D 

 

Posted to correct.... meant "would make your coffee table" blahblahblah......


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#15 of 21 Old 12-24-2013, 07:20 AM
 
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I've done the "well we're just going to bag it up for now and when you're ready to put it away I will bring the bag out."  The longest time ever was a full week (my beautifully stubborn daughter) compared to my compliant son who barely let me put anything in the bag before he started cleaning up.  

 

For our house, everything has to be clean at least once a day, bedtime.  I can't deal with waking up in a messy house, it throws my day off.  So the kids know the living room must be picked up before bed.  Their rooms I pretty much ignore, but community space has to be picked up.   Once a week I go in their rooms and make them pick up, but they are pretty neat so it's mostly just laundry.  Laying next to the hamper.  Driving me slowly insane.  

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#16 of 21 Old 12-24-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Currently, my table has this laptop, a jar of olives, a 1/2 full teacup, my purse and scarf, a box of crackers, my phone, some old mail, 2 presents waiting to be delivered, some un-mated socks, and the cat. None of this belongs to the kids!


Good point.  This computer desk, well, yeah.  My issue should have been with the paper shavings carpeting the floor of the play area along with a billion Polly Pocket dresses.  I think DH has an intricate system of bribes that he whips out the second I go to work. 


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#17 of 21 Old 12-30-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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Oh, how funny!! I could have written every post on this thread so far!

 

I have an almost 6-year-old too. She's great, but man, is she messy. I also have a 3.5-year-old. I ask/tell them to clean up their mess multiple times, and get louder each time. I start off calm, cool and collected, and it escalates from there. This approach never works. However, if I need to vacuum and there are toys everywhere on the floor, I tell them that if they don't get their stuff off the floor it will get sucked up into the vacuum. They don't like that so they quickly pick up their things. It all ends up on the bed in a big pile so although the floor is clear, the next step is to get everything off the bed and where it belongs. I will help with the big stuff, but they are required to do the rest. It takes them a good hour or two. Ridiculous. This happens daily around here. We live in a small space so the clutter looks 100x worse. I don't like clutter so this is a daily battle. I have toy storage shelves and bins and drawers very well organized. It's great when everything is where it is supposed to go. It is just never that way. shrug.gif 

"clean up your toys" is too vague. They need to be told "pick up the blocks and put them in the blocks box." When that's done, "pick up the dolls and doll clothes and put them in the doll box" etc etc. If that still isn't working, then they may simply have too many toys in circulation. Pack half of them away and rotate them.


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#18 of 21 Old 12-30-2013, 08:57 PM
 
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I don't see is as too vague - I don't get specific with my 2yo and she gets it.  Clean up means just that.  The understanding is that whatever is hers in that room must go back into a bin or on a shelf, so unless I want her to pick up shoes or help me with another task, I don't break it down word for word. Depends on the kid just like anything else.

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#19 of 21 Old 01-02-2014, 06:33 AM
 
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"clean up your toys" is too vague. They need to be told "pick up the blocks and put them in the blocks box." When that's done, "pick up the dolls and doll clothes and put them in the doll box" etc etc. If that still isn't working, then they may simply have too many toys in circulation. Pack half of them away and rotate them.


Nah. My kids are old enough to know what pick your toys up means. They'd just rather play. I'm not worried about it. It does drive me crazy, but things could always be worse, right?


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#20 of 21 Old 01-02-2014, 02:49 PM
 
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Alright...I'm going to do something I HATE to do as a mom. I am going to take credit for some wonderful thing my DC does. :p  My DC is a very neat kid. My DC's father tends to disagree with me on this (so keep that in mind) but I think a big part of why my DC is so neat now is because I used to keep her "stuff" in rotation. From the time she was small, I would put certain toys out in various places and they would stay that way so long as they were played with and generally cared for. When she lost interest (or stuff was constantly out on the floor) I would put those things in the closet and get something else out. There is NO way for me to know if this had anything to do with DC picking up so well but my gut tells me that it is a big part of it. 

 

Another thing I did (which was fine for my DC but may be less agreeable to a different child) but I would also declutter her room from time to time. I'd never get rid of anything at all (just box a bunch of stuff up that I hadn't seen her use in a while). I would always tell her that she could get it out whenever she wanted. 

 

Again, I think she grew accustomed to a clutter-free life and at this point she does all of this on her own. 

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#21 of 21 Old 01-04-2014, 03:40 AM
 
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Having to earn back confiscated toys never really helped me much as a kid, so I try a different approach with my daughter. She has about 20 small buckets with lids that have her toys in them. 15 buckets stay high out of reach in the closet and 5 of them stay on her shelf for free access. The only rule she has with them is that she can't open a new bucket til the other one is cleaned up. The bucket is small and holds a small pile of toys so the mess is small even if she chooses to leave it out, which I allow her to do in her own room if she chooses.

 

If she wants toys in another part of the house she knows she needs to clean them up nicely when I ask or she doesn't get to play with toys outside of her room for a few days. She usually doesn't have a problem picking them up because she likes to be able to bring them out of her room to play when she wants to.

 

When she gets bored with her 5 buckets I switch out a few of the buckets with the ones up in the closet. After rotating them all every so often she plays with each set about once a month, which keeps them fun, fresh, and interesting each time we get a new set out. This cracks down on boredom, which is a major plus. Toys last ages this way and the hassle is small. The system works really well, and I only have to enforce two rules: 1. One bucket out at a time. 2. Toys outside of her bedroom get cleaned up nicely when asked or no toys outside of the room for a while.

 

No kid wants to clean up a huge pile of mess. No adult does either. It is tedious and daunting, not to mention frustrating. A kid can be happy with just a few things, like a couple of dolls and a few dresses, and it eliminates all of the problems. Keep it small, keep it simple, keep it happy. Hope that helps!  :)

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