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|It's a big flipping process just to get them to pick their **** up before we go somewhere, usually somewhere that is for them.|
|This may sound silly and trivial, but I have found that the way I phrase my directions tends to make a big difference.
"Not until the magazines are picked up,"
"Sure, sounds good -- you can watch TV after the magazines and cards are picked up and put away."
"Thats not where they go."
"Please put them back in the magazine rack."
"The TV is not going on unil they are picked up."
"We'll watch TV when its all put away, nice and neat."
Argh. The whole thing really makes me nuts. And I guess it's the 3.5yo that's making me the nuttiest. I guess I have to readjust my expectations, but I also want to start putting some sort of "rule" or routine in place about keeping the house clean.
My kids will not pick up after themselves. It's making me crazy. We have a small house, and I just can't keep everything out of their reach. It's one freaking mess after another, and it's always a fight to get it picked up. It's always more work than just doing it myself, but if I do it myself I get so angry I could scream.
Just now ds1 asked if he could watch tv. I said not until the magazines that he spread out all over the hallway were picked up. And I told ds2 he had to pick up the cards he spread all over the bedroom, with my help. Ds1 stacked the magazines on the floor. I had to then had to tell him that's not where they go. He said he didn't feel like putting them back. I told him that the tv wasn't going on until they were put away. He put them away. Ds2 absolutely refused. Well, that's not true. I picked him up and carried him into the room with me, where he proceed to pick up the card, and then throw them to the other side of the room. I told him he wasn't going to get to watch the program until it was picked up. But that's not fair to ds1. And what am I supposed to do? Spend an hour containing a 3.5yo in a separate room of the house so he doesn't see the tv? I then told him that the game was going away. All he cared about was getting to see the tv program.
This has happened not only with tv, but with getting ready to leave the house. It's a big flipping process just to get them to pick their shit up before we go somewhere, usually somewhere that is for them.
I had tried taking away any toy that I had to pick up. Well, that quickly didn't work. What if ds2 is the one who didn't pick up? Then ds1 doesn't get to play with it because ds2 didn't pick it up? And to make it even more infuriating, ds1 figured out that he could torment ds2 by taking out a toy that ds2 likes that ds1 doesn't care about, and then not picking it when asked. Then the toy goes away, and ds2 is upset.
So how is this any different than punishment/rewards? We've talked about my feelings. We've talked about working together as a family. We've talked about not being able to do other fun things because we spend time picking up. Blah blah blah. They don't give a shit, and I'm about to lose my mind.
Why do I have to even ask them to do pick up after themselves. All day long I pick up around this house, it's not like they don't see it modeled.
I'm about ready to get out a punishment chart and stick it to the wall. They are turning into little spoiled brats and I'm sick of it.
Oceanbaby -- we have always had a loose "rule" about putting one activity away before taking out another. I see nothing wrong with creating that kind of structure -- I use language like, "Oops -- lets put this away before you take that out." And I step in and start picking up with the unspoken expectation that they will help. It requires a lot of supervision, help, and monitering though -- in the beginning, prepare yourself for exerting MORE effort rather than less. Putting a new plan or routine into place is always a little bit of work, kwim?
This counterintuitive advice about not requiring cleaning up, has been so helpful to me--and my kids really pitch in more than ever. The phrase, "No, no, Mommy, I'll get it, you relax," has even been uttered a time or two!
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