do you make your child's friends help clean up? when their mom is there? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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every time my friend comes over with her two kids, my two go wild and the four of them wind up running throughout the house, and leaving messes in every room. my friend is rather wealthy and has a pair of cleaning ladies come every friday to do housework in their house, including picking up after her two children. i'm pretty sure her kids are not used to cleaning their own messes -- the cleaning ladies do it for them. around here... *i* am the only cleaning lady, and i am pretty strict about making my kids clean up after themselves. i barely have time and energy to keep up with my house as it is.

 

so... when the entire upstairs gets trashed during a play date like it did today, it makes me feel so tired to have to face it as soon as my friend leaves with her kids. i almost don' t like having them over, but i do like hanging out with the mom. but for an hour of mom time, i trade almost an hour of clean up time, and it doesn't seem so worth it. what would you do?

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#2 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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Depends on the kids and the situation.

I make my own kids clean up when we are at someone else's house, and for the most part have no issue with another mom saying something about a 10 minute tidy before playtime is up.

My son does have one friend whose playroom is a wall to wall disaster of lego all the time and I am always a bit bewildered (as is my son) when she sends my son in to clean it up after a playdate. Where in the world would he start. He hasn't added to the mess - just moved it around a bit - lol.

 

If the kids are younger I would just head up to the space to help supervise and make it as much of a game as possible. Even if they get the majority of it sorted out, it's better to have 15 minutes of clean up than an hour.


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#3 of 23 Old 10-17-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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There's no rule that says you have to let them destroy everything in the first place. 

 

If everything is put away before they get there, you can give "the speech":  Today everyone is going to put away one set of toys before starting on the next and everyone is going to help pick up before you guys leave. 

 

Then check in every now and then in case they need reminding (they will) so their mom doesn't announce that they need to leave rightthissecond and you're stuck with the clean up.

 

Other moms I know seem to handle it the same way and I'm fine with it. 

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#4 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 12:22 AM
 
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I agree with Nite Nicole.

 

With us, it really depends on the situation. If DS is playing at another kid's house, I usually ask if he needs to help pick up when I come to get him.

 

When we have kids over, I warn DS that he and his friend(s) need to be aware of what they're doing because they'll need to pick up after themselves. If they other child(ren) have to leave before they get to it, then he'll be stuck picking the mess up. It's made him more careful.

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#5 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 05:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i guess my dilemma is that NOT every last thing is picked up when they get here. it's a big house and i think we probably have too much stuff. which is a separate problem i'm working on as i can (the too much stuff part). so my house is about 90 percent "clean and organized" with some definite pockets of clutter in a few of the rooms (ie., several stacks of miscellaneous stuff on the floor in two out of eight rooms upstairs.) but the kids ran through all eight rooms, being obnoxious. 

 

i do enjoy talking with the mom, but i don' feel like watching the kids upstairs. i wasn't really expecting them and they suddenly were coming over with about a 1/2 hour notice. 

 

the trouble is, when we go over to their house, no one is expected to pick up... my kids or their kids. and the "mess" sort of gets absorbed into the enormity of their house. and she has hired help every week on a regular basis.

 

over here, no such luck and the chaos left behind really bugs me.

 

i appreciate the replies.

 

i think the bottom line is i have to get rid of the last of my clutter and then clean out some more, so that it does appear more "neat and clean" when the kids arrive, so i can claim time to help clean up.

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#6 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 05:42 AM
 
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I have a cleaning lady come once a week, and I still have everyone keep stuff cleaned up. Usually, a weekly cleaning service doesn't include cleaning up toys as toys would then be on the floor every day except one - the house would still be messy almost all the time.

 

So, I have the kids play in just one room usually, and then about 15 minutes before it's time for them to go, I go in and cheerfuly say that it's time for everyone to pick up. And then I help them to keep everything going.

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#7 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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We have this happen sometimes.  We had a neighbor who has just starting coming over after school to play with dd in out basement.  It is our biggest "playroom"  There are two giant shelves full of toys.  I went down a day afterthey had played and was flabbergasted that every single toy had been taken down and was scattered on the floor.  I know the boy is just excited to play with new toys so I'm not mad.  It's just something I realize I need to be firmer about.  I told dd that they should clean up the toy they're done with before they get out another one but I'll just have to help her get that across.

 

I always try to have my kids help clean up when we've played somewhere.  Many times the mom will say "Oh, it's such a mess don't worry about it!"  But I feel like we should at least make an effort.  If it's really messy I might tell my kids to pick up one kind of toy like the stuffed animals, the legos, or the polly pockets just to make a dent for them.


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#8 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I have a cleaning lady come once a week, and I still have everyone keep stuff cleaned up. Usually, a weekly cleaning service doesn't include cleaning up toys as toys would then be on the floor every day except one - the house would still be messy almost all the time.

 

So, I have the kids play in just one room usually, and then about 15 minutes before it's time for them to go, I go in and cheerfuly say that it's time for everyone to pick up. And then I help them to keep everything going.



This. I actually have a cleaning lady too, but DS is still expected to get all his toys off the floor of his room (and where ever else they may be!) before she comes. Likewise, I make sure stuff is generally picked up and put away. Her job is to clean -- dust, vacuum, mob, wipe down, etc. -- not pick up after us. Plus, I think it's important that DS learns that even if we're fortunate enough to have someone help keep the house tidy, he's still responsible for his own mess.

 

 

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#9 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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I do make other kids clean up at my house regardless if parents are there are not. I say something like, "10 minute clean up!". i don't make them pick up every little thing but some effort is required. If it is really little kids, I guide them to clean up, "you can place the blocks in here.". 


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#10 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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Our rule is about 20 minutes before we know a friend will be leaving, I tell them to clean up 10 things each.  Then 5 minutes before they leave, it's clean up 5 things (assuming things are horribly trashed.)  After our friends leave, my kids finish up if needed.


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#11 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

I do make other kids clean up at my house regardless if parents are there are not. I say something like, "10 minute clean up!". i don't make them pick up every little thing but some effort is required. If it is really little kids, I guide them to clean up, "you can place the blocks in here.". 


This. 

 

It also helps to have a few guidelines in place, like they have to clean up a board game or puzzle before they can take out another one. It may take some effort to check up on the kids and reinforce the guidelines at first, but it's worth it. 

 

Also, if necessary, limiting the toys they have access to and limiting the play area or sending them outside to play, if they are old enough. It doesn't have to be a free-for-all. In some cases, with some families, I used to get everyone out for a short walk around the neighbourhood, chatting with the other mom as we walked, just to keep the kids busy but not trashing the house. 

 

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#12 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

every time my friend comes over with her two kids, my two go wild and the four of them wind up running throughout the house, and leaving messes in every room. my friend is rather wealthy and has a pair of cleaning ladies come every friday to do housework in their house, including picking up after her two children. i'm pretty sure her kids are not used to cleaning their own messes -- the cleaning ladies do it for them. around here... *i* am the only cleaning lady, and i am pretty strict about making my kids clean up after themselves. i barely have time and energy to keep up with my house as it is.

 

so... when the entire upstairs gets trashed during a play date like it did today, it makes me feel so tired to have to face it as soon as my friend leaves with her kids. i almost don' t like having them over, but i do like hanging out with the mom. but for an hour of mom time, i trade almost an hour of clean up time, and it doesn't seem so worth it. what would you do?



How old are they?

 

I do have 'clean-up time' after play. Nothing much, five minutes, but they do have to help clean up. How about limiting the area where they are allowed to play and run around? I find meeting at the park lets the kids get all their 'running around' energy out. Thereafter, we conclude the playdate at home, moms enjoy a cup of tea and kids get to play with indoor toys and games in designated areas.

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#13 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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They play together, they tidy up together. Every time. Its fair and logical. DS actually got mad once with one friend who said it wasn't his house so he shouldn't do it. I intervened and explained to the friend that those were our house rules. When a parent has been present it has always been sort of obvious, in that they suggest it "son its time to go, have you picked up yet?"  or they reinforce my prompt. 


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#14 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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I do sometimes have the kids clean up, especially if they all went through the toy box together to find out what is on the bottom.  If it is just a small mess that I can throw in the box quickly I don't bother.  Our house isn't very big, but I find that limiting play to one room and the living room really helps a lot.  I also keep all of the art stuff in a room that is off limits so I can make sure things are cleaned up before the mess of free art begins.

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#15 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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I think a time-limited clean up, or a 'pick up X number of things' is appropriate, especially if it's not totally clean to begin with (at my house 100% is a very rare occasion indeed!) Another option is to put away some of the messier toys before the kids arrive... the box of a bajillion blocks that's just going to get abandoned 5 minutes after it's dumped out doesn't need to be available for the afternoon, for example.


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#16 of 23 Old 10-18-2011, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by seawind View Post

How old are they?

 

I do have 'clean-up time' after play. Nothing much, five minutes, but they do have to help clean up. How about limiting the area where they are allowed to play and run around? I find meeting at the park lets the kids get all their 'running around' energy out. Thereafter, we conclude the playdate at home, moms enjoy a cup of tea and kids get to play with indoor toys and games in designated areas.



mine are 5 and 2. her's are 7 and 5.

the kids don't want to be confined to one room, and i don't want to be running after them monitoring them. 

but i also don't want to spend an hour of my time picking up room after room after they leave. unfortunately that has been the case.

i'm afraid my friends kids are a bit spoiled. perhaps the other mom is too. i mean, she doesn't have to set aside time to clean toilets, bathtubs, kitchen floors, vacuum, dust, clean the oven or the fridge, etc. -- the housekeepers do that on a regular basis. for me, though, those tasks are *huge* time sucks and when i have to instead put my energy and focus on picking up rooms that got torn apart -- rooms i had in relative order before the friends come by... i guess it just psychologically exhausts me.

 

makes me not want to have them over. i think i will visit at her house more often, instead of having her over here.

 

thanks for everyone's comments though. for this situation, forcing each kid to pick up 10 items isn't even worth it. i think i just need for the mess to not happen in the first place. a 7 year old should already know better than to trash someone else's house. as should a 5 year old. (as should my own 5 year old. she is just as much to blame when getting together with these friends.) the only one i let off the hook is my 2 year old. he's just following along, happy to be included in the mayhem.

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#17 of 23 Old 10-19-2011, 05:25 AM
 
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Well I think you're seeing the situation pretty clearly and I feel your pain.  I'm trying to think of a good strategy for you that doesn't involve lecturing her kids when they get to your house.  Would it work to set out a few types of toys in each play area and tell "your 5 year old" that that's what will be played with?  What do you think mom's response would be about broaching this subject at all?


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#18 of 23 Old 10-19-2011, 05:37 AM
 
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It's got to be easier to keep them in one or two rooms than clean for so long afterward. Is the mom there too it sounds like? If so, I'd tell her that you're trying to keep them in one room so that it's less work to clean up after they go, and she'll probably join in. You should only have to do that for one or two playdates before they get used to it.

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#19 of 23 Old 10-19-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tropicana View Post
 i think i will visit at her house more often, instead of having her over here.

 


That sounds good. 2whistle.gif

 

But, some reasonable boundaries at your place will be needed. Soon as you see the kids heading upstairs, you walk them down and state that upstairs is the no-play zone. Playdate ends if that rule is broken. You can explain to your friend that you have been spending way too much time cleaning up after playtime and that it's really exhausting. Stating the obvious to someone who is oblivious! Let us know how it goes.

 

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#20 of 23 Old 10-19-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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I don't think it depends on anything other than your comfort level with doing what to me is just basically fair: I have my kid help clean when we go to others' houses, and when her friends come over and they trash the place, as soon as either I or the other parent(s) start to wrap it up, I say "Ok, shall we just clean it all up or make it fun?  Let's see who can sing the funniest song while cleaning this mess... who can clean up everything blue..." etc.  Now, my kid is 3, so maybe it should be different frame for older kids, but I see absolutely zero wrong with expecting your kids and visiting kids to do what you have your kids do when you visit others.

 

And when you go to this friend's house, if they don't have their kids clean and don't want your help, they can tell you "Oh don't worry about it, we got it".  But in your home, your rules.

 

I doubt the friend's mom will have an issue with it, but if she does, then maybe just say the truth: we love having you guys over, but I have so much to do, I can't clean the whole house up when you leave, so I need the kids to take some responsibility for the mess they joyfully made and I joyfully allow.  :) 

 

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#21 of 23 Old 10-19-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

the kids don't want to be confined to one room, and i don't want to be running after them monitoring them. 

but i also don't want to spend an hour of my time picking up room after room after they leave...i think i just need for the mess to not happen in the first place. a 7 year old should already know better than to trash someone else's house. as should a 5 year old.


If you don't want to confine their play area and also don't want to set up some cleaning guidelines, then things will stay the way they are and you'll be stuck with a massive clean-up after every playdate with this family. Venting here that they're messy is fine, and I'm sure it's frustrating to be faced with a huge mess when they leave, but unless you implement some changes in the way you handle the situation with them, nothing will change. 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post
i mean, she doesn't have to set aside time to clean toilets, bathtubs, kitchen floors, vacuum, dust, clean the oven or the fridge, etc. -- the housekeepers do that on a regular basis. for me, though, those tasks are *huge* time sucks and when i have to instead put my energy and focus on picking up rooms that got torn apart -- rooms i had in relative order before the friends come by... i guess it just psychologically exhausts me.

 

I know what you mean, and I find myself feeling jealous of friends who have housekeepers too sometimes, but it's not necessarily the root of the problem here. Plenty of my friends with housekeepers are still very conscientious about helping clean up before leaving my house, just like some of my friends who clean their own homes tend to be messy guests when they visit me. 


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#22 of 23 Old 10-19-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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When we have friends like that over, I try to intervene when they are going to another room.  I say they have to pick up the room they are in before they move on and trash another room.  They are more motivated to clean when there is another room looming to play in than at the end of the play date.


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#23 of 23 Old 10-22-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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i would ask them to all clean up. that is what i would do but usually the mother would encourage her child to help clean. at least that is what i have my kids do when they are at other peoples homes.


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