How much do your kids pick up after themselves? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 02-04-2016, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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How much do your kids pick up after themselves?

How much do you expect from a pre-school age kid as far as picking up after themselves? I have an almost 5 year old who right now does pretty much no cleaning up. I want to make a plan and get serious about having her pick up but am wondering how much to expect from her. She tends to get overwhelmed more easily than most kids her age, and is so stubborn I have literally spent entire days getting her to pick up just one toy. To make things more tricky, I have a recently developed chronic illness and often can't do much housework myself, so things get out of control quickly. I really need her help to pick up after herself, it's not just for the sake of teaching her to do it at this point. I'm thinking I will go over expectations with her and devote a few not very fun weeks to 100% follow-through, but before I do that I want to hear from others about how much they expect from their kids. Thanks!
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#2 of 4 Old 02-04-2016, 04:52 PM
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My dd is 2.5 and she cleans up after herself as long as she can safely. The key is to make it easy. I expect that if a piece of clothes comes off her body she puts it in the hamper. But we have a hamper in the bedroom and the bathroom so you don't have to walk far to find it. Also if she plays with toys she has to put them away. I have them organized in cubes so she knows what goes where. She cleans up before "homeschool" in the morning, before afternoon nap, and before bed. Sometimes I help her, but usually I clean my room while I clean hers. Our rooms are adjoined so she can see me the whole time. I have learned if I leave her alone she won't clean up. I would also expect her to put her dishes in the sink, except she uses our regular dishes now and tends to throw them into the sink. Lol
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#3 of 4 Old 02-04-2016, 07:41 PM
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No offense intended at all, but I think I expect more willingness to tidy from 2 year olds than 5 year olds. That's certainly how it's gone down with my 5 year old, and now my toddler is loving the heck out of cleaning, too.

My DD5 is extremely willing to help me and do me favors, but not very willing to clean up after herself. She finds her own messes very overwhelming and needs very clear instruction on how to clean up.

At the moment I expect her to
- put her dirty clothes in the basket right away
- put her outdoor clothes on hooks/shoe rack and put her backpack away after school
- clear her place and scrape her plate after meals
- clear her art supplies and toys from the table before dinner
- tidy up her room before bedtime. This is where she really needs help. I stay with her and give her categories to deal with. We always start with the same two: clothes and books, then doll stuff, dress up, and so on. If I don't do this, she flip flops around like a fish wailing and screaming "I can't! I don't know how! I'll NEVER be able to do it! Agggghh!" And I just can't deal with that at bedtime

Other than that, I do ask her to do specific small tasks often throughout the day, and she always helps clean up if she makes a big mess, like a spill.

So I think if I was to whittle down my advice I'd say to
1. Make the easy things part of the routine
2. Let her do jobs that make her feel important and helpful
3. Break things down into small, specific, doable tidbits
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#4 of 4 Old 02-05-2016, 03:48 AM
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My youngest is 7, but we expect basic cleaning up after herself -shoes in their spot, jacket hung up, wipe the counter if you spill something, put away food after you use some, etc. I also expect daily chores from both girls but we don't really have a system..mostly in the evening when I start cleaning up I call off several things that need doing and kinda insist that everyone pick something and pitch in. I think it helps that I usually do the "least favored" jobs and that the grownups are working too...less pushback that way.
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