realistic expectations for a three year old? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-04-2004, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
aslmere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 594
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Am I being really unrealistic? She is three.
I have trying to get Lianne help pick up her toys in the living
room. Tonight she was watching a movie and I asked her to help me.
She ignored me... so I turned off the movie. Fine. She sat there and
played with some of them while I picked up others. I tried to make a
game (can you pick up more than Mommy?) I tried singing silly songs
about picking up (all I got was hooray after every verse)
Finally I told her that if she didn't help I would throw her toys
away.

Nothing.

I told her this in different words about 10 different times over 20
minutes. She said "Okay" and then nothing.

So I took a garbage bag and put everything on the floor in it and
then hid it in my closet.

She doesn't even care!

I am totally doing something wrong here.. the point isn't getting to
her.

What now?

ANd do I ever take the toys out of the closet or do I just donate
them with the rest of the clothes I have for goodwill?

I am exhausted.. but grateful that I didn't trigger an angry outburst! (those are nasty right now!)
aslmere is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-04-2004, 10:03 AM
 
EllieB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 232
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I expect my 3 yo to help pick up (she'll be 4 next month but I have been enforcing it for the last 6 months at least). What I do is is I always give her a chance to cooperate right at the start by saying "OK it's time to pick up the house now". We always pick up right before dinner. Usually she ignores me or goes off to play.

So while I'm picking up I put a certain amount of stuff aside for her to put away by herself. Then everytime she comes around I remind her that that pile is for her to put away. This usually works, I think b/c with one pile of stuff there's an obvious end to her work. If she hasn't picked it up by the time we have dinner picked up I tell her she won't be able to do whatever it is we have planned for the evening (books, games, whatever) until that pile is picked up. I am trying to get the idea across that if she picked up her stuff sooner she would have more time to hang out w/ her dad at night. It works ok but I do have to remind her several times.
EllieB is offline  
Old 11-04-2004, 01:21 PM
 
Amberlyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Spokane, Wa
Posts: 527
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I do think that at that age, "cleaning upi the toys" seems like a HUGE job. Maybe start out smaller, like "Ok lainie, today.. I will pick up these toys, but I need you to pick up the blocks". And after a certain time period you feel confident with it can be "the Blocks and Books". And slowly add to it. If I am trying to get my 4 yr old to help pick up toys and he starts playing with something else, I take what he is playing with and put it away. Until there is nothing left do to, except the toys that I asked him to pick up. My children have learned the hard way, that things that get left down, get broken. So that helped a little . I do not think it is unrealistic to have a 3 yr old help tho. My 4 year old can clean his room, and almost make his bed. Usually tho, my 6 year old helps him with stuff. Everything done as a team gets done faster
Amberlyn is offline  
Old 11-04-2004, 02:34 PM
 
stafl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: standing in a doorway
Posts: 9,123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Jenny loves to pick up clean up! I make it a fun game. I totally don't want her to have negative feelings towards housework, even though I do. I think the way my mother treated housework as something she really dreaded doing really influenced me to hate tidying up, too. So, ever since Jenny was big enough to pull toys out of her toybox herself (about the same time she was pulling herself up but before she could walk), we have played "pick up clean up" game afterwards. It's big fun for her and the only fight is when all the toys are put away and she wants to keep cleaning!
stafl is offline  
Old 11-04-2004, 03:22 PM
 
NoHiddenFees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,039
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by aslmere
Tonight she was watching a movie and I asked her to help me.
I find it easiest to clean up before we do something; either something we look forward to or before we leave the room to do something else. Cleaning up before we leave the room is something I've been trying to instill in DD1 from the time she could crawl (someday it'll sink in, I hope )

I'd be pretty grumpy if DH turned off a movie I was watching because wanted help cleaning the kitchen. I'd be even grumpier if he after the fact set an arbitrary consequence for my choosing to not join in. I don't think there's anything wrong with parental imposed consequences, but they have to be clear from the outset and I think especially at 2 and 3 the child has to be in a receptive mood as well. If DD is not in a receptive mood (in her case this means engrossed in a book), I've no problem doing it myself.
NoHiddenFees is offline  
Old 11-04-2004, 06:32 PM
 
pinky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,820
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We struggle with this, too....two things that seem to help...

Giving dd VERY specific tasks. One at a time. Like, "Take this shirt and put it in your laundry hamper." Or I'll make a pile of books for her to put in the book basket.

And I agree with the other posters that this works best for us if it is before an activity she enjoys...we often try to do it after bath, before book & snack on the couch.
pinky is offline  
Old 11-04-2004, 07:43 PM
 
stafl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: standing in a doorway
Posts: 9,123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinky
Giving dd VERY specific tasks. One at a time. Like, "Take this shirt and put it in your laundry hamper." Or I'll make a pile of books for her to put in the book basket.
That works for us, too. Before DD got the hang of picking up, I would point to each item I wanted her to pick up (one at a time), and tell her where it needed to go. Now she does it on her own.
stafl is offline  
Old 11-04-2004, 08:34 PM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,312
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Even if I just hang out in ds's room with him while he cleans he does a better job. He will rarely clean up if left on his own to do it.

Cleaning "really fast" works too. Like if dh calls and says he's on his way home I can say, "let's clean up really fast before daddy gets home!" Then it's a race and not a chore. Then he gets to show dh what a good job he did.

He also does well when I tell him step by step what to put away. Or if I give him 3 things to do and tell me when he's done with those. Too much "stuff" to do overwhelms him and he just gives up.

Sometimes we set a timer for big jobs. We work for 10 minutes and then play a game. Then go back to work.

My dad used to give me such a hard time about making his "little buddy" work so hard. But now that ds is almost 4 and cleans up most messes on his own with little help he's pretty impressed with the job he does.
mamalisa is offline  
Old 11-06-2004, 03:10 AM
 
nuggetsmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Riding around on my xtracycle
Posts: 1,064
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I break it down into smaller tasks like, lets pick up the bears and put them on your bed, then the books etc etc. I do it right before she gets to watch her TV so she is usually into it. SOmetimes I need to be more creative and say who can pickup the most blocks or sing a song or whatever. Occasionaly I get upset if she doesn't help me and if she makes it worse by throwing toys around, then I pick up the toys and put them away where she can't get them. She has so many toys I don't think she notices though.
nuggetsmom is offline  
Old 11-06-2004, 03:22 PM
 
stafl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: standing in a doorway
Posts: 9,123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Here are some ways we make picking up fun:
"let's pick up all the yellow toys" (red toys, etc.)
or make it into a counting game. "how many bears are on the floor? let's count them and put them in the red toy bucket."
I'm always making up silly songs, and now DD does, too. It really helps make picking up and other chores so much more fun. It also helps if I tell her over and over again what a good helper she is, and when DH gets home, tell him all about it too, "Look at how Jenny cleaned up the den today, Daddy. Didn't she do a wonderful job?" (even if I did most of the cleaning)

My three year old is the opposite of the OP's, *she* gets upset if I don't let her help me clean up! She especially likes sorting dirty laundry into separate baskets, and folding the cloth diapers.
stafl is offline  
Old 11-07-2004, 04:59 AM
 
Mizelenius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: In Lalaland
Posts: 6,938
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DD is still young (2.5 years) so I'm not sure if this will still work when she's older, but . . .

(You'll notice I say "try" a lot!)

(1) I try to limit the number of toys she has access to. If I see her losing interest in something, I put it away for awhile and bring out something new. We rotate toys.
(2) In general, everything has "its place." The organizational system isn't complicated, so DD knows where things go.
(3) As someone else suggested, we focus on getting things cleaned BEFORE starting the next activity. In the case of the movie, I would have had DD clean up before she started to watch.
(4) We try (TRY, not always succeed!) to be consistent. We have been making sure that DD was part of the clean-up process since ????
(5) I try not to praise . . .I try (though I slip) not even saying "Thank you" because I don't want her to clean for me. Instead, I say things like "Now we have room to play!" or something else that is descriptive.
(6) For me, I just want the spirit of helping . . .even if I do most of the cleaning, if DD is helping, that's enough. I also break it down into small tasks, or even just one task and let it go at that once she's done.
(7) I notice that when DD plays by herself, things tend to get much messier than if I were to play with her. I have seen this trend with other children as well. I wish she would play by herself more (so the messiness would be worth it!) but since she doesn't, things just don't get as messy.

Somehow you're going to have to acknowledge that you made a mistake by saying you'd throw her toys out or actually do it (well, give them away). If your DD was testing you, unfortunately, you didn't pass the test if you just give the toys back w/o an explanation. That's a tough one!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

Mizelenius is offline  
Old 11-08-2004, 12:53 AM
 
Mama J Rock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: The Heartland
Posts: 389
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What if you tried to get her to help pick up before something else. For example, "Hey DD, let's go get a snack, we'll make popcorn (or whatever is her current favorite treat within reason), but first we need to pick up your toys. I'll help you". Or "Let's go to the park, but first we need to pick up your toys. Let's see how fast we can do it."

Now I realize that there is the component of wanting them to learn to help do things around the house because it's a nice thing to do and everyone should help keep their own stuff cleaned up, but if you could entice her into helping with fun things for a while until she gets the hang of helping out, then you can start cutting back on the fun things so that she can gradually learn that she needs to help pick up her toys because that's just part of having toys. (Is that the longest sentence ever? )

I've done like you, and in my frustration, threatened things and then felt like I needed to follow through with them in order to not make myself look like a pushover, but there is a time and place to say to your child, "Mommy was wrong and it wouldn't be very nice of me to throw your toys away. I was just upset that you wouldn't help me pick them up." It will teach your child to own up to her mistakes and that admitting them and apologizing is an okay thing to do. Also, it would lead into a good little talk about how she needs to help keep things picked up.

You've gotten great ideas on keeping it fun and it sounds like you've tried several of them already. I'm not completely into bribing kids but sometimes it will help get them into a routine of something and it can also be done with things that you would do anyway, fun snacks, a trip to the library or park, etc. Kids are usually more like likely to respond to positive incentives instead of negative threats.

Good Luck!
Mama J Rock is offline  
Old 11-09-2004, 09:51 PM
 
guest^'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,796
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks sooo much for all of the suggestions!!

Stacy-I can relate to what you're saying about your dd.....my dd was like that at that age,and she still is an awesome help....she does complain, but I am always amazed at what she can(or wants to) accomplish!! She's my mean,clean,tidy machine!!!

But then along came ds. And I realized that it wasn't my Montessori approach that was the reason for the love of "cleaning", it was what my dc came to me with.

DS can wreck our house in 5 mins,and has no desire to pick up whatsoever!!!

So,I too have had to be creative. Dd is a Blessing is this area...she acts like she is his "teacher" trying to "teach" him how to pickup.

I have found that what works best for all of us, is to have regular pickup times. Our rule is that we MUST put on fun music first!! So, we pickup before lunch and before dh gets home. Some may disagree with this, but we do do it as a team(if only dd and ds being the team!) and they're not invited to mealtimes, if they haven't cleaned up what I have asked. I always keep it reasonable-not expecting the playroom to be spotless or anything.

If I am having a difficult day, I let the dc know this, and I give them the warning that I need extra help....on these days, if they are not doing their share, I give them the warning that I am about to get out *THE SACK*. If they still don't pickup, I take a grocery bag and start picking up whatever is in my path. That usually gets dd scrambling to cooperate, but ds will get upset. I tell him that he can get his toys back the next day when dh comes home *if* he's a helper when I ask. He gets it now.

I approach keeping the house picked up as a safety precaution, and also to keep our young puppy and kitten from chewing on items.

I LOVED whoever compared asking a dc to pickup during a movie to asking your partner.....I have caught myself about to do this, but my Montessori background usually whispers "respect" into my ear, and I wait for the right time.

This is hard.....we don't want to raise slobs, and we want our kids to learn to take care of what they have. We all make mistakes...but really, this is an issue that *is* worth battling, otherwise they turn into teenagers that have bedrooms that are scary, and then college roommates that are icky to live with, and THEN dh's that take years of practice to "make the shot" into the laundry basket!!! I married one of those dh's. and my dh married one of those teenagers!!!!!

mp
guest^ is offline  
Old 11-10-2004, 12:10 AM
 
Mizelenius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: In Lalaland
Posts: 6,938
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapoppins
we want our kids to learn to take care of what they have.
I think you hit the nail on the head! And, as you said, some kids are born caring, some kids aren't . . .why is that and what can we do about it? Or, is there anything we can do about it? And, how important is it?

BTW, my sis was NOT neat for most of her life . . .even through college. Then, she bought her own house and changed her ways!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

Mizelenius is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off