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Wanting some ideas on how to react/respond to this situation!

So, my boys share a room/most toys, etc and lately B will adamantly refuse to help clean up when suggested. We usually approach it with a good humored "hey boys, let's clean this area up a little, I can't even walk in here!"
(or, let's clean up a little before we brush teeth for bed!) and W will jump up and start cleaning, and B will either continue playing without a response, or will stop, stand up and watch W clean, or shout "NO!" and not do any at all (sometimes even the oposite, throwing things to make more messes). A lot of times this happens when we are trying to transition to nap/dinner/bed etc, with previous warnings (although we don't usually warn about time to clean up, just about moving on to a new thing).

I have heard parents say to take off the presure, do all the above then just start helping yourself and *hope* at some point he'll want to jump in. Well, last night DH got fed up with it and decided to get into a power struggle situation with him (which never works, B is very stubborn) and later said he was concerned that W was always helping and doing the work and B never does. He was concerned that either W would at some point wonder why the unfairness or would be driven to not comply either. So DH basically just kept telling him he needed to help, that he was playing with the toys, made some of the mess, needs to clean it up, and he needed to do it before they went and had their grapes (that they asked for snack before bed).

Thanks for your thoughts (it is getting very frustrating...)
 

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I have 2 older boys and this is still a struggle. Actually it got worse as they have gotten older. As much as I wish they would comply with some spirit of cooperativeness and both jump in with both feet to get the job done, it just doesn't work out for us. One is cooperative and helpful; the other is not. Where is Mary Poppins when you need her?

I find I have to split up the tasks and be extremely explicit with who is responsible for what. I have actually drawn a line and say, "you do this side and your brother does the other." or, "You clean up the bookshelves and Legos; the other puts away movies and video games".

You might consider getting each boy a rug (5x7?) for their shared room. That is their special place to play and they are responsible for cleaning their special spot. That helps the issue if one boy is more messy than the other as well as clearly defining their job ahead.

Good luck!
 

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We have this problem too. I do like the PP, I divide up the tasks. One will clean up books and blocks and the other will clean up KNEX and puzzles. That sort of thing.

Just saying "clean up" I found is overwhelming. They look at their toys and don't know where to start. Telling them a specific thing to pick up has really helped with cooperation.

We are trying to teach them to put a toy away before getting another but the youngest often comes ripping through and playing with everything anyway. Meh, can't win them all.
 
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