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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently read Unconditional Parenting. It was both challenging and comforting for me. Things are pretty peaceful around here, but I have one issue that I'd like help with.<br><br>
My issue is this:<br><br>
I have 2 kids, 4.5(DD) and 2.5. They make huge creative messes, all day long. They very rarely want to help clean up. I am not ok with having to do all of the clean-up, but at the same time I don't want cleaning to be something they hate doing, and I'm not willing to punish or otherwise coerce them into doing it. I also don't want to stifle their creative play by forcing rules of play on them (such as, blankets are only for beds...Legos and Little People can't play together...etc)<br><br>
So, what do you gentle discipline (particularly UP) mamas do to get your kids to clean up? Do you make them clean up, or do you do it all? What do you do if they just don't want to, ever?<br><br>
We've used games, songs, I'm great at making things fun. But all that is pretty boring for Dd now. When her room gets quite disorganized and she can't find certain toys, she will ask me to help her organize it. She knows that a tidy room is much more fun to play in. So it's a start, but it's not enough.<br><br>
Some ideas so far:<br><br>
Be more directly involved in their play (stop the mess before it gets too big)<br>
Limit the number of toys and books in their room<br><br>
I'd like some concrete examples of what you'd do. Here'a situation:<br><br>
DD makes an "art attack"--which is, if you've never seen the show, various articles from around the house brought together to make one big picture. When she's done and we've all admired it, the things need to go away. She doesn't want to and goes off to do something else. I will start putting away, asking her for help, coming up with games. I may prevent her from doing anything else until the first mess is tidied, but that turns into a huge power struggle and I don't want to do that.<br><br>
What do you think?
 

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oooo! oooo! sounds just like my house. in fact i could have written your post since i just finished reading UP, too. unfortunately i have no great advice. i do think that some kids/people are just more organized than others. i have a friend who's dd really likes to put away her stuff. her dad is a bit of a neatnik. not me or dh or my dd's. usually it's all over everywhere until dh says they can't watch videos <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">: until it's picked up. not particularly UP, but we do explain that we don't like it messy and toys get stepped on and broken and we fall down and the dogs might chew on it, etc. i think modeling helps a lot, too. i've read often on here of folks who institute several regular pick up/clean up times throughout the day, but i've never been disciplined enough to do that. we struggle with our night time routine as is. the thought of adding a clean-up time to it is daunting.<br><br>
anyway, just wanted to offer commiseration and hope that someone will have a brilliant solution for us both.
 

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We are starting to have the same problem. So far this is what we've tried and it seems to work.<br><br>
Our son isn't quite 3 yet and he isn't ready to pick up all of his mess by himself so we do help, but instead of saying "Charlie, help me pick up your toys" I've changed it to "Charlie, your toys are your responsiblity and I'm going to help you pick them up."<br><br>
We are trying to implement a policy of just a couple of huge messes at a time. If he wants to pour all of his toy cars on the floor of the kitchen, great! But, when he is ready to move on to another activity he is responsible for picking them up because it is a hazard. So, we tell him "here, let us help you pick up your toys" and he is usually very open to it. If he runs off and wants to do something else we simply do not join him (he likes us all to play together) until they are picked up. It's not a power struggle and at first he would get upset. We just keep telling him "yes, we'd love to come play in your room as soon as your cars are picked up so no one trips on them and gets hurt."<br><br>
Now, when he decides he can go play by himself without having to pick them up (and he's fine with us not joining him) then we have a problem. He's only done it a few times and we don't have a great solution, yet!<br><br>
I'll be watching for other ideas.
 

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Can you think of cleaning up for her as a gift? As something that you are giving her out of joy to facilitate her process (art, play, learning, exploring)?<br><br>
I try to be very mindful that the person who wants this house clean is ME. If my family cleans up, it is pretty much FOR me. They don't care the way I care.<br><br>
But, b/c I've helped them and done for them, they do for me lots of times. The other day my 5 yr. old said, "Don't worry Mommy, you sit on the couch and relax--I'll clean up the room. Besides, you and Daddy clean up after me alllll the time." THAT was cool.<br><br>
I suggest modelling cleaning up joyfully, and *asking* for help, if you want/need it. But, by asking, you have to be ready to accept, "No." as a potential answer. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Have you tried sitting down and talking to them about how you feel about the mess and why you want a clean house? I am not sure about most of the UP rules, but it seems like sitting down and talking to them about this and then coming up with a plan for keeping everyone happy (they do art and you get a clean house) might work at this age. If you are totally unable to function in a very rational way when there is a lot of clutter then you may want to consider having them make their messes in their room and allow only a few toys out in the common areas of the house at a time and then those must go back before more come out. Allowing only one project at a time at the table until the art supplies are cleaned up or getting a verbal agreement from the artist that they will clean up afterwards may also work.
 

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We are trying UP, and we have a problem with DD throwing food when she's done eating. The plate just flies across the table. *sigh* Anyway, I tell DD (22 months) that I will help her clean up. So I get down and start picking it up. She joins me. Some times she only picks up one piece and eats it. But she does clean up behind herself. When she gets older, I will talk to her about teamwork and getting things done quicker with cooperation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>monkey's mom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7318635"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can you think of cleaning up for her as a gift?<br>
I try to be very mindful that the person who wants this house clean is ME.</div>
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I like this idea a lot and that's how I've been doing it for quite a while--I feel very glad that she is such a creative and playful kid, and I'm happy to clean up most of the time. But there are times when I just don't want to anymore...when she's taken all of her blankets and sheets off of her bed (to jump into) for the second time that day, and I'm also trying to get supper served and have the house tidy by the time my piano students arrive for lessons... I just don't have time, and frankly I get tired of making the bed!<br><br>
I have talked to her about the messes, but not a lot. I think it will be a slow process. I need to do this more, talk to her about why I like a tidy-er house.<br><br>
Thanks for your input, everybody. I feel better!
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>monkey's mom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7318635"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I suggest modelling cleaning up joyfully, and *asking* for help, if you want/need it. But, by asking, you have to be ready to accept, "No." as a potential answer. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></div>
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This is what we have tried to implement in the last 6 months.... well when we rise to the occasion anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
we have tried to approach cleaning without assigning ownership to mess and carried on the work guilt free if someone does not participate.<br><br>
Interestingly dd who is 5yrs has started to initiate her own clean ups separate to us (and less frequently). She will not tend to join in on ours but will go through spurts of organising/ cleaning without us prompting. Just hard to let go of an attachment for a particular outcome (eg. friends coming over and wanting the family room clean of magnets & art stuff...)<br><br>
reminding us of the fact that it is us who "needs" the clean house and therefore should take that responsibility for it also helps.<br><br>
arun<br>
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| anne + arun |<br><a href="http://www.theparentingpit.com" target="_blank">http://www.theparentingpit.com</a>
 
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