View Full Version : Kids and cleaning--share your ideas

05-16-05, 11:48 PM
I decided to start this thread to get ideas from other parents on how they decided their kids were old enough to learn how to pick up after themselves and how they keep them interested. Please, share your thoughts and ideas there are no right or wrong answers.

With Dakota I did everything but its easy with only one child. When Lexi came along she spent so much time in the hospital and then we had to give an IV med that took three hours to transfuse every six hours I needed help big time.

Dakota (3) was given more responsibility and was in charge of helping me sort clothes while I held the baby and IV, he would dump laundry out of the drier into a basket that I could fold and put away after the baby had been put to bed. He would then stand on a chair and get clothes from the washer and dump them onto the drier door and then shove inside the drier. This chore got him 3 stickers each time that he could later trade in for a bigger prize like eating at McDonalds or going to a movie. He also earned stickers for helping with the baby like getting me diapers or picking up his and her rooms with me.

Lexi I tried to start off with right away and she still hasn't taken to housework. I'm constantly improvising a new plan to get her interested in helping at least keep her space clean. This is the child that would rather pick her barbies up and walk them thru her room, down the hall, thru the living room, into the kitchen to throw in the trash rather then pick them up and lean over to put them in her toy box. After throwing away some very prized toys she finally realized I was serious and when I use the old threat she will clean up her mess. But, I'd love to find ways that are less combative and involve less screaming.

Garrett is almost 1 1/2 I started young with him. If he could hold a toy then he could put it away. I would help him pick up his toys and then hold him over his toy box until he dropped them. Seems excessive I know but he gets just as excited now when I say pick up time as when I say play time. he seems to get a kick out of being a big boy and makes a big show of picking up his toys and he tries to help put his clothes away. He too gets stickers which he is happy with right now.

How old were your kids when you started teaching them to clean up after themselves and share your ideas on what works and what didn't.

05-23-05, 02:13 AM
Toddlers were all about fun. My oldest a single child was helpful in nature. My twins it was a game the most toys "won" much clapping and praise.

School age it was short chore list. If one child did not do chore with one reminder a second child had the option of doing chore instead and build up "more points" the more points the more reward. Small rewards like getting to stay up late on week ends, extra "mommie and child alone time".

This worked for the most part however there are the obstinate always. Certain "responsibilties" required the completion of certain "responsibilites". As the children's freedom increased so did the responsibilities. If responsibilities were not fulfilled then the "freedom" was denied. If my girls did not pass school (a responsibility) then they forfieted the "freedom" to go places on school days for the length of the reposrt card period. Because confinment of ADD/ADHD children could be as much as "punishment" for parents as child the "restriction" on week-ends was lift as soon as a passing grade was obtained in the class.

Having multiple children meant multiple challenges because of the different ages the freedom/responsibiltiy thing was different for each. I had to keep a personal calander in my purse and a family calander in the dinning room. I had to write restrictions and rewards on both clanendars. If I did not write down who was getting priveledges and who was having them removed I wouldn't have been able to keep up. It doesn't take children long to learn about parental forgetfullness.

The writting down of priveledges and restrictions had an unexpected but pleasent side effect call sibling compitition. They competed with each other and could see there results on the calander. Sticker were used when they were very young however by the time all were in third grade writting did the trick.

I also had set consequences for certain behaviors. As a moody person my punishments could very greatly on my mood. Having pre-set consequences for "common infractions" made the consequences a direct result of actions. Example cerfews, had a seven minute grace period. At minute eight loss of phone priveledges for three days. Every ten minutes thereafter meant another three days of phone loss, after thirty minuted had passed loss of freedom began. By this time a child was 40-45 minutes late, mother was worried silly.

Restrictions could be curcumvented with a simple phone call but unless tardyness home was a viable certifible reason beyond childs control this would only by short time and lighter scentence. These too were written down for reference.

Children caught making phone calls for restricted children were themselves placed on phone restrictions for however long restricted child had left plus two days. I had few "rules" but the ones I had had definate consequences. This system I found was able to grow along with child. Plus all my girls understand the link between cause and effect. Two of my daughters are significiantly "impaired" but none are stupid!!!!

06-09-05, 10:12 PM
And then there's me. Disorganized disaster. Daughter cleans up NOTHING. Currently our house is a DUMP. I'm so overwhelmed and frustrated at this point. I just can't stand living like this anymore. Yes, I tried the flylady, didn't work. Yes, I actually had a friend who cleans houses come over to help me get things straightened out. Two weeks later, house looked the same again. I'm begining to think that I will forever be living with piles of clothes surrounding me along with my daughter's papers and junk all over. The kitchen table..........what's that and where is it?? The sofa??........buried and gone......Oh God, the bedroom.........I won't even go there.....I feel hopeless right now.......sorry.
Dee :faint:
P.S. Only you and my family know this as I don't have guests at the house very often at all.

06-10-05, 01:06 AM
I wish I had a friend that would share house cleaning with me. I would love to be able to work amicably with a buddy while we clean my house and then hers. I have long lost any concern I had about someone seeing my mess, and I work well with companionship. I think it would be fun. So far, no one wants to do this with me.
Doesn't work with hubby, he works grim faced and head down until we either stop or are done. It is NOT fun...

06-13-05, 07:48 AM

What do you say we start a small project? We'll help you find ways to clean and organize one room of your house at a time making housework easier. WE can give you ideas and cheer you on and revel in your victory over the mess.

Then we can help you set up a cleaning chart so you can stay on top of it.

What do you think? something your interested in and would be willing to try. Remember its one room at a time nothing big and nothing too stressful.

06-26-05, 09:41 AM
I wish I had a friend that would share house cleaning with me. I would love to be able to work amicably with a buddy while we clean my house and then hers. I have long lost any concern I had about someone seeing my mess, and I work well with companionship. I think it would be fun. So far, no one wants to do this with me.
Doesn't work with hubby, he works grim faced and head down until we either stop or are done. It is NOT fun...
My friend and I trade babysitting as often as we can to avoid the cost of hiring our neighbors' teenagers. We love them, but of course we're penny-pinchers. If things are going well while babysitting at her house I try to clean up a bit for her. I've visited often enough that I know roughly where things go.

She does the same for me. If the kids are crazy or "high maintenance" then no comment made. It's just a rare treat we're thankful for when we get it.

KIDS: I would love to say that points, stars, etc work great in our house but it doesn't. Perhaps I'm inconsistent but I think there's an element of such extreme laziness with my kids they just don't care about the reward. I even forget their allowance. The idea is that they have a list of chores to do, age appropriate, and the two oldest (because they know and care about money) get $1 a week. If they don't do a chore they have to pay me (or the person who ended up doing it) .25 . If I don't mow our lawn I have to pay someone to mow it, so that's the idea behind that one. My youngest gets an incentive reward for an extra chore he does, beyond what he's expected to help with. i.e. a popsicle when he's done folding towells. Everyone has basic chores that they have to do because we're a family and families help each other.

06-26-05, 12:45 PM
I reared four children, and one of the things I had difficulty with was "junk accumulation". Old cloths, toys ect... A parent with ADD is likely to have children with ADD. Adders tend to become over whelmed easily by lots of STUFF. The irony is we ADDers tend to collect more stuff than we need.

One of the signs that we had too much stuff was when the house work became over whelming and difficult to manage. The less stuff the less there is to clean up!!!!!

One method I used ith the kids was to take an extra "personal day" off work twice a year while children were in school. I would tell them two days before hand I was doing room clean up. This meant I was going into their room and getting rid of un-used stuff. I had two boxes one for donations that I knew needed ditching and one un sure box. When box marked unsure was full I would write brief discription of contense and date. I would put box in attic or garage out of sight. If I had to get some thing out of box I would write date down in box top or side. After six months with out needed access to contence what ever was left in box went to donations.

Even with my children knowing I was going into there room to get rid of un-used stuff and they would come in and go straight to their room to see what I had done away with they would be so over whelmed by the cleaness of their room rarely did they ask for stuff back. Once or twice I had to retrieve some thing from one of my unsure boxes but not very often. The boxes meant for donations would go straight into my car once full.

Yes I would ride around with donation boxes in my car for a week or two but having them in car immediatly after they were filled with stuff increased the chances of them being droppped off at donation spot as opposed to becoming another box to trip over and curse!!!!!!

So if stuff management has become a problem it is entirly possible that there is too much stuff to manage. When my children got older I began to keep a "perminate donation box" in my garage they would often contribute stuff them selves because they learned the more stuff they had the more clean up required. Once perminate dontation box was full the lid was closed, box went into my car for a week (maybe two) long ride before I remembered to drop it off. My lack of memory here served a perpous as impulsive children will throw away stuff they need to avoid cleaning it up!!!! A forgotten box in the car an easier place to retrieve school library book from than one I already took to donation site!!!!!

06-26-05, 04:16 PM
The hardest part for me is remaining firm, yet refusing to be drawn into an argument. Today, son want to go to a friends, but needed to vacumn first. I know why he wanted to go right now. I feel like that myself, but I also know vacumning will not happen today unless it is done first. So we go through the Pleeeeeeeeease!!!! and all the other stuff. And I hung in there.
And today, he did it! No fight!
I am thinking that my newfound unfogginess (read meds) is really helping me to stay with things and not cave in or get mad. Hope it lasts.

06-26-05, 11:56 PM
I know there were times when doing the work yourself is much easier than having to under go the emotional drain it some times takes to get others to pitch in.

Staying firm will decrease the agruements drasticially over time. If children think there is a possibility of getting out of chores they will try it seems to be their duty!!!!! Once they figure argueing is wasting time they will tend to do less of it. Medications allowed me to have the forsight to "stay consistent".

06-27-05, 10:05 AM

I keep 3 banks lined up under the chore lists and after a chore is completed I put a quarter into the their bank, that way they know I'm not going to forget to pay them or run out of money at the end of the week and make them wait. One week of chores by 3 kids ends up costing me almost a roll of quarters but its worth it in sanity.

09-19-05, 04:00 PM
here are some of my tricks... well just things I do with my DD (she's 2)

When I make my bed I ask her to help mummy cause that would be really nice. Then she wants to make her I help her and we pick out the stuffed animals to put on it for the day.

When I'm folding laundry I"ll do it in the same room as her and she always ask me if she can help ... I re-fold the stuff later when she's not watching but she trys and looks for my approval after each fold.

When I'm scrubbing the tub I'll ask her to help me wash the cabinets down...I'll give her a wet rag and let her go to town ... I also have a "cleaning" bottle filled with water so she feels like she's actuall cleaning with me.

I ask her to pick up her toys after she's done with them and say wants to watch a movie or color..sometimes she doesn't want to but if I say for her to act like a puppy (she loves to drop on all fours and bark) then she'll start laughing and do the knowing that her favorite movie or coloring book is next helps her to keep going.

I also have her put all of her own dirt clothes away in the laundry basket...and she likes to dress un-dress herself so she knows that she has to put her clothes away after she's done with them...

All of this doesn't happen all the time but for the most part she likes to clean... a mini-me!!!

Gil R
10-01-05, 08:20 AM
My mom always made me pick up my toys. If i was being stubborn,
or trying to negotiate, she would threat to throw away one of
my favorite toys. I loved my toys and i wasnt about to get rid
of them, but i really didnt want to put them away, so i shoved
them under my bed :D:D

10-01-05, 09:02 AM
Gil R.....don't you know monsters live under the bed? Don't you think the habit is risky?

Gil R
10-01-05, 10:47 AM
Gil R.....don't you know monsters live under the bed? Don't you think the habit is risky?
LOL :p:p

10-01-05, 10:54 AM
Somewhere on this site I read this qoute (or something close to it)
It you want to see me, come over anytime, if you want to see my house make an appointment!

10-01-05, 11:15 AM
I know I can say I don't care blah blah blah, but...
A messy house sucks the life out me, between the three little pigs that live here, (that includes me) we can trash it in a matter of hours.
The physical chaos amplifies the party going on in my head, and well you know it all becomes overwhelming pretty quickly.
It is so easy for well meaning folks to give you advice, like just straighten up as you go along, never touch a paper twice, have a place for everything etc.
But how can I? When my brain switches gears on me my body MUST follow.
Fifteen minutes ago, I opened all the mail (I have a lot of business stuff as well) half of it is strewn all over my desk, I could not follow through because I needed another cup of coffee, and when I went to the kitchen I HAD to empty the recycling when I came back to my office, I HAD to check this sight, now I am losing interest in this task and a little voice (which is getting louder) says it is time to start my run, which is actually what I intended to do an hour ago.
Help me!