Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Will Clean My Room

Figuring out a way to get my kids to clean their room on a consistent basis is always a challenge. I have tried threatening, throwing away toys, yelling, guilt, etc... You name it, I've tried it. Somehow though, the room becomes a disaster area every day.
I know that part of the problem is my lack of consistency. But, I really only have this issue with my 2 middle children. They share a room. I think they have used this fact to justify that the mess is completely the fault of their sister. So, neither of them take responsibility.
Well, we had another day of this ongoing battle. I decided to try something a little different. The cleaning of the room was itching it's way right through school time. So, I decided to combine the 2. After a couple of reminders to the girls and little to no work done, I had them come out to the kitchen table.
To the 8 year old, I gave a piece of wide-ruled paper and told her she had to fill it from top to bottom with reasons why they needed to clean their room and everything that should be cleaned in their room.
Then, I handed a piece of paper to the 6 year old and told her she had to write "I will clean my room" on every line from top to bottom.
They both were unhappy about this punishment. But, they made it through. Near the end, they were both complaining about their hands hurting. I told them that it was part of their consequences.
When they were done, I sent them back to the room to clean. I told them that if I didn't see them cleaning without distraction (the common excuse), they would come back and write the entire paper again.
They started to clean, but Sydney (that stubborn little thing) decided to give me some lip and argue with me. So, I allowed Avery to leave the room and Sydney to clean by herself. When I came back to check on her and she was in the living room playing with a messy room behind her, she went back to the table.
This time, she was VERY unhappy. She cried and complained the whole way through the paper. By line 6, she was begging to go clean her room. Hmmm... interesting. I told her that she had to write it 3 more times with no crying and then I would "let" her clean her room. It was strange to be saying such a thing. But, it worked.
She left and cleaned until it was all clean.
Now, I'm not saying this is going to work long term, but it sure has been helpful the last couple of days.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have one child who taught me well how to solve the clean the room issue. This child is a disorganized/organized mess. When I tried to make him my own metaculious organized type person he and I met butting heads. Finally we landed on a solution this worked for me. Pick one day per week. Mine was Friday pick a time mine was before dinner. The room had to be in tip top shape by Friday before dinner or there was a fine. All other times he was free to have the room his way, but pull the door shut so I did not have to look at it. This approach helped him , now he is in college and much better organized just due to this one fact. He was able to please his Mom because one day per week I could see the room all nice and neat. Plus he was able to be his own disorganized/ organized person.

Southerner said...

I have this problem with my two boys that share a room. It is ALWAYS his mess, or he threw it on my side. I will have to try this. My oldest two shared for a little while when they were young and the room would look good but stuff was stuffed under the bed and dresser and in the closet. One day I threw it all into a pile in the middle of the room and told them that this pile of toys was like sin in our lives. Sometimes when you look at people you don't see it. Everything looks put together and clean. But, when you look underneath you find hidden sin. When you don't take care of what is hidden it grows into a big mountain of sin. Another time I boxed up everything they owned and allowed them to get things back each week. They ended up not wanting some back because they didn't want to take care of it.

Sara at Miller Moments: said...

think this technique would work on husbands, too? I've been begging for our tub to be entirely sanitized out in prep for our next homebirth (3 weeks or less) and have been met with resistance. :) Maybe I'll just hand him a notebook....

Donna(mom24boyz) said...

Its always good when something you try works out for ya.. For those who have kids that share, we have and even and odd day deal going.

My older son is "odd", he younger brother is "even". If it is an even day the even one has all the chores, cleaning their room, taking trash out, empty dishwasher, etc. But they also get all the great things...they get to sit in the front seat of the van, they get to pic the shows on tv, they get to control the games, ect. This has worked out so well for us for nearly a year and half. The only problem is my third son.. When I shout "Who's day is it" He is completely confused and comes running...."It's my day! My Day!. We may have to go to Mon-Tue one kids day, Wed-Thur, Fri and Sat..or something like that. But this has really helped us out a lot


On a seperate note.....come check out the so called challenge on my blog!
http://helpfulhomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/10/could-you-eat-on-587-day-per-person.html

Jennifer said...

I am a big fan of having my kids write sentences. Way to go sticking to the discipline, sometimes that is the hardest part.

Anonymous said...

Way to go "mean mom". :) Just kidding!! I love it...you are one smart mom! Thanks for sharing! Love, Christie

Kari said...

What a great idea to combine school and cleaning. We haven't gotten to this problem yet but I will have to remember for when the kids get older. I find the best solution for us is that it has to be cleaned up daily or the mess is just to overwhelming. Thankfully, Marty has taking this upon himself to make sure the kids pick up their rooms and the playroom daily.

Jaime said...

Looks like I just got a new idea!

Linda said...

Garbage bags and Freecycle work for me. I've gone through and picked up whatever was on the floor (including a cherished teddy bear) and offered the entire bag up on Freecycle. My daughter was APPALLED that she lost so many things in one day. The amount of responses I got when I posted, "offer: bag of girls' toys, animals, crayons, coloring books, size 7 clothing. Can't tell you the condition, since I just shoveled it off the floor of my daughter's bedroom. First person to email me without laughing gets it". I had over 40 replies. And someone came to get the bag within an hour.

Only took once.

Flamingo Mama said...

hmmmm. this may be a good idea indeed.

melissa said...

That is an interesting consequence, that I never thought of. I have a simple approach, to them picking up their rooms. It is their job, plain and simple. My youngest gets a quarter a week, and my oldest a dollar, to do their job. If they dont do the job they dont get paid. If they dont get paid, they cant save their money to buy whatever nonsense toy they want, that mom wont buy. It works pretty good.