WW Clubs and Groups - Off Topic...preschoolers and cleaning up

07-21-2006, 05:13 PM
I have a kid question...I have ALOT of toys, so much so I made DH get rid of his pool table so we could have a play room LOL. Being from a day care center background I have everything set up in centers, I have the toys divided into categories and sorted into bins. We have a kitchen and dress up center the dress up clothes are in a trunk, the kitchen dishes and food are in a plastic three drawer unit, the dolls and doll clothes have a plastic set of drawers as well. The kitchen is set up in a corner, then I have a shelf that comes out from the wall perpendicularly to create a little "room" It's like a mini kitchen complete with tabel and chairs.

I have all the fp little people sorted by playset into bins, legos in a bin, baby toys (apporved for the 8 month old) in a bin, cars and trucks in a bin, there is a reading area with a couch to sit on. While playing they have the large play room AND my livingroom in which to spread out. I am laying this all out b/c I let the kids have one center or type of toy at a time for the most part, sometimes the older kids have one area and the two year old another. So when it's clean up time it seems to me that it's not that hard to pick up the toys and dump them in a bin.

The kitchen and dress up is a bit harder as things have to be sorted into the three areas of the kitchen center. I always help the kids clean up...but they just don't help me. They walk exaggeratedly slow, they play with stuff instead of put it away, they get side tracked. I timed it once it took the boy I watch 17 minutes to put one toy away. I have to ask them 100 times to clean up. My dd is three as is the boy I watch and my DS is almost 2. I expect the three year olds to help more. Frankly I think they should be able to do it themsleves while I help the two year old, or make lunch, or feed the baby. Am I asking too much? I know they are three, but it seems to me that they are working me over to get out of cleaning up.

We've tried clean up charts, rewards, races, songs, and I even have a timer I set..anything that's not picked up in 10 minutes is thrown into a trash bag (granted I usually put the stuff back after a few weeks when they aren't looking b/c I am not throwing out a $50 leap pad or $30 cabbage patch doll). I told DD today if she didn't get the legos picked up she was going to lose tv privlages, she said "that's ok mommy I don't want to watch tv anyway" I have even tried spanking her but obviously not the boy I watch.

Clean up time has become such a nightmare there are days when I could cry, the days when I'm busy and while switching laundry DS is dumping box after box. I'm not a neat freak, but I would like to be able to walk through my livingroom.

My point I guess is, how much can a three year old be responsible for? How much time is reasonable to expect them to clean up? They've been cleaning up blocks for over 30 minutes...I had to leave the room b/c I was getting so annoyed, thus the reason I am typing now lOL. How can I get them to do it without asking 800 times and pulling out my hair?

Any ideas and help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

07-21-2006, 05:27 PM
I am trying to remember when my kids were that age. We didn't have a dedicated play room--only the living room. Neither liked to play alone in their own rooms, so the living room was where everything was. I remember I had a rule, if you're done playing with it, put it away BEFORE you get anything else out. That kept the mess to a minimum.

07-21-2006, 05:46 PM
The woman who watches my 3 yo son gives them tickets if they don't listen. The tickets then go to the parents and the parents frown or discipline or whatever.

As for me, well, we have just spent 2 hours cleaning and there are still rooms that look like a hurricaine hit them.

07-21-2006, 07:09 PM
THANKS for your responses!!!:)

I am spoiled having the playroom, most of our toys have been given to us or were mine when I was young, but we have an INSANE amount of them. We have 8 fisher price litttle people playsets as well as most of the smaller peices and characters to go with them. It's NUTS :dizzy:

I think I'll have to reenforce the when you are done put it away rule more. It's generally understood, but I don't follow through enough maybe.

It took them an HOUR to clean up a box of legos. That's it, just legos.

I sort of do something like the ticket idea, we have pig points, when you listen you get points (little cards with pigs on them in your envelope) and when you don't you lose them, who ever gets the most at the end of the day wins. They work GREAT for speaking nicely, sharing, good manners, but with clean up they just don't seem to care. My daughter lost TV privlages for today (which is only 30 minutes anyway) and for Saturday morning Cartoons tomarrow b/c she was the worst offender today. The little boy I watch did eventually get stuff picked up.

I am at my wits end.

07-21-2006, 10:49 PM
I always did the finished playing put it away before the next toy is out. But with so many that will be a challenge. Want to say your house sounds fun to play at. What about next time they want to take out the legos you say No because you didn';t put them away. see how they react to that hopefulloy they will offer to put them away and you can bargain.

07-22-2006, 06:26 AM
I think that at that age they should be responsible for cleaning up a bit but a lot of cleaning is going to be too overwhelming. Like cleaning up a big box of Lego...that would be too much for a 2 or 3 year old. I would be getting my ds to help me clean it up, even at almost 5 years old I wouldn't expect him to clean it up by himself. I didn't find that at that age that my son was really into reward type things for cleaning up. We find that we limit his toys in the living room area to 2 things max and then if he wants to bring something else downstairs then he has to take something back up to his room. He has 6 small bins filled with cars, action toys etc and then 1 large bin for large trucks and then a couple of smaller bins for stuff like lego and other toys. He has shelves for books and puzzles. Honestly I can't see spending an hour making him clean up, I wouldn't have the patience for that and I think that would be too overwhelming for him.

07-22-2006, 11:28 AM
I guess what frustrated me was that I was the only one cleaning. They had some other stuff out, I had cleaned all of that up then started helping them with blocks. They weren't helping at all. I cleaned up quite a few of them and was like you know what if you guys don't help me then you can do it yourself. I didn't say that I just tried to get them to do some of it. Every two seconds they were off playing. But it's like this every day, every time. It could be something as small as a small box of crayons and coloring book. We ahve apretty good schedule, we're not nuerotic about it, but we usually do teh same stuff at teh same time. I would think they would start catching on.

In the end I pretty much picked them all up. But with four kids I can't always drop everything to clean up. I have diapers to change, the baby to feed.

When I worked in daycare we had 15 three and four year olds. When it was time to clean up they did. I just don't remember nagging on them this much to complete a simple task. We even expected them to get the stuff into the right bins and if they didn't we made them do it over (which rarley happened after teh first time). It just wasn't that big of a deal with them. And there were 15 of them and soooo many more toys.

I wouldn't be so annoyed if they were putting in an effort. If they were diligently trying to help I would be pleased. But the little boy I watch will litterally wander around with one toy in his had for minutes on end. Normally he is HYPER, but at clean up time he walks like a snail, meandering through the room. He's like a space cadet. My daughter will be rolling around on the floor.

Most of the time they only play with the kitchen and dress up anyway while my son plays with trucks. So it's not often they even have the blocks out. The little people and rescue heros are up on a shelf they can't reach so I can just dole out one box at a time.

Maybe the fact that I am the only one who does dishes, vacuums, mops, does laundry ect I start to get tired of cleaning up. I realize that I am home all day and the bulk of the house work should fall on me. But DH dumps everything everywhere. I am constantly picking up dirty laundry from the kitchen, the livingroom. At dinner everyone gets up and leaves plates of food just sitting there. I've asked my husband if he could at least clear his own plate...he stacked it on the kids plates and left it on the table. I asked him two weeks ago when we had guests coming over (HIS brother) if he could please clean the bathroom so I could do the kitchen. All he did was kick the dirty laundry out of the bathroom into the laundry room. He constantly leaves tools lying around, I am forever picking up screws and such that fall out of his pockets. We have a three section hamper in which to sort dirty clothes. My husband puts his clothes ON the hamper, never actually IN the hamper.

I feel like my entire life is picking up, cleaning up and my hos eis never clean despite the fact that I clean all day. I go to other people's homes and they are neat and orderly and they only vacuum once a week. I vacuum EVERYDAY sometimes twice. I do laundry three days a week, I run my dishwasher usually twice a day. Yet my house is a dumphole. maybe I am expecting too much out of the kids b/c I'm not getting the support I need elsewhere.

But I look at my best friends' little girl. She wouldn't DREAM of not cleaning up and she's younger than my daughter. Its' just automatic with her. She even helps with house work! It's always been a struggle with my kids. While we're cleaning up in teh livingroom, DS is dumping the plastic bowls out of the kitchen cabinets. It's a constant battle.

07-23-2006, 01:33 AM
I understand your frustration because I feel the same. My ds is tidy about putting his tools away and that is about it. His office is a mess, he'll leave laundry on the floor and he doesn't help at all with cleaning. We made an agreement years ago that if he didn't like the state of the house then he had to help with cleaning. As long as he doesn't complain then I don't b!tch at him for being untidy. I am not the most tidy person either but I keep my house relatively clean.

I think you are beating your head against a brick wall on this one in some respects. Like you can't make your husband get worked up about the house in the same way you do because that just isn't the way he is. As for the kids I think it would be best to only let them play with one thing at a time and they have to put that thing away before they get something else out. Also you were saying about daycare that the kids would put stuff away...my ds is the same at daycare or at school, you just gotta know that they act differently there then they do at home. Ds will eat things at daycare that he won't eat at home for example. Plus I think when they see other kids doing it then they want to be doing the same thing, unfortunately that doesn't work with your own kids yet. Maybe when they are a little older and understand why you want to keep the house clean then they will help.

07-23-2006, 10:20 AM
I'm just done reading your whole thread. I had the same situation with my kids. The first thing however, that stands out in my head is that you have too many toys. I think it might be overwhelming for children to have so many choices and on top of that the responsability to put them away. My children used to get toys all the time, holidays and etc. After a while I started asking friends and family to gift them other things, like books, arts and crafts, movie trips, Barbie clothing for the dolls we have, instead of more dolls! My son is not into toys anymore, so he appreciates video games and books, especially puzzle books. My princess loves her Barbie dolls, but she also is very fond of coloring books. The kids used to have two HUGE bins worth of stuff. I started a custom 2yrs ago of the big clean-up which occurs yearly. During the big clean-up we decide what toys are going, what toys are staying. We give toys and stuff to charity and then each pick out one new treat. Long story short, they have gone from two HUGE BINS to two small underbed storage bins. Its great. After they are done playing, they just shove their stuff back in the bin and push it under the bed. The underbed storage made sense to me because their toys ALWAYS end up under the bed! As far as stuffed animals and the like that they cannot part with, we keep them in a pretty collaspible hamper. They seldom see the light of day, but the kids feel secure that they are in the same room with them. The problem I have now is with laundry. They need to take better care of their clothing. What we do now is after I wash and fold, they march like soliders putting away clothing in their dressers. That is the last time I deal with the clothes. During the week, they must keep the clothing neat. Just like every other mom, I creep into their room after bedtime and pick up for them...that is just so things dont get too out of hand.

I thought to address the sloppy husband issue, but I will leave it alone. Its true that I do most of the housework around here, but my girlfriend is not sloppy and we maintain well. Her only ****-no is cooking and washing dishes. Cooking and washing dishes for her, is ordering take-out and tossing out teh styrofoam when done. She does not like to do laundry either, but she does not have to worry, because I love doing laundry.

Other than that we are pretty good.

07-24-2006, 09:25 AM

I completley agree with you Christina that we have too many toys! I have asked my family on NUMEROUS occasion to stop buying them. I recently asked them to give cash for a college fund, or buy DVD's b/c they take up no space, my daughter will be taking dance in the fall and possibly be going to preschool so I said tuition costs for thsoe would be more helpful that toys.

My duaghter has 70, yes 70, complete outfits for summer. She's small and can wear all of last year's stuff this year yet my Gramma in particular bought her 20 more outfits. She buys them on clearence in stores that I don't have around here, so returning them is not an option. I get alot of their stuff at yardsales as well. I bought 7 pairs of like new old navy kids' jeans for $5 last year. But like the toys they have more clothes than they can ever use.

I appreciate it and feel very blessed that my kids are well provided for. But I also feel it's a waste of money, how many light colored frilly dresses can a kid living on a farm wear?

I had put away quite a few of the toys that my kids had outgrown, but now that I have the baby here he needs age appopriate things. So I dragged them back out.

I like the way my play room is currently organized. I feel I need a variety of stuff right now b/c my kids are here ALL day right now. They don't attend school or daycare. Plus there are 4 of them. What I may do is go back to the days when I planned out which areas they would play with and rotate the stuff only allowing them to play with one thing (I think that's pretty much what everyone said was thier key). That way more stuff other than the dress up clothes is getting played with and maybe once they learn the rule we can keep it under control. I'm gonna have to go back to sitting tight to them saying "That's not in your center, if you want to play with that you have to clean up this other stuff"

As for DH he'll never learn. He doesn't complain about the house often. I'm not a a neat freak, I am a pretty big slob. But I feel that I eventually pickup my icecream dish from the end table, I eventually put my coat away instead of hang it on a chair. I go through once a day or so and put my stuff away. My stuff also isn't a child hazard like the cordless drill he left lying about WITH the battery in it, or the circular saw that is ever present in my kitchen. I just feel like he should pick up his own crap. I pick up stuff for three people, when we leave the house I get three people ready, the car cleaned out and loaded with what we need, and he takes a shower and asks me to find him his underwear. I just want him to be responsible for his own stuff. And not leave things like knives, chemicals, choking hazards like screws and nails, lying anywhere in the house. I don't think it's fair that I take care of kids for 12 hours, cook dinner, he comes in eats, leaves everything everywhere, I spend a a half hour cleaning up the kitchen and he goes off and talks to his dad and does his "farm chores" and I am stuck in the house. Even if I wanted to have a hobby like garden I would have to do it with two kids "helping". He just goes off on his marry way, I bet he spends a total of 15 minutes a day with the kids.

Oh well that's who he is and I knew that before we got married so I guess it's my own fault. I don't know why I thought he might catch on. LOL Can't change them!

07-24-2006, 04:37 PM
Misty, you are right about not being able to change them but even so my dh has changed a lot because of our son, changed on his own because he saw that he needed to. I think a lot of it comes from you being a stay at home mom. Like with me dh has no option but to spend time and look after ds when I am at work. It would be nice if you could establish "me" times with dh. You do work as well, being a stay at home mom is a job and a half. Could you ask him to please make sure his construction stuff is moved back to the garage or work room or barn or wherever he wants to store it. Like say to him, I'm not asking you to wash the dishes or vacuum but please could you put the circular saw away. That is totally reasonable and not nagging in my opinion.

As for the toys, my ds has enough toys for a daycare of 20 kids and my SIL has enough toys with her 2 kids for about 5 daycares. Yes I am the same I ask to not buy toys anymore, book and movies are an exception and I don't mind clothes either. I don't buy a lot of clothes because I know they will likely only last 1 season unless I buy 2 sizes large. So right now ds has got lots of t-shirts but only like 4 pairs of shorts and 3 pairs of pants that fit.

I was thinking about this when I got ds to help me clean up the living room today. He is perfectly willing to help me but he wouldn't do much on his own if I said okay pick up all those toys and take them upstairs. We both took stuff upstairs and sorted into the right bins and it took about 15 minutes. Then he wanted to bring down some blocks and I said okay but you have to take this truck back up which he did and then I let him watch a video which has to go back to the library today and he picked up his blocks and put them away by himself. So honestly I think it is a matter of keeping the toys that are out and being actively played with to a minimum and then it is not so overwhelming for them to pick up after themselves.