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koala_em

Laziest daughter in the universe- drowning in pigsty! ANY ideas?

koala_em
17 years ago

My 8yo DD is the laziest child who breathes! If I dug a giant hole into the middle of her room and said throw any toys you finish, rubbish or dirty clothes (clean even!)into the hole, it would still be too much effort on her part.

I have tried to declutter. I have thrown out copious amounts of toys, excess clothes, shoes.... etc Even if she had nothing in her room but a bed I am sure she would spread the doona onto the floor!

Every draw has a label -eg T-shirts, undies, jumpers. She helped choose where items would go. If clean clothes make it to the draw she shoves the lot in anywhere it'll fit. I wash daily, so there are never many to put away.

Bratz dolls spew out over the floor mingling with Barbies and soft toys... mixed in are dirty clothes she is too lazy to throw into the hamper, hair ties, hair brush... bits of crap (like folded up paper with drawings).

I periodically lose it and clean it top to bottom (about twice a year). It never lasts.

I need to make myself into the cleaning police each day for her to lift a finger- and it gets so painfully whingey I give up and let her live in the filth.

The rest of our home is tidy and a delightful place. Her brother and sister are both tidy kids. I am not a perfectionist, I just want to see the carpet!

ANY ideas? ANY tips for organising? Should I just get all toys out of there? Should I blackban TV? I have tried a 'prison cell' room- eg minimum clothes and no toys- it worked but as soon as we added any extras it exploded! But in herself she was unhappy without her toys.

I have been using the 'forget it and close the door' method lately. BUT her room faces the street and she seems to regularly manage to lift the lace curtain up so everyone outside can see her mess! PLUS her room is the one next to the path to out front door and they are full height windows.

Em

Comments (72)

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    - or why I had to do it except that the mess bothered her and she didn't want people to see how messy I was.

    This is one of my pet peeves. I try so hard to make sure my kids understand the PRACTICAL reasons for keeping their rooms neat.

    So they can find it; so it doesn't get broken; so that vacuuming is easier and can be started right away; so that they have room to play with NEW toys; so they don't lose as much time at ONE time havingn to pick so much stuff up.

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am not sure that storage is an issue. What I plan to do is get the carpet clean then assess what could change.
    It is frustrating that she doesn't seem to care what her room is like. I suspect I will have to take that 'teach her' tactic. If I explain each day what, how and why we are doing the tidying hopefully at some stage I ask her what we do first and build her confidence... gradually decreasing the 1:1 support as she gains competence. FINGERS CROSSED!
    I just find she does these odd things- for example yesterday with her school jacket- instead of putting it away (dreaming!) or chucking it on the carpet she had threaded one sleeve over the bedpost so it hung there. She is a bit unusual that way.

    Do other people's kids do stuff like that?
    Em

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  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    quirky said, "I don't think you have to be born organized. Truthfully, as a kid I was locked in my room and not allowed to go out and play until I "cleaned up". At the end of the day my mother would come in and see that nothing was accomplished and she went on a rampage and started throwing everything out. " Wow, not my parenting style, nor was it my mothers' who is now 88.

    Koala, I do think that this is a skill which has to be learned, which also means you will have to be the teacher. I'm sure my kids don't care if their room is clean and neat, but since it's an expectation just like taking out the trash or cutting the grass, then it's my job as a parent to get the desired behavior. I don't see it as any different than getting homework done, etc.

    I still think the best way is to do short amounts of time on a daily basis. This reinforces the behaviors of putting the items away.Just image what your sink would be like if you decided to deal with the dishes only a couple of times a week. Even waiting a few days is too long and there is a mess to clean. I've found that my kids put up almost everything now after a few years of regular pick-up times. We don't wait for a mess. Even if there is just a couple of things, we deal with them daily. My youngest is six, so any age can learn this, it just takes time.

    Gloria

  • brutuses
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My mom had a no fail system. I was always the worst for leaving my clothes lying around, i.e., over the banister, on the furniture. To this day I still don't put my dirty dress clothes in a hamper. My hangup. Anyway, my mom got tired of not being able to see the furniture or the banister and she kept telling me to pick up my clothes. I of course kept ignoring her. Then she got the bright idea to throw them in the middle of the sidewalk outside. I know that sounds drastic, but believe me it worked. No more clothes lying around after that!! My mom was a woman of her word. She gave ample warning before she followed through. HA! Seriously, make sure there are enough storage solutions for your daughter's things, i.e., containers, hooks, etc. Also, offer to make-over her room. They may give her the incentive to keep it nice. Maybe you could fix it so she could have friends over to hang out. I saw on some of the HGTV shows where they turned the little girls rooms into entertainment areas also by pushing the bed up against the wall and putting throw pillows so the bed doubled as a sofa. That's just one example.

  • netshound
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My Mom had a no fail system also...you did it because she told you to!! LOL!! Thats all it took for all of us 6 kids. We were'nt rewarded with anything. We just did it because we were told. We new that's what was expected of us. And to this day..no resentment for being strict with us. I love her to death, she's my best friend! I guess you can't get a simpler system than that! LOL!! Love ya Mom!!

  • daphnar
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    LOL! I'm the messy daughter of an incredibly neat and organized Mom. Although I do clean up nowadays (with 4 kids I have too), I still take great pleasure in throwing my clothes on the FLOOR every evening. While I do pick them up in the morn, knowing I don't have to hang them right away is just a great feeling.

    My ideosyncrasies aside, try making the clean up fun - she can bop along to music (zydeco anyone?) or play "beat the clock." Set a timer and see if she can finish in before the timer goes off. Over time, you can lower the time on the timer. This was a great motivator for my kids when they dawdled over a task.

    Good luck.

  • scryn
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    bruteses! Ha! Maybe we are related somehow.

    When I was about 8 and my mom was tired of yelling at me to clean up my room she said that she was going to throw everything on the floor outside.

    I didn't clean my room and when I got off the school bus that afternoon all my clothing and toys were all over the front lawn for everyone to see! I was SO embarrased! I had to pick up everything off the front lawn.

    Kids know how to clean, they aren't doing it because they don't want to. Cleaning isn't fun. grown-ups don't even want to do it. If their clothes don't make it to the hamper, then they don't get cleaned. If you can't see the floor of the room then maybe friends are not allowed to come over. You need to give a them a reason to clean. You can't just say to clean because it should be clean. That doesn't work.

    -renee

  • liz_h
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Em, I'm glad you're making some progress. It sounds like the two of you are on the right path.

    Being neat and tidy is something that comes easily to some and is a totally foreign concept to others. Kids in the first group are easy to train, but that second group can learn also. It just takes a lot more effort, sort of like teaching a dyslexic child to read. The child may have a great work ethic, and fine intelligence, but needs different, and far more careful instruction to learn to read.

    Anyway, I started this post because the discussion reminded me of the time that I was told to clean my room, so shoved everything under the bed. I don't remember how old I was, but honestly expected that to be OK. I proudly showed Mom my room, and she was utterly flabbergasted! Not sure how old I was then.

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The floor is still clear! (Yeah!)
    1/2 the closet is cleared.
    The other half will be attempted today.
    Under the bed is still on the agenda! luckily there alot of big items (like folded doll prams, vacumn clothes bags)under there so it shouldn't be too bad. Top of tallboy... that's later!

    Now I am trying to look at her room with "kid's eyes". Putting away must be hard- as there isn't much storage compared to amount of stuff.

    She has quite alot of clothing really. Alot of Barbies and Bratz and stuffed toys 'my little pony' Mc Donald toys etc. Art supplies by the truckload- BUT no desk- a desk won't fit in her room!
    The closet has two shelves above my shoulder height where I keep her bed linen and some boxes of toys. She can't reach them to put away (or take them out!). Under shoulder height it is all hanging space with a small trolley on wheels which currently holds the arts stuff and shoes (not successfully- they all spill out everywhere).
    There is a wide tallboy and a narrow tall boy all full of clothes, and the bed. She has a small child's table and chair which has to sit essentially wherever it'll fit- often butting up to the bed in the middle of the room. There is also a large dolls house that her grandparents gave her last Christmas (So I can't ditch it- or can I?) which sits infront of the window (full height and right near my front door!).

    I am wondering if I should splurge on one of those beds with draw storage under and a roll out desk? Ditch the bigger tall boy and make half of the hanging into proper solid shelves? OR a maybe a loft bed with existing tall boy plus a desk under it?
    Perhaps I need to ditch more clothes? Or put out of season clothes in the top shelves in the closet and toys boxes in our family room cupboards?

    Any thoughts about storage?
    Would some photos of the space help? It is a small room, but at least there is a double built in closet.

    Any storage ideas that have worked for other kids?

    Em

    scryn- LOL! I have to say I have actually done that with school bags! The children are to hang them on their bag hooks in their rooms. Well, I ask, ask, ask and the bags sit on the familyroom floor. Not anymore... I say "At (specify time) I am throwing any bags still in the familyroom into the backyard." I have done it- I open the door and fling it out. Now they put their bags away!

  • klimkm
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Do you think these same tactics will work on a husband?

  • popi_gw
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just some things that are working for me, at the moment.

    I have found that if I tell my DS 14yo, in the morning before he gets on the school bus...."this afternoon, can you please vacuum your room". "this afternoon, we will change the sheets on your bed".

    Just very simple, and it seems to work. He seems to like planning what will happen. I lurk around helping a bit, but letting him do most of the work.

    You have to be consistant.

    On the other hand DD 19yo, was well trained in tidying bedroom, is now a disaster !! So what can you do.

    There are other threads about this on the parenting forum.

    Sometimes I think the kids just have too many things. Its that old consumer mentality.

    Try not to stress out too much, remember your daughter is lovely and you love her.

    Popi

  • User
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Putting away must be hard- as there isn't much storage compared to amount of stuff.

    There is her problem ... either too little storage or too much stuff. Remember, the Shaker saying was not "everything stuffed someplace", it was "A place for everything, and everything in its place."

    Chat with her and ask her if the problem is too much stuff or too little storage. She might have some good ideas.

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The room has been cleaned.
    Each afternoon before the older siblings come home we spend 10-15 minutes together. Once the room is tidy, we read a novel together (this has proved a motivator to keep the room clean).

    So far, so good.
    I am also reinforcing a positive message. "Wow, look at how tidy you have kept your room!" "How is it now for playing in?" (I have 'more space' she tells me) "What about finding your toys?" -it's easy because all the Bratz are in one box... etc etc

    Em

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm glad to hear this is going well. I really do think the rewards (positive statements, reading together) make a big difference. We all thrive on being told "good job."

    I'm curious as to how many toys/clothing really left the space and if you had to get her any additional storage containers.

    Gloria

  • teacats
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Excellent job -- both of you!!! :)

    Positive reinforcement can go sooo well!! :)

    Way to go!

  • Julie_MI_Z5
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Em,

    Great progress! A loft bed may be the way to go, just remember the sheets are a major pain to change, and the lofts you buy usually come with 2 beds (which you probably don't have room for). If you're handy with tools you can build your own. Lofts are popular in college dorms (students have limited floor space and usually put their desk & refrigerator under them or whatever) so you should be able to get good plans somewhere on the internet. (Check your ceiling height!)

    I also used the idea of putting small-pieced toys up high so the kids had to ask to get them down. That gave me the opportunity to remind them to put away the previous toys first--no mixing of legos and k'nex!

    I would also suggest that you limit your daughter's wardrobe for the next few years to make it easier to put things away. It's lots easier to put away clean clothes when the drawer isn't already stuffed full of socks.

    Congratulations on the improvement!

    Julie

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks Gloria, teacats and Julie.
    Together what we did was reassign some spaces. A trolley that previously contained shoes on the top shelf and art on the next 2 shelves is now for art only. A tub that had lots of Mc D toys, hair ties, scrap paper, ribbons, bratz shoes, a stray alien or two (you get the picture!) and other such clutter was emptied and much of it tossed out- the tub now holds just the shoes. I did bring a new tub in for her favourite soft toys. It just fits under the bed- which works well as she can't stuff anything under the bed as the tub is in the way. PLUS all those soft toys aren't scattered over her bed anymore. Only one special one. But she is happy as she can pull the tub out and play with the others then put them away back in the tub.

    What seems to help is building her sense of pride. She couldn't wait to show our neighbour's daughter her clean room. Grandma was also a great acknowledging her efforts when she showed the room off to her.

    I agree with the idea about clothes. I tend to keep hand me downs from her sister, and what I need to do is be extremely selective about what I keep and what is passed on to charity. That way she can have her own taste in clothes more too.

    I do like the idea of a loft bed. It would mean she could have a desk to do homework and art. I do dread the idea of changing she sheets as you mentioned Julie! : )

    Em

  • Julie_MI_Z5
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Em,

    If you go with the loft, remember to consider the lighting she'll need for a desk. A desk lamp will work, but you'll have to be VERY clear on how sheets and blankets from the bed above can never fall on the lamp. (I'm the paranoid mama--ask anybody!)

    We always labeled sizes on hand-me-down clothing boxes and stored them in the attic. We pulled them out in August (to check for school clothes) and May (to check for summer clothes). I also became very selective in what I kept, then very selective about what was later added to DS #2's wardrobe (a boy can only wear so many sweatshirts!).

    Julie

  • rockyn
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    As for making the bed, Lands End has sheets that have elastic on the base of the top sheet.

    We had one of these and it was indeed a pain to make up. One thing I would suggest is to keep enough room on either end for you to stand up and tuck things in.

    The mattress is also quite hard. My daughter soon asked for a better bed as it caused her to ache all over. It's probably ok for a skinny kid, but it seems we heavier folks require a better mattress. Just MHO.

    Way to go on tackling this so well. I wish I had had the ideas of doing it like you had.

  • kristenfl
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I loved reading your stories.

    I am the messy daughter of a neat mother. My mother was a teacher at the same elementary school that I went to. I was an excellent student and her teacher friends would tell my mother how wonderful I was. She would say thank you, but you should see her room! They didn't believe it. So one day, while I was sitting on the floor on top of a pile of clothes doing my homework and talking on the phone, she burst in the room and took a picture. I still have that picture today!

    Needless to say, the reason that I came here is that I still have organizational problems. I have a husband and son who are very neat, and my other son and I are the unorganized ones.

    I agree that children don't know where to begin. I am very ADD when it comes to a room like that and I want everything to be perfect. So I start on an area, and when I go and carry it to another, I start something new there. This goes on until I have little piles everywhere and it's time to go to bed or company is coming so I stash it the away and I'm back at square one. My young son is the same.

    The 15 minute ideas was great. I think that it's wonderful that you "helped" rather than just doing it (that's what my mom eventually did) and that you are teaching her how to do it. Want to come over to help me???

  • klimkm
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I bought my son a loft bed, while it is great for organization. I HATE changing the sheets, which I do frequently since he is a nighttime "puker". No putting a bucket next to the loft bed...

    Changing the sheets is a nightmare since I cannot get up there. Great for a computer area though. There are pros and cons...

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A friend and I had give some thoughts to loft beds, since our kid's rooms aren't overly large. We both still do nighttime routines with our kids of taking a few minutes to tuck them in and sit for some kisses and hugs. The loft bed would disrupt that, so we decided to just continue decluttering. I know as I got older, my bed was my favorite spot to read. I didn't have a bunk type bed until college and we took that apart pretty fast after finding out we couldn't lounge around and talk.

    Gloria

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Julie- you won't believe what the neighbour just gave DD- a big bag of CLOTHES! Some are very cute, but OMG! Thanks for the tip about lamps and fire risk. Especially important if I/she get slack and it degrades to a mess again. (So far, so good)
    rockyn- those sheets sound good- I could take that idea and stick some elastic on her current sheets to make the bottom fitted- I must admit I have always wondered why they weren't like that anyway! Luckily for DD she is actually underweight, but she will soon grow.
    kristen- loved your post. BTW it's not in your name, my other DD is a Kristyn and is neat as a pin! Bit far to commute from down under, but I find "flylady" is a great inspiration to me. Funny about your ADD comment- my DD is an absolute fidgeter, never sitting still. I think that plays as a factor in her ability to concentrate on tidying up. That's also why the 10-15 minute approach seems to suit her.
    klimkm- I know this sounds a bit 'ugly' but could you mount a hook on the wall and put a bucket there at night?
    Gloria- your comments about the lounging factor are important to us too. That cuddle time is so crucial, as is reading time.

    What about one of those lower beds with drawers under, then the place where the tall boy of drawers are could become a desk space? Sort of a compromise? We have some beds locally that sit about hip height and include a roll out desk- now that would have to make her pack it up, as it can't roll back in unless it's clear- that said, as she ages homework isn't always finished in one sitting...

    Em

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I obviously am avoiding going to bed. I had a captain's bed for one of my sons. Another of those "hate 'em or love 'em" things. Everytime I walked up to the bed, I kicked into the drawer section.

    How about bed risers, so that you could use deeper under the bed storage? Also, how important is it that she do homework at a desk in her room? We still do homework at the kitchen table and anyone having trouble concentrating goes into the living room. All of my kids have desks in their rooms. None of them like to go there alone and work. I'm about ready to get rid of the one in my dd's room since she's actually using it as a nightstand. Does anyone's kids really use a desk?

    Gloria

    Here is a link that might be useful: bed risers

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    we switched to bunk beds, and immeidately I missed being able to hug my DD at bedtime (she's on the top bunk); she was 10 and getting less "huggy," but I could get in bed and snuggle w/ her in the mornings when i woke her up, or hug her at bedtime.

    now it seems I never touch her, since when she's up and around, she doesn't really want to be hugged.

    and I find we launder the sheeets much less.

  • diggerb2
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ah, close the door. when she runs out of stuff-- tell you think its in her room. nothing new for her-she has enough.
    only wash what she sends to the laundry, don't let her wear dirty clothes out of the house. eventually it will work. in the meantime close the door. Out of sight, out of mind.

  • jannie
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My daughter is 18. she just graduated high school, decided to work full-time at a great job (in a day care center) rather than go to college. She's been working a lot all summer. She hasn't washed her clothes in weeks, there were knee-high piles of clothes in her room, both clean and dirty. She spilled some baby powder on top of one the piles. And her cat occasionally urinates on a pile, I guess to "mark" its territory. Her dad told her she must clean her room this weekend,but it never happened. He got so disgusted, he picked evrything off the floor and threw it down the stairs. It landed in a giant heap in a hallway. I left it there. Daughter came in tonight, looked at the mess and said "what's this?" I told her she has until Wednesday night to get rid of it all. Anything left in the hall will be in the garbage can for Thursday morning garbage pick-up. She went up to her room and was very quiet. I went in to see her, found her sitting on the floor with papers all around her. She decided, that, now that she can see her floor, she'll clean up. She's doing her desk first. Then I hope she'll take me seriously (for once) and go through all the clothes. I might even help her out by doing some laundry for her while she's at work. I think the shock of seeing her room clear of the clothes-clutter really helped. Sometimes you just need to get a jump-start. I am posting this because I feel a lot of love and a lot of hope for her. Miracles do happen.

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One of the skills needed in adulthood it making the time to take care of personal needs. Maybe you could help her purge the clothing so there won't be so much to get dirty. She obviously has too many clothes if she can go that long. If she lets everything get dirty, it's too overwhelming. I wouldn't do her laundry, though. She isn't working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, so she needs to make it a priority. We usually only change if life gets uncomfortable enough. I know it's tough to watch as a mom, but 18 is old enough to be doing this. Hugs to you.

    Gloria

  • Julie_MI_Z5
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Em--So how goes the clothes? I hope you took what your daughter needed from the neighbor pile and passed them on.

    Talley Sue--I have one non-huggy teen son. He developed an alternative to connect with each another. When we pass by each other, we touch fists. Strange but true. It's our "special" thing.

    Jannie--See if you can get your daughter to adopt some of the Flylady principals. I really like the routines that can keep housecleaning (or bedroom cleaning) from becoming a major ordeal.

  • mike_kaiser_gw
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Please dont take this the wrong way but I certainly hope that you didnÂt tell your daughter that she is the laziest person in the universe. Describing her behavior in such a fashion or threatening to give all her belongings away isnÂt going to accomplish anything beyond a bit of temporary satisfaction for your ego. When you use words like "lazy" you are describing the person not the behavior and you have to separate the two if you want to accomplish your goal of helping your daughter to keep her room clean.

    Whether 8 or 80 every person wants to feel good about themselves. There are essentially four kinds of feedback:

    · Positive  "Thanks for cleaning your room"
    · Negative  "Your room is a mess, I donÂt know why youÂre such a slob"
    · Corrective  "IÂm glad to see you put away your toys, now can you make your bed?"
    · None  [silence]

    Of the four, no feedback is the absolutely worst thing you can do. Your daughter has no idea where she stands. Her position is left to her imagination and if youÂve employed negative feedback in the past, sheÂll likely interpret your lack of feedback as being negative, even if it isnÂt. Negative feedback isnÂt much better. Try to use corrective feedback where you include something positive in the feedback.

    These will sound like clichés but "emphasis the positives, downplay the negatives" and "praise in public, correct in private". Find positive things in her behavior and praise them, in public. That doesnÂt mean you have to take a out a full page ad in the newspaper or throw a party but a simple "thank you" in front of siblings or father can go a long way towards reinforcing positive behavior.

    This might sound a little crazy but you need to have a meeting with your daughter where you can discuss the problem (not her) and come up with a solution that works for the both of you. As a parent you have the absolute right to establish reasonable expectations for your daughterÂs behavior. Asking her to keep her room neat isnÂt unreasonable but she also needs to understand why you consider it important.

    Try to have the meeting in as non-confrontational a way as you can manage and have it in a positive setting. Maybe you take her out for lunch or just the two of you talk over an afternoon snack. Calmly and non-judgmentally explain your concerns and why they are important to you. Make sure she understands by asking open-ended questions that canÂt be answered by a simple yes or no. Instead of asking, "Do you understand why itÂs important to Mommy for you to keep your room clean?" ask "Can you explain why Mommy thinks itÂs important to keep your room clean?"

    Then ask her for ways that she can help to keep her room clean. At that point itÂs best to keep quiet and let your daughter do the talking. Silence can be a very effective tool in these kinds of discussions. Once you get hear some of her ideas, offer some of your own. The idea is to come to an agreement on a course of action but she needs to "buy into" the plan. Once youÂve developed a plan, summarize the discussion and course of action and thank her for helping.

    Now itÂs up to you to keep her on track. Again, keep things positive. Maybe the plan includes her cleaning for 15 minutes each day. For the first week you may need to help her for 14 of those 15 minutes. The following week, maybe 12 or 13 minutes. Or maybe the plan includes cleaning up before transitioning to the next activity. For some period of time you may need to remind her that the paints need to be cleaned up before she starts playing with Barbie. Help her to do that, keeping things positive. DonÂt forget to praise in public and correct in private.

    Remember you trying to change a behavior that didnÂt develop overnight and wonÂt be fixed overnight. Your daughter isnÂt lazy but rather has developed some bad habits. ItÂs your job as a parent to help her develop good habits.

    Remember too, that you need to lead by example. If you room is a mess, you canÂt reasonably expect for her room to be clean.

    Good luck!

    Mike

  • postum
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mike - I want to thank you for your thoughtful post. My particular mess-making dd is 7. It is hard to remember to be thankful that she put all the dress-up clothes away when she has immediately replaced them with a pile of books and toys, but I need to remember to do this. And, I think it would be helpful for us to have a discussion along the lines you sugggested (me doing most of the listening.)

    I do think 15 minutes is a long time for a little girl - in another post someone said they took a jumprope and made a circle, and asked that everything in that circle be put away. I thought that was a clever idea. Ideally, she should get into the habit of putting things away after they're used, then it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to tidy what's left. The trick is getting her into the habit.

    I can relate to Em's frustration, and I don't think it necessarily translates into being harsh and negative. I get fed up when I have cleared the dining room table and 30 minutes later in looks as if an entire kindergarten class has been having their way with it, but I don't yell about it.

    Em - I don't think you mentioned if your dd is an only child? Mine is, and I think this contributes to the problem. Instead of having 2,3,4 children who all understand they are the kids and have to follow the rules, I have one kid who doesn't understand why her behavior has to be controlled. She pretty much considers herself an autonomous being, and when I ask her to do something she wonders why I don't boss Daddy around that way (or why she can't tell me to go pick up all the toys.) It was the same thing with getting her on a regular night-time schedule - when you have a crew of kids is pretty clear that it's bath-brush-story-lights out, but with just one soldier it's a little harder to be the Commander in Chief.

    I don't consider her spoiled (we're quite firm about most things) but there is a different kind of relationship between onlies and their parents.

    It doesn't help that she is not only OUR only child, but the only child in a family of 16 aunts and uncles. You can just imagine the birthdays and Christmases!

    Any others with only children who have these issues?

  • susanjn
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    postum,

    Just make sure she has to write thank you notes for all those gifts! That tends to deflate a sense of entitlement.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It doesn't help that she is not only OUR only child, but the only child in a family of 16 aunts and uncles. You can just imagine the birthdays and Christmases!

    boy, *I* have that issue!

  • Maura63
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Did not read this whole thread. (Will when I have more time.)

    I have daughter (older) and a son (younger).

    I frequently tell my daughter she has "OCS" - Only Child Syndrome - because at times, her attitude is similar to one postum describes. She needs to be picked up at a certain time: "Did you forget you have a brother who may also need something at that particular time?" The logistics always somehow work out, but her automatically assuming her needs come first is something she needs to work on. It's not even that she believes this to be true. She simply forgets there are others to consider.

    Also, sometimes when she is getting something for herself (usually in the kitchen) and her brother is having the same thing, she will get only ONE of what both of them want/need. Either a glass...or a bowl...or utensils. Again, she just doesn't think. OCS.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My BIL had that "I'm the only one in the equation" problem--he's the youngest by 7 years or so, and his big brother (my DH) was pretty self-sufficient. And his mom is a big enabler.

    He wanted DH to drive him back to college (he refused to get a driver's license). I told him, bcs DH & I had jointly decided it, "you need to leave now, at 5pm, because by 8, it's going to be a really storm night."

    Oh, he says--it's only a 2.5- to 3-hour drive.

    "yes," I say, "and my husband will be driving HOME on the area's twistiest, least-well-lit, and narrowest highway during the peak of the storm!"

    Once he was there, the trip was over, in his mind.

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The 'good news' part of the story. DD has kept her room tidy. Each afternoon she comes home, gets changed then cleans her room. I usually give a prompt- eg 'I know you'll check under the bed too' and now she has a habit of a quick cleanup the room is staying tidy. I am so proud of her.

    Mike, thanks for that interesting post. I will ASSURE you I am very careful about labels I say to and infront of DD, and am mindful of not letting my own feelings shadow the big picture of getting her to learn the skills she needs. The 'laziest daughter in the universe' is my own feeling rather than a label I attriubute to her directly. I have been trying to build the positives when she packs up with phrases that motivate her instrinsically- reflecting on her ownership of the space- "How does it look to you?" "What do you like best about having a tidy room?"
    Some external acknowledgement has also proved motivational for her- grandma visiting and seeing the clean room etc.
    I also think that you are right, it is a habit and it can be changed. Lazy daughter is linked directly to me being a busy working mother, and I have had to make her habit building a #1 priority.

    postum- She is the last of 3, with a 4 year gap between her and the middle child. So she is in some ways like an only child and likes to be 'the littlest' and try and get away with things when she can.

    talley_sue- I spoke to DD about the 'hug' factor of a taller bed and she suddenly started rethinking the splendor of the whole idea. That was a great reflection on a negative aspect of that type of bed, thanks.

    maura- LOL! OCS! What a riot! That describes my DD13... but that's a WHOLE NEW POST! Nothing to do with organisation in the home, maybe suited to a forum on 'self centred teenage madams'? Her motto for life "It's all about ME". The getting of a glass etc concept- exactly the same. BUT let me add, DD13 would be equally mortified if either sibling DARE to omit getting her a plate or glass! (How terribly selfish of them!) LOL

    Em

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Em, just view it like table manners. You prompt for something like 15 years. How many years do we say, "Keep your hands off the walls." My kids are really good with this, but the prompts are still part of the process. One nice thing from a parenting view is now you are getting positive results from those prompts. Much less stressful.

    I've been watching the "only" or entitlement posts. Interesting. I had an only for 10 years and can't say that he ever had those behaviors. Maybe we just see it more in the personality of the only since there isn't as much to distract up like when there are siblings? It sure isn't a pretty personality trait in an adult, as demonstrated in Talley's BIL. I think we all know someone like that. I just can't figure out how they survive without the world kicking them in the behind, big time. They must get positive reinforcement for their behavior somewhere.

    Gloria

  • mike_kaiser_gw
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Koala,

    Please take this in the spirit its intended, when you "think" or "feel" your daughter is "laziest daughter in the universe" its very easy for those feelings to come across to her. You may not be consciously saying those things but your tone, choice of words, sentence structure, etc. may portray that feeling to her.

    Its extremely important to remember that she had a bad habit; shes not a bad person. You job as a parent is to instill good habits. The best way to do that is through positive feedback. It sounds like youre on the right track, keep going! Giving her some "ownership" of her room is a great idea too!

    Im not a working Mom but I can (or at least try to) appreciate the challenges you face. Its not easy after a long day at work to come home and just be a Mom. Unfortunately its something you have to do. I dont want to sound like Im offering too much solicited advise but you might want to consider some kind of "transitional" period on the way home from work. Maybe you stop at a park and spend a few minutes using some self-relaxation techniques that would allow you to help reduce the stress of the workday and transition from working-mom to mom-mom.

    Mike

  • patty_cakes
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sounds like a case of 'over-consumerism' on *your* part~STOP. Stop buying clothes, toys, books, crayons, games, dolls/clothes, puzzles~she needs to learn to A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-E, that's appreciate.

    My children are adults, and I remember buying them one special thing per MONTH. These days if a kid doesn't get something new every week they'll almost accuse you of child abuse.

    Tell her things are going to change, and she'll be able to choose ONE item per month, but DO have a price limit~Christmas only comes once a year.

    Give her time instead of things. Love cannot be bought with a pair of designer jeans on an ipod. And don't feel guilty. Remember, you're raising this child to live in a world where she can't always have everything she wants. ;o)

    patty_cakes

  • jannie
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi, I had posted about the 18-year old Laziest daughter who hadn't washed clothes in two months. She finally cleaned her room. I helped by washing all the clothes she had on the floor. Five loads over three days. But she did all the rest, organoiized her desk and closet and shelves. She put all her clean clothes away. In the process, out went six bags of garbage, a lot of clothing donated to charity, and a big box of stuff went over to boyfriend. Not sure what she threw and gave away, but at least her room is neat and liveable. And we can see her carpet again!

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jannie
    That moment when you finally see the carpet... what a good feeling.
    Good on you helping her tackle the bedroom beast!

    Em

  • jim4safety
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have one daughter and 3 stepsons - all ages 8 to 10. We usually have 1 to 10 neighbor kids over a few days every week as well. I have a two story house plus a finished basement. The kids get the basement as their play area. The main level is the adults refuge. Rule - No toys are allowed on the main level at the end of each night. Any toys left on the main level will be put into a take-away box. The kid has to work them off if he wants it back. If they don't want to work for the toy, then it goes to Goodwill or in the trash after two weeks. Work is things like taking a wet rag and cleaning the hardwood floor or walls, raking the yard (nothing easy, but something they can do).

    When the floor is piled full of toys, it is impossible to vacuum. Once each week they have to pick everything off the floor (downstairs and their bedroom) so I can vacumm. I found picking up the toys and clothes was much more work than vacuuming so I tended to let the vacuuming go before. Now, I'll tell them the day before and remind them again before I get ready to vacuum. It is their responsibility to pick everything off the floor. If it is left on the floor, it is immediately put in the Goodwill pile or put in the trash. I have found that this helps keep the amount of toys in check so they can keep them up and really sends a quick message that they have to take responsibility for taking care of their things. It has also taught them the value of work (hands seem to stay off walls better when they know they will be cleaning them later.

    It is harder to teach them how to complete their task well than it would be to do it myself, but I know it will be much better in the long run. If they have a few things in the take-away box and the work has been good with minimal complaints, I might reward them with more than what they worked off and compliment them on a job well done. I do believe in providing positive rewards too! and bragging on them when they go above and beyond.

    One other thing. I keep a large plastic container in each room so they have a place to put toys off the floor. They are allowed to keep the amount of toys that will fit in the container in their room. All other toys have to be kept in the basement where I have more storage options and room.

    While my method may seem harsh, it works... and my wife and I have don't yell at them to get them to do something. We tell them what needs done, give them time to do it and then take action as necessary. If you say you will throw it away if they don't clean it up, you should mean it. I sent a stereo to Goodwill last weekend.

    We also have one additional way to get things done in a timely manner. Almost all kids, when given the choice would like to stay up later than they should. Each child has a bedtime, but if they act out, break a rule, or won't do somthing, they are given a strike and each strike requires them to go to bed 15 minutes early. It is not uncommon for a child to lose a hour of more if they keep acting out. If sent to bed, it's either lights out or they may read a book. This has been a great technique to stop temper tandrums (maybe not the first one or two, but eventually they get the message). We have one boy that is a worker and three that are on the lazy side, but I've found they are ALL capable of doing a good job.

    I do need to spend more time with them on organizing things in their room as mentioned in previous posts. When left on their own, they will just pile it on top of things in the room (but its off the floor).

    I watch all those HGTV shows where they neatly organize things into bins and cabinets, but you have to get the kids to use the storage areas and keep the amount of toys in check so everything will fit easily(note-kids will need twice the amount of storage an adult does because they don't pack stuff nice and neat). They tend to do things the quick and easy way (some things never change).

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jim, we have frequent neighborhood kids in the house, also. One thing I've done, and it really helps, is to set a timer for 5 min. before leave time. Everyone has to pick up before they leave. That way everyone who played with the stuff takes some responsibility and my kids don't end up with a big mess at the end of the day.

    Same with cups and plates. I don't mind if the kids eat or drink in the living room, but everyone is expected to take their dishes or trash and put it where it belongs. I figure the neighborhood kids will be around for a long time, so I might as well put a little effort in right now. They get the idea quickly and I've never had anyone balk.

    Gloria

  • lynzee
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm new to the boards here but in reading this thread, it feels to me that "Karen" and "Gloria" both have the right idea. I can clearly remember when my own daughter was, well scary messy and I did the whole bit of making a game out of straightening up and the side by side cleaning and by the time she was oh 10ish her room was neat as could be but THEN the teen years arrived and it was deja vu for me and I can remember actually stressing about how she would manage when out on her own or if she'd end up living in a sty---my worries were needless. My daughter now keeps a spotless home and is a super organizer who is also teaching her children but at times she has to complain to me about how messey they can be (LOL like finding the toys that were put away.....UNDER the bed)....I guess my point is that if you take the time to teach her and work beside her she will indeed learn the skills she needs and remember that rewards and positive reinforcement work A LOT better than critisism or negative feedback!! She has a lot of time to learn, at only 8 let her learn one skill at a time, let her master that skill so she doesn't get to feeling swamped and overloaded too, those feelings will only serve to discourage a child and do your very best to NOT go behind her and redo what you think isn't perfect or she's liable to develop a "whats the use" philosophy.
    Best to you both!!
    lynzee

  • marie26
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My 4-year-old gdd insists that someone help her clean her room. I remember one time when I was helping her and turned around and she was sitting on the bed watching me on the floor picking up stuff (LOL) Now, though, she will help to clean up the room. How do you ease them into getting them to do it on their own? If it's an age thing, what age will she need to be?

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think at 4 they can be told, "please pick up all the Barbie stuff" and you can walk away.

    I think you teach them the most helpful strategy (break it down), and then you can walk away for short whiles and check on them.

    Then you try making it a bigger "chunk" and try it out.

    Also, as you watch them, you see how much they can handle, and you aim just one step higher.

  • marie26
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Talley Sue, that's what I also thought but I seemed to get a consensus that it's best to help the child from some of the posts. That's why I asked this question.

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    marie, when one of mine do this I say, "Hey, Your Highness!" My youngest will still do this occasionally and he's six.

    My youngest kids were 1, 3 and 6 when I started with Flylady. We played beat the clock. I set the timer for just a few minutes and we worked together to see how fast we could go. The most important factor was that we did that daily, so their rooms or stuff in the living never got out of control. One afternoon's mess is so much easier to tackle than a week's worth.

    I think at 4 they can't always see what needs to go where. Like Talley said, give her some directives. I would tell mine to grab all of the cars while I gathered the Legos. It gave him focus. It seemed like if I left, he would start playing rather than put them away. I really don't remember when it changed, but now at six he will put things away in his room without any specific direction on what to do.

    I do notice that he will still get overwhelmed if he hauls too much into the living room and has to make several trips to put it away. If I'm paying attention, I'll get him to put things back before he pulls out more, but I'm not monitoring every minute, nor do I want to. I think as long as you are comfortable helping her, there won't be any specific time or age that will change. It's really more dependent on the child.

    You could try and make it a competition. See who can clean up their designated toys first. She picks up the dolls and you put the books and crayons away Who can find the most clothing that needs to go in the hamper. I've just found mine are always up for a race or game. It goes quicker and we smile more.

    Gloria

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    re: the "too many trips from the living room"--I've tried to teach my kids that when they've got a lot of things, they shoud get a laundry basket so they only have to WALK once.

    Or, w/ your DGD, I'd "help" by ,keeping her company, and pointing out what next to tacklew.

    Or, I'll load 12 things into a box, and say, "put these away, then do it again when she's done. (I call that "do a dozen.")

  • koala_em
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The room is still looking pretty good. When I notice a few stray items gathering I jump on it early to save it building.

    Still reassessing furniture and storage- but am sidestracked with bathroom and kitchen reno.

    Em