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Is it really too much of me to ask my 5 and 4 year old to clean their room within an hour?

Am I asking too much? I don't think i am. I've seen them clean their room in less then an hour when they really wanted to.

2 weeks ago they had an hour to clean their room, and each time they were caught playing instead of cleaning they were put in time out. At the end of the hour if the room was not clean they lost a beloved toy or group of toys (like all their hot wheels). ...By the end of the day half their stuff was gone! including their whole toy box.

So today, i tell them it's chore day. They have an hour to clean their room and i mean business. If they don't clean their room in the hour they will loose the rest of their toys. If they DO clean their room then they get their toy box back.

An hour later their room is still not clean. So now the only thing left in their room (besides furniture and clothes) is their books and some puzzles (which they rarely play with).

This has been an ongoing issue for a while.


Asked by Anonymous at 1:52 PM on Jan. 16, 2010 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I face the same issue. Is their room really messy? Sometimes it's just overwhelming to be facing a big mess and have no idea of where to start. I'll give the boys a certain task like "pick up your books and put them away" Then when that's done I'll have them move on to cars or guys or whatever. They are capable of doing the work, it's just breaking it down into smaller steps that they need help with. I also go in with them a couple times a year and we really clean and organise everything, getting rid of broken toys, donating ones they no longer play with. That's when we may move the furniture around if they want too. But yeah, my boys have spent an entire afternoon "cleaning" their room with nothing to show for it until the final warning, and then it's amazing what can get done in a short amount of time.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 3:36 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • I give mine an hour but have to constantly go in and keep them going.

    I started to go in individually and do one room at a time to keep their focus.

    Answer by hypermamaz at 1:54 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • I used to have this problem with my girls ...then I created the clean up song and helped them get used to cleaning.

    You can use any words you want to ... make up your own tune ... and just do it. If you make it FUN and sing & help them,then they will want to do it.

    I used to start singing and for every toy or piece of clothing they picked up, I picked one up .. then said, "okay, your turn" ...
    My song basically was
    Clean up, clean up, every body clean up .. pick up your clothes, pick up your toys, everybody clean up.

    The song thing also worked with teaching my girls their address and phone number, alphabet, etc.

    Now my girls use this same method on their kids !

    Answer by MaryJacobs at 1:57 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • I will not help them clean their room. I do go in and check on them all the time. But they are not toddlers any more. My 5 year old is in K. They don't help me clean my room and i will not help them clean theirs.
    They know a clean up song. And they will sing it when they are cleaning and i'll sing with them too.
    They used to do a great job cleaning their room all by themselves. But for the last few months it's been a big issue and i'm at my wits end.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:02 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Obviously it is too much to ask. If it is an ongoing issue then you are doing something wrong. Punishment is not working, it usually doesn't. Taking away favorite toys is a good way to get your kids to resent you.

    How horrible that they should play with their toys! They got distracted while cleaning their room. It's common for people to get distracted while cleaning or organizing.

    They may need help cleaning their room. You could clean their room with them and make it be fun rather than a "chore." Who wants to do "chore day." Make sure there are good places for them to put toys like bins and shelves. Move toys they aren't playing with right now out of the room. Simplify everything possible. Put one thing away before getting another out.

    It may be better to clean every day than once a week. Thats what we did. It would take 10 minutes working together. Race to see how fast you can get it done. The fun mom!

    Answer by Gailll at 2:03 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • There is no reason kids can't help clean other rooms. My kids always helped clean any room including mine. It's a family! It's easier when people work together. Cooperation.

    If you want your sons to grow up and do things around the house you need to teach them these kinds of values. If you teach them taking care of their stuff is a chore and if they don't do it the way a woman wants they will loose their favorite stuff they aren't going to grow up having a good attitude towards women or family life. Women won't want to do it either but may do it because there is no one else to do it.

    If your want your children to grow up and cooperate and enjoy family life you need to teach them. Don't be mean and take their favorite things away.

    Answer by Gailll at 2:11 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • I never said they didn't help clean other rooms. They help the kitchen and bathrooms but they don't help me clean MY room. MY room is MY space. THEIR room is THEIR space.

    I do not have them race because i try to get them to work TOGETHER. not against. they are already competitive enough without my encouragement and that is not motivation for my younger son at all because he almost always looses.

    I had my children in PCIT counseling and the therapist there said that taking away toys is just fine. Losing privileges is a discipline not a punishment. I am their parent. If i always worried about if they would resent me for a discipline then they would never get disciplined.

    I have PLENTY of fun with my children. Thanks. We ride bikes together. Have Game Night (which is the opposite of chore night) and i LOVE to play on the playgrounds with them.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:44 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • When they have showed me multiple times that they can clean their room there should be no reason why i should all of a sudden start helping them. That's going backwards, not forwards. And i never said they couldn't play while cleaning their room. If they want to drive their cars into the bin GREAT. If they fly their airplanes and crash them into the toy box then fantastic. But when they are pulling toys OUT of the toy box or hoarding toys in other parts of the room and laughing and giggling despite my constant check ups then obviously they aren't doing as they are told.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:46 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • There room wasn't really that messy this time because half their toys had already been taken away. ...and although i did give specific commands such as "pick up the books and put them away" (which really did happen to be one that i said this time. lol) the overall command was to clean up the whole room.
    I like your approach. One thing at a time. Break it down. Usually i just say those things to guide them in the right direction. But i will definitely give that a try next time. Thank you.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:41 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • i have this issue with my 4 and 6 yr old boys. i have been saying for months now that i need to make them clean daily, then it won't seem so intimidating. they actually have all their toys in the basement, and not in their the basement is easy to ignore.

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 8:44 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

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