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Should You Force Your Toddler to Clean Her Room?

Posted by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:55 PM
  • 21 Replies

From the Daily Buzz.....


May 6, 2009 at 5:13 PM by Cafe Cynthia

 

teaching toddlers to clean up

Photo by my2luvbugs

My 4 year old daughter and I have this ongoing power struggle over her messy room. You see, my husband and I have designated every Friday night as "Clean Up Night," where we try to tackle a majority of the chores so we can all enjoy our weekend.

We're big on the kids pitching in, so their job is to pick up all their toys and tidy their rooms, among other little tasks.

And every Friday the same fight with my daughter ensues -- "Mommy, I'm too tired." "Mommy, I can't pick up my stuffed animals because my hands hurt." "Mommy I'll do it later, I promise!"

Another example of how my daughter is just so different from me. She loves princesses, I don't. She prefers clothes that are pink and frilly; I'm the queen of neutral and understated. She wants to have a tea party, I'd much rather go out and throw a baseball around.

I'm a clean freak, she's the messiest most disorganized human on the face of the earth.

I'm not joking. Getting that girl to put a stuffed animal back into a basket is like asking her to give up the last cupcake on earth. She also likes to sleep with a rotating assortment of "stuff," which means the flashlight, jewelry box, stuffed kitty, ice pack, rock, and green plastic leaf from an old Dora toy will eventually find their way under the bed, all waiting to greet me on Friday night.

I know what you're going to say ... that I'm the parent and she's the slave child and I should just make her do it. I agree! So every Friday when she refuses to help clean her room, she gets a big consequence. Last weekend it was no treats the entire weekend.

The weekend before that she couldn't play with her neighbor friend. And the week before that it was something else that I was sure would have done the trick. I'll keep working through my list of punishments, but apparently, this is something she feels very strongly about. Seems no amount of sugar withdrawal, time-outs, or fun is going to buy her surrender.

I'm jealous of Nataly Kogan of Work It Mom, whose own 4 year old daughter makes horrible messes, but always cleans up her room before bed. She definitely inherited her mother's clean freak gene, but I guess that piece of DNA skipped a generation in my family.

Nataly blogged recently about new research that found adolescents express themselves by making a mess in their room and how it's common for most to become more organized and neat as they get older.

Unless the mess is creating other significant issues — say, issues around personal hygene or not being able to get things done — the article authors suggest that parents should just let the kids do as they like and keep the mess.

What do you think of that study -- is there any logic to it? Do you let your toddlers keep a messy room, or do you make them clean it up?

 





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by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:55 PM
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Replies (1-10):
kristyann
by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:58 PM

Yes I make my almost four year old son pick up all his toys ever night before bed time. If you do it everyday then there won't be as much to clean up, instead of doing it once a week. I do occasionally help if we are in a hurry. I do all the "cleaning" but he is certainly responsible for picking up any toys he gets out.

nikkiJ86
by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:58 PM

I definitely make my kids (will be 4 and 2 in 2 months) clean their room.

drinkme8184
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Kids need to learn to clean their messes.  If my daughter refuses to clean, I send her to bed without stories, and just the threat usually makes her help me.

If today is a typical day on planet earth, humans will add fifteen million tons of carbon to the atmosphere, destroy 115 square mils of tropical rainforest, create seventy-two square miles of desert, eliminate between forty to one hundred species, erode seventy-one million tons of topsoil, add twenty-seven hundred tons of CFCs to the stratosphere, and increase their population by 263,000.

tyfry7496
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:01 PM

A 4 yr old needs to be taught and shown  how to clean their room not forced.  A 4yr old needs someone in there helping them until they know what needs to be done. They should be helping or cleaning as much as they are capable of. 

drinkme8184
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:01 PM


Quoting kristyann:

Yes I make my almost four year old son pick up all his toys ever night before bed time. If you do it everyday then there won't be as much to clean up, instead of doing it once a week. I do occasionally help if we are in a hurry. I do all the "cleaning" but he is certainly responsible for picking up any toys he gets out.


Yes, this too, clean every day instead of once a week and it might not be so overwellming.

If today is a typical day on planet earth, humans will add fifteen million tons of carbon to the atmosphere, destroy 115 square mils of tropical rainforest, create seventy-two square miles of desert, eliminate between forty to one hundred species, erode seventy-one million tons of topsoil, add twenty-seven hundred tons of CFCs to the stratosphere, and increase their population by 263,000.

3armycuties
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:05 PM

I make my 2, 3 and 5 year old clean their rooms atleast once a week. If it's really bad then they'll do it before the weeks up. I think it's better to start them now on chores then "Hope" they pick up when they get older. 

sk_tennyson
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:29 PM

Alex will help clean up but then he likes to dump everything back out. I guess the sound of crashing toys is just as satistfying as the rrrrriiiiiip if a diaper tab.

Tj_N_Sky
by on May. 9, 2009 at 1:17 AM

the earlier you teach them the earlier they learn....i was a daycare teacher for 2 years an my kids were between 2 and 3 and everyday i would turn off our class room lights and help them clean up....as long as you make the child feel like they are a big girl or boy they will like doing whatever and they will grow up wantin to do it becuz they know that thats what a big kid would do......just make sure to sit on the floor with them (get on there level) and help them clean also

tsjpop
by on May. 9, 2009 at 1:20 AM


Quoting kristyann:

Yes I make my almost four year old son pick up all his toys ever night before bed time. If you do it everyday then there won't be as much to clean up, instead of doing it once a week. I do occasionally help if we are in a hurry. I do all the "cleaning" but he is certainly responsible for picking up any toys he gets out.


Yes, I totally agree. I have a 2 and 3 year old, and every night, we pick up toys. I direct the picking up like a traffic cop, and eventually they learn where everything belongs, and now after a few months of it, its always clean, (  I do the cleaning, dusting, vaccuming) and they keep them straightened up every night. The love "cleanup, cleanup, every body everywhere, cleanup, cleanup, every body do your share game"

mykidsaremyall
by on May. 9, 2009 at 1:21 AM

i dont force my toddlers to do anything. i ask them, and that usually works. my kids are pretty damn good come to think of it. dont have any problems sleeping, first naps are a breeze, second naps are rare but i know that coming into the day. my oldest is a bit of a picky eater, but he is getting tons better. i keep a clean house and say please and thank you and the kids (2 and almost 4) have followed my foot steps. lead by example works. i do help them clean up, i might help get the buckets out and put a few toys in to start or put things on higher shelves if needed, but both kids participate in cleaning without problem.

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