19 thoughts on “Getting Your Kid to Pick Up

  1. I don’t have kids, but with babysitting, I set aside 5 minutes before the activity that they’re looking forward to: movie, dessert, storytime, whatever it is that they’ve been asking about since I walked in the door. I don’t make a big deal about it – “ok, quick put all the books on the shelf while I rewind the video.”

    When I taught Sunday school, I made it a competition: in the 5 minutes before class ends, you can’t leave until you’ve handed me 15 pieces of trash and wiped down your desk. Then they could go play tag in the auditorium.

  2. Have you tried the clean up song?

    Clean up,
    Clean up,
    Everybody everywhere
    Clean up,
    Clean up,
    everybody does their share!

    What about making it a competition?

    What about setting a timer for 60 seconds?

    Just a few ideas.. 🙂

  3. We don’t go to bed until everything is picked up. I tell them I’ll help them. Then, I help them. One at a time. If they don’t work with me, then I don’t help, and they can’t go up to bed. The thought of that, being up alone at night with no help, has always been enough to get them going.

  4. I have three teens Daphne (how the heck did THAT happen?!) and my basic philosophy is (which,btw, is way different from my husband’s,but that’s a different story!) that I pick my battles… and clean bedrooms ain’t one of ’em.

    Every now and then I’ll have a meltdown and they have to clean up (after which,it NEVER fails,they love having a nice looking room again). Usually I let the normal progression of ‘ natural consequences’ work their magic….. “if I don’t pick up my laundry and put it in the hamper to be washed, no one will do it for me,and I will have only dirty clothes to wear”.

    I think it’s REALLY important for Moms not to rush in and do all the household chores while saying “if I don’t do it, NO one will ” Kids,being kids,WILL take advantage of that. And,in the long run,it teaches them nothing at all useful.

    I think there is a lot to be said,too,for making children (even Vivian’s age), responsible for doing something of value to the running of the house…like pairing and lining up shoes at the entryway, or offloading the cutlery from the d/w, yada yada yada. It communicates that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the family home running smoothly, not just Mom’s 🙂

  5. I think that we are kind of strict parents, but my husband and I have our little girl pick up every time she makes a mess. She has to help us atleast. She has started to pick up a little bit on her own and she is only 2.

  6. In my OCD state of mind my entire house is in buckets, baskets, or something similar. So my nearly 3 year old daughter can not “dump” another basket or bucket until the first one is picked up. I have to remind her, but it works pretty great for me. Also, before we eat and before she sleeps it’s pick up time around the house.

    So I guess, consistent rules and pick up times seems to be pretty successful for me.

  7. although I do require that the kids keep their toys either in the playroom in the basement or their rooms, it never fails that the toys seem to migrate to the kitchen, living room, foyer, den etc. My method, which may seem harsh to some, is when I am ready to vacuum or sweep the floor I make an announcement to the kids. If they don’t get the toys off the floor then when I come upon them with the vacuum or broom then they get thrown away. I have never seen children move faster than if they have the threat of loosing their toys for good. It works but you have to be willing to go through with the treat to make the point.

  8. Well.. she’s 3 1/2, so I’d cut her a little slack. But honestly… got one word for you. MONTESSORI. Ah… they taught my kids so so well in preSchool. I dunno if it’ll last into the teen years, but so far… 11 and 12 years and they always put away their dishes, and their games, and keep their rooms pretty unbelievably neat. So I’ll just say it again… MONTESSORI. 🙂

  9. My kids are soon to be all on summer holidays and my goal this summer is NOT to entertain them and make sure their holiday is all fun and games. NO!

    This summer is the summer I teach them to pick up after themselves and help keep the house clean! My kids are son 16, and twin daughters 11. I am SO sick of picking up after them it is not funny. Do they NOT get IT?!

    Well this summer they will. And not only will they pick up after themselves but they will HELP KEEP THE HOUSE CLEAN! If it kills me!

    Tired of being the maid and time they all learned to look after their own messes darn it! And then we will have some summer fun…

    Never too early. Rather kicking myself for not making daily chores more of a ritual earlier. I mean come on, making sure they do well in school is all fine and dandy but can they CLEAN UP AFTER themselves at HOME?! Equally important dammit!!

    My kids are known to be ultra responsible at school. At home?? Yeah. Going to work on THAT this summer…

  10. At 4 and 7 they are pretty good about minding their things. This is partially due to MONTESSORI and also because they know stuff will be thrown out (or hidden away) if it is left out. Older one is pretty good about everything having a place. Younger one still getting the hang of it.

    Start NOW. But make it fun. They do love their chore charts, nothing motivates pick up like a sticker chart with a dinky prize once the row is completed. This summer we are going to small allowance for chores as they both now value quarters.

  11. When my son was as young as two our rule was you could not get the next thing out until you put what you are playing with back in it’s place. That worked for a long time. Then year around sports came into play….. Now the rule is he picks the clothes up off the floor weekly so they can be washed. When I want his room and bathroom clean I tell him I want it done by x day. This way they are in control of when they want to clean it. As long as he has it done by the dead line we are good to go. I agree with the pick your battles. As your kids grow up all the rules from sleeping time on shift and change as they do. I feel it is much more important to teach my 17 yo to balance his check book and pay his truck payment. Of course we transfer the funds to his checknig account for the payment but he has learned how to write checks and mail to the vendor. I don’t think thee is any right way of doing anything in a family. It is whatever works best for your family.

    Sorry this was so long. Great topic!

  12. all good tips. I have lots of bins as well to have controlled chaos.
    I hear you about the older kids. That would bug. and sometimes you do just want to pick your battles. You don’t want to go Joan Crawford on them…or maybe you do.

    BTW I’ve been having LOTS of technical snafu’s this week, so sorry I haven’t changed the video’s more or the text blogs or late getting up. I don’t know if it’s all those Iranian twitters, or what, but stuff is not firing for me so well in web world right now.

  13. Growing up, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have chores and didn’t have to pick stuff up. The only time me or my siblings didn’t have to do something was when we were too short or too weak to do it. I remember WANTING to do the dishes but being too short. Those were the days.

    We all had assigned rooms. We had a major cleaning day once a week, but if on any other day one of our parents decided it was getting too dirty we’d have to listen to them and tidy it up. I’m not sure why, but this system isn’t something I really ever questioned or tested. I think I probably just learned from the examples set by my older siblings. They probably tried to slack off but had to deal with the punishments so became more diligent as a result, whereas it didn’t occur to me to slack off if they weren’t.

    We were pretty much allowed to keep our bedrooms however we wanted. Maybe once a year our mom would force us to clean them well, but overall the common rooms were the ones that were important to keep clean.

    I don’t have kids and probably won’t for a long time (I’m only nineteen, haha), but I think I’ll probably approach cleaning with my future kids the way my parents did. Home for the summer from college, and I’m back to having to clean the downstairs bathroom, the dinning room, and the living room every Thursday.

  14. Just wanted to add to this even though I’m a bit late on commenting.
    I’m the middle child of 3. I have an older brother and a younger sister. Our mother basically did everything for us. All the cooking, the cleaning and tidying etc.
    Obviously that’s not the ideal situation for any parent, and I sure as heck won’t be taking all of that on when I’m a parent. But while my sister and I are both perfectly capable of cooking, cleaning, tidying our houses now (and always were of course!) my brother who is 30 is a disaster.

    He doesn’t clean or cook proper meals (and I’m sure he could if he tried), and my mother still does a lot for him, even at this age. AND this is while he has a fiancee and 2 young children. It’s pathetic really.

    So I think the point I’m making is make your kids learn self-sufficiency. Even if it kills you!!!
    Better that than still picking up after your grown kids when you’re nearly 60!!!

  15. With my 3 boys it’s easy, you give them little flashlights and tell them it’s a search and rescue for all the toys to go safely in their bins and/or tubs. Magical. 🙂 When they are young it’s key to help them out but as they get older you can just sit back with some coffee and supervise. 🙂

  16. I was bribed my whole life. And it totally worked HAHA. 20 bucks an A. Can’t go w/ ur friends or have friends over if the room isn’t clean, that sorta thing. I’ve always been soooo disorganized, but I would really recommend this book….”CREATIVE CORRECTION” by Lisa Whelchel. I found it at the Family Christian bookstore, but you can probably find it online. I love it!!!!

  17. woops didn’t finish my thought after i said I’ve always been so disorganized….still to this day i reward myself after cleaning house w/ some time out of the house or something nice, like a new shirt or something of the sort. So now I bribe myself and hey, it still works. The reward system =) lol …now in adult sizes.

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