Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Little Help, Please

I have a dilemma. I've been thinking about his for quite some time now, and I'll admit, I'm at my wits' end.

My daughter refuses to clean her room, and, if ever it does get clean, it is messy again within hours. What's a mom to do?

A friend and I talked about this the other day and discussed how it seems like such a ridiculous thing to waste hours and hours arguing about. I remember many occasions as a child that my mother and I argued about the state of my room. I remember purposely dragging my feet because I didn't want to clean my room.

Now I'm the mom and I'm not ashamed to say that these room-cleaning arguments are kicking my trash!

If I encourage Noel to clean her room and keep it this way, there are some positive side effects.
  • A clean room = less broken and lost toys.
  • A sense of pride and accomplishment.
  • She learns good stewardship.
  • The seeds of good housekeeping (handy for when she's a grown-up with her own house) are planted.
  • Less funky odor emanating from her room. (Seriously.)
  • She learns that it's important to obey your parents, even when you don't agree with them.
  • She learns that some things in life are no fun and that 's it's best to dive in and be done with them.
  • Things are easier to find, there are less already-running-late instances of "Where is my other shoe?"
  • She learns responsibility.
I can't think of many negative aspects of the argument of her keeping her room clean, but here are the few I can think of.
  • It's her room, if she wants to live like a slob so be it.
  • All of the arguing is killing me.
What would you do? Really. I need some feedback here, because I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.

Thanks in advance, bloggy friends.


That Girl said...

Well, I'm assuming you've already done the positive reinforcing (stickers! ice cream! a movie!)and, if you're like me, plenty of negative stuff too (no TV! no treats! no friends!) And, obviously, it's not working.

Have you ever read "A Joyful Mother of Children?" Quick read. Inspiring. One of her ideas for helping kids clean their room (and this is EXTREME, but it works!), is literally taking everything out of it.

No toys. No books. And, if you're REALLY into this, no clothes. (Keep her clothes in your room, or in a separate cupboard in the laundry room.) She can "earn" things back by making her bed ... since that's literally all that's left in there.

I tried this with my three-year-old, and it's worked AWESOME. Every morning he makes his bed, and as a reward he gets some books in his room. If he leaves them on the floor - GOODBYE BOOKS! I didn't move his clothes; I just put locks on the drawers so he can't get to them.

Again, this is an extreme thing, but it worked for me! And his room is spick n span. (Which, apparently, means "clean," but I don't know why.)

Mommy Mac said...

WOW! That Girl has some great advice. I have not much to offer other than what works with my 4 and 2 year old is militant consistence. My husband and I BOTH demand a picked up room every day. We also work with them to pick up certain things.

We also try to model a clean home environment.

It is tricky and rough. I don't know how old Neoel is as I am a new reader to you, but I think laying the foundations early is soooo worth it.

Do keep us posted on progress. Thanks again for the great morning glories...I am anxious to give them a whirl. Man, I am glad I found you!!!

.mac :)

Julie said...

Yes, Mac, (can I call you Mac?) That Girl is totally, wickedly, fully awesome. Which is why we will be trying her suggestion. First, though, I'm going to spend a day with Noel, who is nearly eight, BTW, going through all of her clothes and toys (books are community property in our house) and getting rid of all of the things that she doesn't use very often.

We have tried militant consistence, but when Mommy is in the middle of a nervous breakdown and Daddy has school and work full-time, it's hard to be consistent with anything.

Thanks so much for the ideas. I'll definitely keep you updated.

Cristina said...

Okay... go along with me on this...

Buy her a Teen Beat-type magazine with Zac Efron on the cover, but before you give it to her, type up a fake cover story (on perfectly-matching paper with a perfectly matching layout, of course!! I'm sure you have professional semi-gloss magazine paper just laying around, ready for just such an occasion...). In the article, talk about Zac's likes and dislikes, subtly quoting him 3/4 of the way through as saying, "Oh, yeah.... Vanessa is a great girl and all, but it was her magnificently clean room that REALLY caught my eye when we were first hanging out. That totally tipped the scales in her favor, you know? At first I was actually more into Ashley Tisdale, but then when I saw how much of a slob she was, I was over her. I'm a sucker for a girl who really knows how to keep her room clean. THAT'S the kind of girl I want to be with forever."

THEN.... at the end of the article, write in italics: "Do YOU have what it takes to impress Zac Efron? Enter the Totally Tidy for Ten Years challenge!!!"

LOL. Or you could just force her to watch a marathon of "How Clean is Your House", and give her nightmares by going all "Kim and Aggie" on her behind by making petri dish cultures of the scary microorganisms that are living in her room.

Julie said...

Awesome advice. I'm not sure whether I should laugh, cry or be frightened. Probably all of the above.

She does love HSM, so the idea has merit. (You know that you can hear Gilbert Gottfried's voice in the background saying "Merit! Yes, merit!")