How would you handle this discipline situation?

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by Fran27, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Kids were playing with play doh. They put it away and gave me the bin, leaving a mess of play doh on the floor. I told them to clean it up, or no more tv. Turned the tv off. They were not cleaning. I went to prepare dinner, and they took the rest of the play doh from the bin while I was gone, putting some all over the floor here, the living room, the stairs and the hallway (just little pieces, they never get more than 3 cans at once). I told them to clean up... they said no. I took the bin of playdoh accessories and put it in the office, saying they won't be getting it again for a long, long time. Told them to clean up or they'd go to their room... they picked up some, but refused to do more, so I emptied everything in their room (no kidding... all that's left is the rug and the empty dresser). They were in there 30 minutes. I went back up, asked them if they were ready to clean up now, they said no, so I closed the door again. They're still in there.

    This isn't getting anywhere. They just don't care whatever I do. How do you MAKE them clean up a mess? I'm so tired of waiting until they finally decide they're ready to follow the rules. I wish I had two empty rooms to put them in, but I don't.

    For what it's worth, I've done the 'you can't play with anything anymore until you've put that away' thing. They sat there in the room for 4 hours not doing anything, before agreeing to clean up. That's how stubborn my kids are.
  2. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    Why are you engaging in a battle of wills with four year olds? Honestly, it passed reasonable a long time ago and became about your pride. I'm not trying to be mean, but your expectations are way off, and as a result your kids always disappoint you and you are always frustrated.

    I would have told them to clean up the playdoh, and if mommy had to clean it up it would be thrown away. Then I would have set a timer. If they made a good effort at cleaning, I'd give positive reinforcement and help. If they didn't, I'd make them sit in time out while I cleaned it up, then I'd make them throw the playdoh in the trash. Then I'd move on.
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  3. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah... they totally wouldn't care if I threw it away (which I made them do once they finally agreed to clean, it's pretty much trash once it's on the floor anyway). Unfortunately by doing it all myself and moving on, they just don't learn a thing and do the same thing again, over and over... I don't want to be a doormat!
  4. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I understand, but right now they are winning and you are miserable and frustrated.
  5. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    I agree that setting a timer for a reasonable amount of time and maybe even setting it for just one area at a time. Sometimes a big mess can be overwhelming to little people, so breaking it up into more reasonable areas could help. There would also be a TO in our house for not following the rules.

    And absolutely it would go in the trash after cleaning it up.

    I know when it becomes a tug-of-war type battle here, then we are all just frustrated and mad by the end of it.
  6. megkc03

    megkc03 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Hmmmm...with the three kids here, I have found they work best with some direction and/or a game. So, set a timer for 4-5 minutes and see how much they can clean up in that time. And when done, you help out with what hasn't been completed. Make it a game for them!

    My kids playroom is a disaster. In order to clean it up, as it is totally overwhelming for them, I tell them one thing to clean at a time. So one will clean up blocks, the other cars. They run and find me for another item. And they do a LOT better when I am in the room with them. Model for them the behavior-and keep modeling it. They will get it. Eventually.
  7. NicoleLea

    NicoleLea Well-Known Member

    I agree, sometimes a big mess can be overwhelming to little kids. When I want my kids to pick up I usually designate a certain area or a certain thing ("Pick up all the books" or "pick up everything in the corner") It seems to help to do it in small increments. Also, I do usually help out and we all do it together. That way I can keep them on task and make sure it is all getting done. I also reward them when they do what I ask, so that gives them an incentive to help other than just saying "Do this because I said so" which doesn't always work.
  8. MrsWright

    MrsWright Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree overwhelming here as well:) I usually give them a specific toy to pick up...blocks, trucks, ect. and I help pick up the rest. With playdoh I would have probably given them each a color to pick up and as a pp stated, as long as they tried to pick it up it would have been ok with me:)
  9. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Yes, but they refused to pick up anything...
  10. ktfan

    ktfan Well-Known Member

    When mine were that age, they also had times they refused to pick up anything at all. In that case I'd give one a direction to pick up X. If they didn't, I took them over to it, placed their hands on it and moved them/it to where it needed to go. Then I'd do the other. Usually once or twice each and they'd begrudgingly (is that a word?) comply. In your case with the playdough, I would have had them pick up (with my physical encouragement!) the big pieces then go sit in time out while I vacuumed up the rest before putting the whole lot in the trash and not buying playdough again for a while (at least a few months).
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  11. sulik110202

    sulik110202 Well-Known Member

    Do they have another toy or maybe a blanket or stuffed animal they are attached to? Give them an opportunity to clean up the mess and then take that thing away, as well as the play doh. They know they will have a ton of other stuff to play with if you take the play doh away, so we always try to find something that would motivate them to listen and do what we are asking them to do.
  12. tinalb

    tinalb Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree with everyone else. At 4, cleaning up can be overwhelming. I always found they would do much better helping me clean up rather than me expecting them to do it all on their own. We would set the timer & rush around seeing who could clean up the most in that length of time with me helping out. It had to all be cleaned up before any other toys were brought out. To me, it wasn't worth my frustration & anger to try & make them do it all themselves.
  13. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    I'd probably suggest offering more supervision when playing with and cleaning up playdoh just due to their ages and age appropriate expectations. I just don't expect 4 year olds to clean playdoh up alone and meet my expectations. Usually I will have them clean up the accessories while I hold the bag and then we all gather the scattered playdoh and put it in the containers. I think sometimes it is hard to keep expectations at appropriate developmental stages. Most of our clean up times are supervised, I join in and everything goes much better. My 7 year old is an excellent independent cleaner-upper, but he wasn't at 4. Like a PP mentioned, I physically assist my kids when they refuse. I hold their hands, walk them to the item, grab the item with both hands, and walk them to th crate it goes in. After a few times of that, they decide it is easier to do it without my "help".
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  14. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have them help either with me doing hand over hand help or usually, 1 is fairly willing and the other is not so I praise the heck out of my compliant kid and the other will begrudgingly join in. Also, I supervise cleaning up until its done.

    I'm reading 'The No-Cry Discipline Solution' and have found the chapter on anger to be really useful- maybe it's worth a read for you?
  15. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree with PP's. I keep it simple and use a lot of encouragement. Making it a game makes cleaning up worth the effort for both of my kids. I keep my expectations low and as long as they make a good attempt at it, then I'm okay with it.
    If my kids give me a hard time about cleaning up an item, it gets put it in time out.
  16. jwoolf

    jwoolf Member

    Have you tried some kind of positive reinforcement for cleaning up? Make a calendar and each kid gets a star for the day when they help clean up. When they get 5 stars, they get to pick a little treat out of a bag of cheap toys from the dollar store. My kids will do anything for a sticker.
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