It is a beautiful day out. The birds are singing. The sun is shining. It’s not too hot. It’s a perfect blue sky day. And I am stuck inside. Why am I the one that’s grounded? I’m the mom now, I can do what I want, right?
I wanted to take the girls on a “city bus adventure” to the “big library” downtown for the cool TVOKids event they’ve got going on today. All week long I promised Rainbow that if she cleaned the front “toy” room and her bedroom that come Friday we would go to the Library. Both rooms are a complete disaster. A no where to place a foot to step, hurricane must have just come through here, disaster.
I have am sick of arguing with her stubborn kid logic:
When I clean I become boring.
It takes too long.
I will clean it next week.
I try mom logic:
Isn’t it more fun to play when the room is clean?
When the room is clean we have room to dance.
When the toys are cleaned up it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.
When I offer to work with her to help her clean-up, she stops cleaning, just watches me and says “You can do it mom, I’ll be over here colouring”. I am sick of fighting with her about it, so this week I tried a new approach. I told her that if she cleaned the front “toy” room and her bedroom that come Friday we would go to the Library, and then I let it go at that. I haven’t nagged her or argued with her about it. I’ve been dropping the occasional reminder, “Where you still looking forward to going to the Library tomorrow? Oh, and what do you need to do then…?”
No dice. Here is is Friday and she announces.” I’ll clean up tomorrow. We can go to the Library on another day.” I try and explain to her that the special you get free books, kids story-time thing is only today. She’s excited. She tells me she is going to clean! She loudly tells her father that she is cleaning and we are going to have a special day. She tells him all the details of our exciting plans. She picks up three things and then gets distracted, starts playing and takes out ten. She tells me she will clean once she has a snack. She says she needs a break, and more juice.
She is only three. If I can’t threaten, bribe, or cajole her into something simple like keeping her room clean now, what the heck is going to be the scene in 10 years?
She tells me, “You could change your mind mom and we could still go…” and I am so tempted. That perfect blue sky day is calling me to head outside. Sigh. So frustrating. This whole being the mom thing isn’t nearly as cool as I thought it would be back when I was a kid.
Don't you just love when that happens. Been having similar battles around here.
My daughter is the exact same! It's her stuff that is scattered all over the house. And no amount of bribing can get her to pick it up. There doesn't seem to be anything she likes SOOOOO much, that she put a toy back where it belongs. Except MacDonalds. great.
My daughter is very similar. She just turned 6. I tell her that when she does whatever (fill in the blank) THEN she can do whatever (fill in the blank. I stick to my guns. When she takes her coat and hat to the mud room then she will get her snack.
I have been struggling to get my 3 1/2 year old to pick up his legos. I read on an email newsletter from Focus on the Family that for 2 and 3 year olds to set a timer for 10 minutes and tell the child that he has 10 minutes to pick up the toys. If the toys are not picked up, take them away for a day. The first day I did it, my son thought it was the most exciting game and could not pick them up fast enough. The second day, he refused so his legos spent the night and the following day out of sight in the garage. Last night we had to do it again to get him to pick up his trains and tracks. It worked. He picked everyhting up . He was not energetic about it, but he didn't want to lose his trains for a day so he did it. Faith at homeecathome.com
Having to clean both the living room and her own room every day for a week is way too much of responsibility for a 3 yr. old. Especially if the consequence means no exciting bus ride or trip to the library. Do you lead by example? Do you keep all the other rooms clean all week?Instead of you offering to help her, you should ask her to help you. Cleanup together can be fun, you can dance around while picking up, you can have a contest to see who can carry the most toys to the area or any number of games. Make it fun and you'll both be happier. She'll grow up fast enough as it is. Right now her job is to be a happy little girl.