To make 3 year old tidy his room?

(23 Posts)
braxit Mon 25-Jul-16 11:50:14

Fully prepared to be flamed for this as I'm pretty sure iabu.

I have a 3 year old who if it makes any difference at all is extremely intelligent. His nursery refer to him as the 6yo and have to find things for him to do accordingly.

This morning he took every single thing out of his room and flung it everywhere to the point where there's nowhere to stand. It was slick and span from me tidying it the day before and every other day (which I happily do).

This morning I asked him to tidy up one thing at a time and he wouldn't. I stayed in his room with him for about 40 mins trying to encourage him and motivate him in an upbeat sort of way to find things and where to put them but felt that if I did it it would only get worse. In the end I brought dd down for a play and left him up there to tidy. At this point I had done quite a bit so not that much left at all.
I told him he could come downstairs when he had finished.
Been up to check about 4 times and he's not interested. Do I just leave it and pick my battles?
I didn't think it was a harsh lesson to teach him but the longer it's gone on this morning I feel so mean.

Any experience?

Buggers Mon 25-Jul-16 11:53:02

I get my dd(3, 4 in a few days) to put toys away once She's finished playing and have done for a while. She also regularly trashes her bedroom and I usually get her to help me tidy it up but tbh it's usually easier and quicker for me to do it on my own.

RavioliOnToast Mon 25-Jul-16 11:53:21

My DD is 4, but when she was 3 she tidied her room, made her bed and opens her blinds

Haggisfish Mon 25-Jul-16 11:54:07

Personally I wouldn't make such a big deal. My 3.5 yo makes a mess and will help tidy up but they don't really get it. What do they care where their toys are as long as they are to hand? Dd, 6, will take it upon herself to tidy everywhere, wonderfully.

Buggers Mon 25-Jul-16 11:54:22

Also don't feel mean, they need to learn to respect things that people have brought for them, easier to start now than in a few years time!

LadyCallandraDaviot Mon 25-Jul-16 11:54:25

I think what you did at first was the right thing to do - leaving him to 'tidy' unless you gave him more specific instructions is a bit vague and wooly, even for a bright 6 year old.

Leave it for now, and have another go together before bed?

braxit Mon 25-Jul-16 11:57:16

I was fully expecting a flaming there I did feel quite mean even though it was done in a lovely way.
Thanks for the quick responses. Lady that's what I'll do I'll put him out of his misery and try again together before bed.

God mumsnet is good grin

ftw Mon 25-Jul-16 12:08:29

It astonishes me the strength of will my 4yo can show in the face of a perfectly reasonable request to put some toys away.

He'll sit on the stairs doing exactly nothing for ages rather than spend three minutes clearing up.

You're not alone.

HereIAm20 Mon 25-Jul-16 12:13:59

Definitely make him do it himself even if he has to do it in stages and you have to be specific. For example, now put all the cars where they are supposed to go. Now put all the cuddly toys away etc. After a general day of play we always did tidy up time together but in this situation where he has done it as a wind up to you I would make him do it bit by bit even if you do some now and some a bit later.

antiqueroadhoe Mon 25-Jul-16 12:16:55

Not mean at all

Believeitornot Mon 25-Jul-16 12:19:22

He's 3 and will have forgotten exactly what the issue is.

Did he take everything out deliberately or had you left him to it?

So next time check on him every now and then. And get him in to the habit of tidying up at the end of day with you (you'll have to help him for the first few years mind grin)

CecilyP Mon 25-Jul-16 12:23:39

From the behaviour described, he may be bright, but he doesn't sound remotely like a 6-year-old. Tidying a very untidy room on your own is a pretty tall order for a 3 year old. The only way to get it done is bit by bit with very direct supervision (and quite a bit of help) from yourself.

OhFuds Mon 25-Jul-16 12:23:51

Just the other day I had the same thing with my 4yr old, he refused to help tidy so I told him if he didn't help me tidy his toys then I would put all the toys back in his room and he would have nothing to play with in the livingroom. I repeated that a few times then asked if he would help....he said no so he was left with nothing other than his sister's baby toys. I heard him mutter a few times that he had nothing to play with. Last night when it was tidy time he helped right away haha obviously didn't want a repeat of playing with Anna and Elsa.

SecretMongoose Mon 25-Jul-16 12:30:08

I agree that 'tidy your room' is too vague for a 3 year old. It can feel totally overwhelming for me when faced with my 5 year olds pit room so for a child getting going can be so difficult as to be virtually impossible. but it sounds like you've given him a go and given him clear instructions.
I have often had to resort to making a game of tidying up - who can be the first to put away 5 red things etc or we play the 'tidy up rhumba' song on YouTube and dance around while we're doing it. It's tedious but it achieves the end result!

ImogenTubbs Mon 25-Jul-16 12:32:02

My DD is nearly three and she helps with 'tidy up time'. I always help her (unless she's been deliberately destructive) and usually try and motivate her with 'when you've picked all those bricks up we will go and watch Peppa Pig' or similar rather than threats / punishments. It doesn't always work!

Thurlow Mon 25-Jul-16 12:36:47

It astonishes me the strength of will my 4yo can show in the face of a perfectly reasonable request to put some toys away.

Ha, me to! We recently suggested to 4.5yo DD that if she helped keep her room tidy during the week - just help, mind you, with us there tidying too and suggesting things she can do so it's not an overwhelming "tidy everything", more a "put your dolls back in their basket" thing - she could start earning a little bit of pocket money.

She understands the need for a tidy room; she hates it when it gets too messy. She is also starting to understand how money works and definitely grasps that if she has her own pennies, she can buy a magazine every few weeks.

Will she actually help tidy up though? Will she buggery. 30 mins of sitting outside her room on a step wailing is far preferable. I feel your pain, ftw!

WaitrosePigeon Mon 25-Jul-16 12:56:56

My 3 year old DD can make a disgusting mess. I always make her tidy it up.

You make a mess, you tidy it. Tough tits.

brodchengretchen Mon 25-Jul-16 13:10:57

Be nonchalant and keep emotions calm. Don't let DS see that you care that he tidies his room, just that it is expected and must happen (if you're confident that he can do it) before he can do anything else. Otherwise he is picking a battle of wills with you and you are making a rod for your own back if you let him win. You are the adult, don't forget!

braxit Mon 25-Jul-16 13:11:30

Such good tips here!

RortyCrankle Mon 25-Jul-16 14:24:43

The only thing that worked with me when I was a child was my Mum coming into my room with a rubbish bag. The threat of losing my precious toys propelled me into action smile

allthemadmen Mon 25-Jul-16 15:00:27

no way.

too young.

Mcchickenbb41 Mon 25-Jul-16 15:46:59

I try with dd age 2.6 to turn it into a game firstly we put all the peppa pig bits in one basket then move onto her plastic and wooden it up fruit etc. Like the bin bag idea for dd12

braxit Mon 25-Jul-16 16:25:14

I do usually help and do it as a game with lots of encouragement on a day to day basis but this morning was only different because he'd done it deliberately

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