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Losing the plot over DD tidying her room.

(23 Posts)
IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 21:49:51

DD is 9. Her room is a disaster. Stuff on floor, stuff on bed, messy shelves, clothes in a heap on the bottom of the wardrobe.

We have a busy and fun half term planned but today was the day we got the house sorted. I told her that it needed to be done by the end of the day. I had the rest of the house to do but would come up and change the bed and hoover.

She's been very slowly sorting out clothes for most of the day. She's still up there, picking up things then asking me where they go. I've had to come down stairs because I am so frustrated with her.

She gets a book for her Kindle if she does a good job without needing to be nagged. So the incentive is not working. Time limits are not working. Threatening to chuck it all in a bin bag is not working. She's missed out on playing today because she has taken sooooo long.

Being tidy doesn't come naturally to me either but she is driving me mad. Do I just give up? Should I be tidying her room for her?

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 21:51:01

I know she should be in bed. I know.

spudmasher Sat 13-Feb-16 21:54:21

My dd was like this at age 9. She needed the task broken down into smaller steps eg. Put all the books on the shelf. Take the cups downstairs. Fold the clothes. The instruction 'tidy your room' was too big and she didn't know where to start.

BertrandRussell Sat 13-Feb-16 21:56:39

Why does her room have to be tidy?

SquinkiesRule Sat 13-Feb-16 21:56:50

My Dd is the same way, she's 11 now and not greatly improved. I tell her ahead of time, that on saturday morning she needs to sort her room and throw rubbish in the bin put toys away and washing in the hamper. It'll take her all morning to do it. I take 5 minutes. I have lowered my standards so she doesn't get overwhelmed and just sit in the mess and cry.
I send her up before it gets too bad to sort it usually, but it gets away from her easily. I usually pick all the dirty clothes up myself after she's asleep or she'd run out of uniforms.
I have noticed the last two times I sent her to do it, she's getting a little faster, so theres hope, she just has to get sent up to do it more often I think.
Doing it without prompting seems impossible for her.

nocoolnamesleft Sat 13-Feb-16 21:57:29

If it's that overwhelmingly bad in there, is she overwhelmed by not knowing where to start?

Give the kid a break: break it down into smaller chunks for her to do (though probably not tonight now!).

So, for instance, 1 hour to pick up all clothes, sort into dirty (basket) clean smart (hang) clean casual (fold and put in drawer). Mini reward.

Then, say, 1 hour to bin all rubbish (and remove any crockery cutlery...though that's more for teens)


Of course, the one hour strategy works better with "and if it takes less than an hour, you can have a break until the hour's up" - really tends to speed up the segment of work.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 22:16:06

Thanks all. It's done, she's in bed, we've had a chat. I think the job is too big when it's that messy. So new deal is every night she has to make sure her desk is clear (ish), her floor is clear and there are no clothes on the bed. Three ticks. So bar the occasional sort-out of shelves there should be no need for it to get to that point again. I have no desire to be a nagging harpy for an entire day.

It doesn't have to be perfect but I want her to feel calm and cared for and ready for the next day when she goes to bed. You can't do that in a tip, you just can't.

Shemozzle Sat 13-Feb-16 22:25:48

I have the same battles with my nearly 9 year old. I've come to the conclusion I was expecting too much of her. It would usually be in a total state before I'd send her to do it and then we'd have tears and arguments all day, sometimes days on end. I'd always promise to make sure I remind her every night and never did keep it up.

Now I consider it my responsibility and anything else is a bonus. When I send her to do jobs it's not such a state. When she has a sleepover I clean up after. I used to tell her that was her job and that is when the mess would spiral. I do most of the tidying once a week or so and then ask her to make her bed or Hoover or put washing away. It's really so much easier and she's still doing more regular jobs that way than she was. It was down to me forgetting to remind her to do it that was causing all the mess in the first place so not fair to blame her. My room was always awful, knee deep, as a child. And I just got constant grief and never any help. That was from age 4 or 5. I don't want to repeat that cycle.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 22:30:30

I don't want that for her either. I hate it. But I work FT, I just don't have the time to sort out her room once a week. She leaves things where they fall, all over the house - I need this to change but I don't want to be giving her grief all the time. Argh.

Cabrinha Sat 13-Feb-16 22:32:36

You are just projecting your own feelings about mess and it's wrong - of course she can feel calm and cared for and relaxed in a mess!
Loads of people do.
Your house your rules so fine if you want her to tidy - but it's OTT to decide what her emotional state will be based on how you feel!

Sounds like you have a good plan though, focusing on manageable tasks.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 22:39:50

Hmm, interesting. That is possible.

There is also an element of wanting her to appreciate that she has nice clothes and nice things and a nice room by looking after them. I didn't have that stuff as a kid. That's totally projecting again, isn't it?!

Whether I'm projecting or not though, I can't let her live in a tip.

RB68 Sat 13-Feb-16 22:58:33

Remember its a learning process, they are still young - mines 10 and the same takes alot of nagging but she is getting better. I refuse to put clean clothes away and she often lives out of a wash basket but I am not being a slave in my own house - I have enough else to do. I frequently when she asks for pudding or a treat say OK but I want xyz done first please and that would be all clothes put away/in wash bin or bed made and bedside mess tidied, desk clear etc. Also kids stuff has to be regularly dejunked and you need to be ruthless with it - DD has a large room by most standards and it descends into chaos regularly but now we are starting to see her get fed up with it and have a big tidy out so we are seeing progress.

I think having spent a whole day doing it today she would be utterly devastated and upset - at that age it will have felt like forever and an endless unachievable thing and it was quite unfair to approach it in that way - they still need you to coach them with this stuff. it needs to be bite size regular thing, 15 mins each day with specific tasks.

ManneryTowers Sat 13-Feb-16 23:09:44

Does she also maybe have too much stuff? As adults we get overwhelmed and stressed when we are pressured to do a big project, so imagine how it must feel for someone her age!
Perhaps spend the half term having a declutter with her and a charity shop run (or maybe a Gumtree session if she has things to sell - their app is so easy to use). Then perhaps let her choose some pretty storage baskets or units to stash things. It's so much easier to keep a room tidy if groups of things belong in one place i.e a basket rather than everything having to have its own allocated place.
Just suggestions but a similar set up worked for us.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 23:28:05

Thanks for suggestions. We did the charity shop run today with loads of clothes and games (so she has been out of her room!). She did really well sorting her clothes and I told her that.

I do feel bad.

The plan is that at Easter she goes into the bug spare room and DS moves from the boxroom into hers. At this point I feel like there's no way I'm going to spend money on decorating a lovely room for her if she doesn't even try to keep her existing room tidy. That's the thing - I get that she's only 9, but she knows I'll make her clean up and leaves stuff all over the floor anyway. She has ample storage.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 23:29:00

Big, not bug!

CharleyDavidson Sat 13-Feb-16 23:38:24

That plan worked for my DD. She was constantly keeping her room in a dreadfully untidy state. I'd help her tidy, it would quickly go back to being untidy. She would even end up sleeping on piles of stuff... books/cds/dvds etc that she'd had on her bed. I don't know how she did it.

Until last year, when I offered to let her have her room completely redecorated from scratch and let her pick everything. She had new carpet/wallpaper/paint etc. Her furniture she was stuck with, but she chose to turn her high bed with desk into a low bed and we experimented with where to put the furniture to make the most of her box room.

She was ecstatic with the room. And it's been kept tidy since then. It was done in the Summer hols and is still tidily kept, she even makes her bed every morning without being asked to.

This is her on the day the new carpet was fitted. smile She's not once since complained that she has the smallest room either, she now says she has the nicest.

positivity123 Sat 13-Feb-16 23:38:42

I was really messy until my twenties and it really helped that my mum was relaxed about it. I had to make my bed and wasn't allowed wet towels on the floor but that was it. It never became a battle ground between my mum and I, despite her being very tidy.
Don't have any advice but just wanted to let you know as I have always been very organised. Being messy means often you don't see it so you can relax and be organised despite it looking messy to outsiders.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 13-Feb-16 23:51:31

Thanks so much both. Charley she looks so happy! Maybe it will work for DD - she really wants her new room!

WanderingNotLost Sun 14-Feb-16 02:58:38

OP you could be my Mum 20 years ago. I was a really messy kid, and am a messy adult- I didn't give a toss then and I don't now!
My Mum gave up in the end because even she knows when she's fighting a lost cause eventually just made it my problem. Trodden on something and broken it? Replacement is coming out of your pocket money. Favourite sparkly dress isn't clean for the party? Should've put it in the washing basket then shouldn't you. Can't find your homework? Guess you'll be getting a detention then! Her only absolute rule was no food or crockery etc to be left in there. Otherwise, she learnt to just shut the door and leave me be. Give it try- you might be happier for it!

nokidshere Sun 14-Feb-16 02:59:42

I don't go into my teenagers bedrooms. i stopped when they were about 9 & 11. Their mess is not allowed to encroach on the rest of the house and I only wash things that are down stairs in the washing basket.

It took a little while for them to realise that, actually, they don't like a huge mess and they want clean clothes and now, at 14 & 17, they keep their rooms relatively tidy and even put clothes in the washing machine and switch it on grin

AGrinWithoutACat Sun 14-Feb-16 06:55:28

With my DCs the issue has always been too much stuff that only just fitted in their rooms and only when I spent hours sorting and tidying, the moment anything came out to be played with they couldn't put it easily away so they didn't. So the mess started again.

The answer was regular clear outs and ruthless control over what came into the house. Grandparents were firmly told we had no room for any large items leading up to birthdays so anything like that would go in the attic and DC would not be able to play with it. Harsh but we just couldn't cope.

Now we have moved to a larger house and can breathe more easily but DCs have chosen the smallest rooms they could as their bedrooms! (Attic conversion) We have built in storage into the rooms and again DCs are sorting through their stuff as only what fits is going in the room - the rest is going.

We do have basic rules that help keep the mess manageable.

No food or drink up stairs
Dirty clothes into the basket in our room morning and night
Clean clothes put away before bed every night (doesn't always happen but it gets done before any fun stuff at the weekend - every in/action has a consequence smile)
Bed made every morning
Nothing lives on the floor other than furniture

It means I can open windows without breaking my neck avoiding or not avoiding toys and we can hoover without a major tidy

DCs are also responsible for changing their beds every week (I don't stress over the Lego collection DS keeps in his that way!)

We started this when they were tiny helping less and less as they got older, now at 9 & 11 they are getting better as it is part of their normal routine, and they have learnt to appreciate tidier rooms as friends can come round and play easily.

Kitla Sun 14-Feb-16 09:48:14

Tidying her room from scratch is too much for my 9 year old DD. However, a quick five min run around the house putting all her stuff into a box, and doing the same for her room, some psychologically makes it easier for her - turns it from an overwhelming mess, to just having to put a box of stuff away grin.

Wilma123 Sun 14-Feb-16 10:43:13

I go In each day and pick stuff up fold up clothes small Piles placed on there beds. I make their beds everyday and
Leave it tidy . At the weekends they do it themselves I always have since they were little now there all teenagers it just works

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