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At the end of my tether with dd aged 7

(16 Posts)
manchestermummy Sat 01-Nov-14 15:17:18

I don't know what to do.

Every weekend we have a recurring nightmare trying to get dd1 to tidy - or even attempt to tidy - her room. It ends up in a disgusting mess. Clothes, books and toys strewn everywhere. Dirty knickers shoved down the side of her bed, stuff trampled on so it breaks. Her carpet is ruined from doing craft 'activities' despite being told umpteen times not to.

Nothing works. Reward charts - pointless. Shouting - pointless. Bagging up her stuff regardless of what it is - upsets her but no further impact.

Today we sent her to tidy her room. Nearly two hours later all she had done was put books back on her bookcase. I saw red, bagged up everything that was on the floor, hoovered up the sequins/lego that were still everywhere. She is now sulking.

It is making home life intolerable. Dh is also extremely messy and I also have a 3 yo. We argue about the state of the house constantly and dd1 refuses to attempt to play ball.

She hasn't been allowed a playdate until she can prove she can keep her room tidy when asked. This has been the case for over a year and she knows why I saw no to having friends over but it makes no difference.

We have also tried let's see who can tidy the best but again, pointless.

Dh is also sulking because I begged for help but I think that is another thread.

I work (pt) and we cannot afford a cleaner, not that it would really help in this instance.

Please help. Home life is horrible.

BuzzardBird Sat 01-Nov-14 15:25:39

Sounds pretty normal to me. I tend to say "tidy your room and I will text x to come for tea tomorrow". (which defeats the object really as the room will then be trashed by two of them)

manchestermummy Sat 01-Nov-14 15:32:01

I don't mind her and her friends trashing her room much. It's the two hours I have to spend getting her room presentable before they come.

Heyho111 Sun 02-Nov-14 09:11:58

How about doing a little tidy together each night. You will do the bulk of it but getting her into a little of routine will in the very long term help her. When tidying together you will have to keep showing / telling her what to do. If it's a ten min job each night this may be more do able than a slog each weekend. If I'm honest , if it's not in her genetic make up to be tidy don't expect her to be. The teen years will be worse. My tip then will be to shut her door and ignore. Some battles aren't worth it.

wannabestressfree Sun 02-Nov-14 09:31:14

We have some basic rules but mine are older. No wet towels, windows open first thing, glasses and bottles downstairs and beds made. The rest I gloss over for a while and then go in and tidy.
I think seven might be a bit little to get this annoyed about it. Short bursts might be better and a task eg clothes, books, bits on floor. Do one a day with her.

Chandon Sun 02-Nov-14 09:35:25

You need to be more specific, not send her to her room for 2 hours with the vague brief to tidy.

I tell DSs exactly what us expected: beds made, nothing in the floor, clothes in laundry basket or wardrobe, etc.

We do 5 mins a day, rather than expect a "big clearout" as 5mins a day seems most manageable, and DC can't be bothered to argue a 5 minute chore.

Your DD may feel overwhelmed if it is that bad?

Could you do a big tidy up together, then 5 mins day before bedtime?

Chandon Sun 02-Nov-14 09:37:38

And you should mind about friends trashing the room. IMO

Trashing rooms is not ok, ask them to be a bit respectful of other people's belongings please!

manchestermummy Sun 02-Nov-14 10:14:52

Appreciate all comments smile

We kind of have to 'blitz' as she can't seem to do anything at all to contribute. All we really ask is put dirty clothes in the laundry basket but even that doesn't happen. If she did that, I would be more amenable to tidying together most certainly.

Last week she emptied her piggy bank and put her money in a pile on the floor. Her sister promptly trampled over the pile, money everywhere.

She's an intelligent girl (her teacher's opinion, not just ours!), but can't see that she does need to at least try. This, I think, is my issue: no even small attempt is made. Dd2 will make a very good stab if asked.

Recently she broke something of mine that I had told her repeatedly not to mess with. I even put it away and still she messed. Found it broken and strewn over the floor in her room. She is paying half the replacement cost (inexpensive but something we do need).

manchestermummy Sun 02-Nov-14 10:19:03

Oh and to clarify, she is a lovely child really smile. We have had a lot of heartache with precious to her things getting lost/broken so I really do think she does need to learn some respect for things.

PolterGoose Sun 02-Nov-14 10:34:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldmandra Sun 02-Nov-14 10:42:49

You're currently setting her up to fail constantly then constantly being disappointed with her when she does exactly that.

If you would like her to put her dirty clothes in the laundry, ask her to do it every day or even every time you go into the room. No need or shouting or punishments. Just ask her to do it and make sure she does it before she moves on to something she would like to do.

Once she can reliably put her dirty clothes in the laundry, you can leave he with that responsibility and move onto the next thing. In the meantime, the rest of the clearing up is your responsibility and you need to do it with her every time.

Tidying a whole messy room is an overwhelming task for any 7YO. You need to give her tasks that are far more achievable if you want to to succeed.

Eva50 Sun 02-Nov-14 10:45:04

I think there are two issues here. The first is her room. Clear all the art/craft stuff into a box and put it somewhere she can't get it. Decide where she will be doing arts and crafts (ds3 8 has to do it on the dining room table) then she needs to ask you to get the box out, use is controlled and you can help her put it away when she has finished. Leave her coloured pencils, paper and colouring books in her room.

You need to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. Spend half a day gutting her room. Get rid of everything she has outgrown. Keep only what she actually plays with. Chuck out plastic tat. Put anything you want to keep for your younger one away. Only leave her what she actually needs. Once she has finished playing help her to tidy away before she gets anything else out. She only needs a few books out on a shelf at a time. Get a small laundry basket for her room and when she gets dressed/undressed help her to put the washing in the laundry basket. Collect it when you need to wash it.

Think carefully about what she is getting for Christmas. Do not buy plastic tat for stocking fillers. A book, a DVD, socks, pyjamas etc will not clutter in the same way. Encourage others to do the same. One big, useful present is so much better for everyone. Ds3 has a 10th of the toys his cousins have and far less than most of his friends. He has everything he needs and most things he wants. He is happy and his room is very easy to tidy. If you have the rest of the house like this it may be easier for your dh to help you keep it tidy. I can't stand living in a mess (did you guess).

Your other issue is touching (and breaking) something you had asked her not to. I would come down quite hard on this. I would remove a favourite toy or a privilege (whatever would have the most impact).

That said 7 is too young to expect her to do these things without quite a bit of guidance.

Eva50 Sun 02-Nov-14 10:46:56

X post with everyone else. I'm so slow!

Finola1step Sun 02-Nov-14 10:54:10

My ds is nearly 7. I expect him to help to tidy his room and we keep on top of it together.

Our general rule is to have a quick tidy round while the bath is running so that the room is comfortable and ready for bed time. 3 year old dd also helps out. It's amazing how much can be done while the bath is filling up.

Craft stuff is never allowed in bedrooms. We keep it in a separate place downstairs where we can keep an eye on it.

manchestermummy Sun 02-Nov-14 12:01:37

Craft stuff is downstairs and labelled smile. All their toys are in labelled boxes. We don't buy any tat at Christmas at all because MiL buys truckloads of it, most of which breaks within seconds and gets binned.

Yesterday my issue was that I asked her to clear the floor (marbles all over the place) and clear her desk. That was really all which I am not sure was unreasonable? What she actually did was move the marbles into a separate pile on the floor and put four books away. In all that time!

One huge problem I have in all this is dh who is really soft. I have just asked dd to throw a tissue away. Her retort was why should she if daddy never does. She has a point.

That said, I have told them I will not make lunch until they tidy away stuff from this morning as best they can. Which dd1 is taking the lead on and telling her sister to respect her belongings...!

If anyone thinks I am a horrid slavedriver mother who wishes her house to look like a showhome, I really am not.

bigTillyMint Sun 02-Nov-14 12:07:25

I sympathise - my DD (takes after my DM) is also very untidy.

Less is more. If she can't keep what she has in there reasonably tidy, then she needs less in there!

I would have a culling session in her room (maybe when she is out) and bin any tat you know she would not miss. Then put stuff she may miss into a bag/bags and store somewhere, then put stuff that could be kept elsewhere into a different place. Then maybe reorganise the room if that would help. Be ruthless!

What I also did was pay DD (and DS) £1 a week for tidying and hovering/dusting their own rooms. It worked pretty well (at least the floor was visible once a week!) till DD started at secondary. We now have a cleaner once a week and the rule is the floor has to be clear for her.

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