Originally Posted by SNeacail
I have started a new thing to help with all the stuff left behind. Every night, while all the kids are still in the room, I have them pick up everything that doesn't belong there (trash, dishes, shoes, etc). They are not allowed to say "that's not mine" (I do have to remind them of this every time), but they have to take it to the room of the person it does belong to. It has helped to at least get stuff picked up, even if they don't just do it on their own yet.
I invented another method. I told the 4 girls (2-9 year-olds) that if they didn't pick up all their own [collective - I didn't want to get into arguments, either, but I also didn't want them to clear up the grown-ups' mess (I WISH
my mother had used this trick on me: I'm still a slob)] stuff within 1/4 hour, I would
... but then that load of stuff wasn't going to reappear for 2 weeks.
They called my bluff (mixture of cockiness and nervousness as the 1/4 ran out) and let things lay. I popped everything into a large black rubbish bag and stored it in the attic (for exactly 2 weeks - I don't believe in lying to children). [The only access to the attic was a trapdoor in the ceiling of my bedroom - without a fixed ladder.]
They had plenty of toys, clothes, and books, so there was no shortage of things to play with, wear, or read... even if they did complain that I was "UNFAIR!!!". [Even the girls' parents asked if I couldn't consider a "parole".]
The next time the living room was a complete mess, I asked - as sweet as pie
- "Would you girls like to clear this up or shall I?"
I never had any
trouble after that. You should have seen that 2-year-old help!