Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DS3, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I have tried and tried and tried to get my difficult child to pick up his toys, and he flat out refuses. So today I went through and told him that if he didn't pick them up and I had to do it, he would have to earn them back. He picked up about a total of 8 toys and the rest I picked up (two and a half giant garbage bags full). Some days he is as perfect as can be. And other days he's a brat. And he's passing these 'traits' onto his little brother. My fear is that now that most of the toys are gone, he's going to find something else (that he shouldn't have) to play with. I'm working on locking down the rest of the house. But it seems that I've tried everything. Setting firmer limits, reward charts, you name it. He just refuses to listen to me some days. And I know it's not his fault. He can't help his 'labels'. And while I feel I have made some progress in getting him the help that he needs and the referral process started, it doesn't seem like the appointments can come fast enough. I'm tired, and I have been feeling under the weather with a whole lot of s&*^ going on, and I've had it. Getting him to listen on days like today are like talking to a brick wall. And I just don't know what else to try at the moment. All of the books, research, and everything else that I've learned still doesn't help me in times like these.

    So thanks for listening to the vent. Sometimes its just what we need to do.

  2. keista

    keista New Member

    been there done that STSDT(still there still doing that)

    I find when the bulk of the toys are gone, the girls function just fine. I had 2 giant bags full of toys that were never given back and I just tossed (because if I had started going through them, too many would have stayed) Part of the problem is that we indulge our kids with so many toys that they actually get overwhelmed. We need to learn to minimize. It's not just you or me. It's our generation of parents, it's our society.

    As much as a 'normal' 4 y/o can pick up their own toys without supervision, it's just not realistic for a difficult child. Try giving more guidance and work with him side by side. This can also give you the opportunity to sort through everything. Does he still play with it? Does he still want it? Possible that many of the toys just get scattered in an effort to get to the "good" toys. Might not fix the situation, but if you attack it as a team effort, it may be less stressful.

    My girls are 10 and 8 and we still haven't mastered this problem. My current plan of attack will be to ask them which items that have been removed that they want back. If they remember an item we'll put it on the "earn back" list. If they don't even remember they had it, then they can't be missing it too much, can they? And therefore don't "need" it.
  3. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I think you may have some unrealistic expectations for your 4 yr old. Not that he can't pick up the toys exactly. But if it was that many toys - most 8 or 9 year olds would have trouble with that. And that's kids without any challenges.

    I agree with working together with him (and bring the 2 year old in to help too) on picking up. singing a song as you go (the Barney song "clean up" was popular with my twins) can help make it seem fun.

    Picking up should be a scheduled activity done every day at least once a day at the same time. Before dinner for example. You don't want to make it part of the bedtime routine since it's potentially stimulating.

    I agree with the "too many toys" comments. Really, most 4 year olds do not need 3 garbage bags worth of toys.

    You might want to choose a few toys for him to earn back as rewards for picking up each day. You want him to be successful at least 75% of the time - otherwise you have set the bar too high.

    I suggest you go through the other toys and set some aside in a box. When you need to be on the phone or somethings going on that you need him to be occupied for a while, get out the box of toys for him to play with. Then you put them back away again until the next time you need them. This should not be an every day occurrence. You want the box of toys to seem special - it's a special treat to play with them so he looks forward to getting that and stays out of your hair for at least a little while.

    With a 4 yr old, you probably mostly need to just put things you don't want him to have up high out of reach and make sure that step stools or chairs he could drag over to climb on are put away or it's hard for him to do that. I wouldn't leave knives in one of those blocks out on the kitchen counter for example.

    Do you have some support with the kids? A friend or family member that can take them for a weekend so you get a break and can do some of the things you want to do for yourself? Are you living in military housing or near the base/post? Do they offer any support to wives that might be helpful to you? If not, can you ask to speak to the chaplain and see if he/she has any resources that would give you a break? Maybe you could swap kids with another mom who's in your same situation where you each babysit all the kids for a night or a day on the weekend so the other one has time alone.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I work at a preschool...some kids love to help clean, most do as little as they can...they are NOT mostly difficult children and the teacher aides have to urge them along. I would put that way down on my list about what I cared about if I had a young child with some childhood disorder who is unable to focus for long or hold in his/her frustration. Some kids, like you said, without toys get into non-toys and take them apart etc. and then they're in trouble again. To the best of my ability, with my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son, I tried to stay in the positive. He had a compulsion to take things apart, which was caused by the autism, and I didn't always want to be yelling at him.

    What you can do, to be proactively positive, is keep all of your son's toys and have his ask for each toy as he wants it. One at a time is enough. When he is finished, he can bring it to you, put it away, and then ask for another toy. That way he isn't always failing and you aren't always angry at him and the house can stay clean.

    Keep us posted on how it goes :) We do care.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Advice we received years ago: There are some jobs that most kids just naturally hate, and cleanup is one of them. Worse than that is to expect them to do it solo - that exponentially multiplies the "punishment" in their eyes. If you're going to deal with teaching clean-up, it has to be a shared task, you cannot let it get that bad in the first place (which includes restricting number of toys simultaneously available), you have to do it frequently, and you have to negotiate the roles.

    There was a period of time where the most I could get out of our kids was for them to tell me where each thing went. But they had to stay there and work with me until the job was done. Didn't take very long before they figured out that it would go faster if they put a few things away too.

    If you have to, plan a clean-up time before every single meal - we found it doesn't work to do it before bedtime because the kids are already tired: clean-up requires organization skills and coping skills, and both of those go out the window when they are tired.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Because of difficult child's "labels" and his clear lack of understanding EXACTLY what I mean and difficulty staying on task, I find that it works best for all of us if I sit in the room and give him one task at a time. Today it was "put all you legos in their bin" then when that was done "now put all you bionicles in their bin" etc etc etc. The room actually looks awesome and he stayed on task the whole time. It works for us. Have you tried something like that with him?
  7. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I have taught and expected the boys to clean up their toys very early. For my easy child, it was just natural. I might have to remind him or just say "ok, time to clen up" and off he goes on his own. difficult child... not so much. He usually moves around but don't do a single thing!!! I used to end up yelling and evryone frustrated.
    We have plenty of bins and the toys are organized in categories (small vehicles, big vehicles, blocks, animals, balls, etc..). easy child naturally puts them back where it goes. difficult child... not so much.
    A few weeks ago, I finally realized difficult child simply does not know what to do. I now help him through by naming one task at a time: "find all the balls and put them in the bag, all of them: look under the bed, in the kitchen, etc" As I gve him tips, I make sure he follows through.
    difficult child now takes an active part in the process with no fussing. I use an energetic voice, a little louder than usual so everyone knows it's time to clean up: Mom means business but she is not mad. I sometimes clap my hands a couple times before we start which helps difficult child get into it.
    We pick up several times a day, but the main rule that never fails: pick up time before the shower. Then we can have dinner in a clean tidy environment which I think is relaxing for everyone.
    I have also lowered my expectation in some areas: I organize his desk and keep it clean for difficult child, the clothes are put in the laundry rom by difficult child but I pick them up and throw them in the right basket...
    It takes time to learn on both ends: you and your difficult child.
    Keep on thinking and adapting, soon you will find a system.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ktllc - you're on the right track! I used to sing rather than raise my voice... easier on their ears and my vocal cords. Loud noises can be difficult for kids with sensory issues... but like you said, you have to find what works, and that takes some flexibility and experimentation.
  9. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I did sort out the toys, and had two garbage bags full ready to go to donation, but they (both difficult child and easy child) found them and brought them back into the house. I haven't been able to sort through them since they dragged them all in (lock is now on the door so they can't get what is still sorted). I do plan on sorting them and not even giving them back half of what is out there. Especially with christmas around the corner.

    I usually help by 'directing'. Like, find all of the cars and put them in the bin, et cetera. This has worked very well in the past, but this whole weekend he doesn't want to listen and has dug his heels in. I don't know what set it off.

    I've also noticed then when I ask/tell difficult child to do something like clean up the mess he made, he'll turn around and tell easy child to do it. (funny to a point). So I remind difficult child that I asked him, not easy child to do it. Most times easy child will help anyway. So off difficult child finally goes to get the job done after a reminder and possibly a time out for trying to order his brother around.

    I have tried to keep a 'clean up' schedule, which usually means picking up the toys right before dinner. Some days it works better then others, depending on how we're running (my schedule has been very full lately).

    Putting things up high doesn't work. I use to put everything I didn't want him to have either in the garage (now locked down), or on top of the fridge. He would climb on top of the fridge to get what he wasn't suppose to. So now most of it goes into the garage, but then he finds more things. It seems like a never ending battle, but eventually I figure my household goods will be locked in the garage, or he's bound to run out of things. Whichever one comes first.

    Do I have support? Nope. When I have the extra money, I put them in daycare for a little bit. But that's about it right now (well, besides difficult child being in school for half a day). I'm working on getting some respite care through the EFMP program. Problem is, most of my friends have already PCS'd (moved away), or they really weren't good friends to begin with. I've tried making some new ones, but really haven't had the time as of lately (between difficult child's appointments, my appointments, the dog being a diabetic (regular shot intervals and plenty of vet appointments), school, researching/filling out forms, and trying to finish the claim on my husband's car my friend rolled while looking for a new one, I don't have a whole lot of extra time. Hopefully it calms down soon).

    So yeah. Not a lot of time nor support. Overall, by the end of the day, I'm happy to go to bed by 10pm since I'm exhausted. This weekend has actually been a 'do-nothing' weekend (well, besides cleaning). It's the first time in almost a month that I've had some time to some-what relax. I won't get another one for about another 2 weeks.
  10. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I'm glad you got a small break this weekend.