Raising Davis: How do you get kids to pick up after themselves?



Estimated Reading Time 2 Minutes
When I was six, I asked my mother, “Why do I have to make my bed
when I’m just going to mess it up again tonight?” Last week, Davis asked
me the same question. Sigh. The six-year-old in me could relate. 
As
a responsible adult who juggles work and domestic engineering, I am
only too aware of the slippery slope of untidiness that starts with not
making your bed. Next thing you know, the dishes are piling up in the
sink, the laundry is collecting and the producers of Hoarders are
considering you as their next candidate! How do you explain that to a
six-year-old? 
Davis is a far tidier and more
organized child than I was. He takes pride in his room looking clean and
tidy. I often don’t have to remind him to tidy up. There is, however,
one problem. Davis is sentimental about everything. He keeps every
drawing, old worn out clothes, shoes and anything found in a Kinder egg.
He just can’t part with it. I have had to be sneaky about discarding
his old things. 
I have an “art bin” for the
mountains of art work from school, paper airplanes and kids’ menus from
restaurants. When he puts something in the bin, he is sure it will be
there forever. What he hasn’t yet noticed is that the pile in the bin
never gets any higher. For the last four years, I have kept throwing out
from the bottom of the pile so that the most recent stuff is always on
top. It is a magical art bin! 
I clean out the
toy room and all the precious stuff collected in his bedroom when he
isn’t home. I don’t throw out anything in front of him because he gets
really upset. He doesn’t miss it when it disappears in his absence. 
It’s
not all about his personal possessions, either. When we chopped down a
tree in our yard last summer, he was devastated to see it go. 
We are working on getting him to throw useless things out, but it’s slow going. Maybe he and I should watch the next episode of Hoarders together and then have a chat about that slippery slope! 
To read more of Meghan’s Mommy Diaries, visit raisingdavis.com or follow her on Twitter @raisingdavis.

Meghan Bradley is a full-time sales rep and mother of Davis, 6. and stepmother to Madison and Mackenzy, 15.

Originally published in ParentsCanada, April 2012

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