A trick that worked wonderful for me today was:
About the time they are finished playing a one room or with a big project - it tends to coincide with snack time. So the rule is, no snack until you clean up. It actually worked slick today. It gives them an incentive. And then I make a plan with them what we will do after the snack, something they will like such as a movie, play outside, or if it's bedtime - we make plans for the morning.
Otherwise the kids just think the same as we do - I'm just going to mess it up all over again later. So why clean? Well, I just tell them that's they way mommy wants it. Then we can start a whole new adventure next time, (and daddy won't step on a toy and get angry at you.) :)
Some days I've sung the annoying Barney songs like "Clean up, clean up - everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up - everybody do your share." Anyone singing with me?
I grew up with the rule: Clean this up before you move onto the next thing. And I did as far as I remember. But my kids are like hers-
"I'm playing with that"
"But it's dinosaurs and blocks and barbies?"
"I'm playing with all of it!"
"Okay, whatever floats your boat!"
A quote from my husband's aunt:
"If the house isn't a mess, the kids must be sick."
#1 Priority - them having fun.
#2 - If mommy's happy, everybody's happy.
And how less stressed I become when I just let it go. It's only toys afterall. Of course, if it is time to go to bed, or we are at someone else's house I am firm on cleaning up. They have learn the words "obey" and "disrespectful." I tell them if they refuse to clean up, they'll get a spanking and STILL have to clean up. That ususally gets them moving.
Some other resources that relay these thoughts:
From Amazing Grace for Mothers, by Emily Cavins and Patti Armstrong.
"Bad: Keeping a clean home is no longer possible.
Antidote: You have a home."
"Bad: You're child doesn't listen to or obey you.
Antidote: Neither did God's first children."
From The Stay at Home Parent Survival Guide, by Christina Baglivi Tinglof
"Cleaning your house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."-Phyllis Diller.
There are the neat freaks, laid back, and the "clean for company" type families. (pp. 147-152) "For better or for worse, that's my family."
1. Prioritize your chores. "Do what's most important, than leave the rest until you just can't stand to look at it anymore."
2. Develop a cleaning system that you can live with.
3. If you little one exclaims "I want to help!" Let him or her. Show how proud you are of them.
4. Try to make house cleaning fun. [Don't make it a "chore" to to "chores."]
"Control toy clutter by limiting which rooms your child's playthings are allowed in...And stop picking up the toys three times a day; once, right before [bedtime/bath] is plenty. For the rest of the time, just kick them out of your way!"
This is an incredible book, with many other resources and tips. I recommend it.
Discipline in our home is usually this:
1. I ask nicely.
2. I ask again, just incase they didn't hear.
3. I count to 3, slowly. Sometimes they count along.
4. I get mad because they made me count. Sometimes I yell. (I know, I know.)
5. I send them to the corner for the minutes equal to their age.
6. In pure disobedient moments and sometimes when in public, we spank.
7. Then we kiss, hug, and tell them that we love them. We emphasize the point that they are our children and we know they can be better children, Little Mary's and Soldiers of Christ. We tell them that it hurts God when we do bad things.
8. Then, we start all over again.
Recommending "Kids need...Lots of Love and a Spanking" by Jamie Pritchett. Given to me by a homeschooling mother of 9 or so kids? I agree with most of it and use it's main principals in my discipline.
Well, off to bed for me.