Getting a 3-year-old to clean up?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2011
Getting a 3-year-old to clean up?
2
Mon, 06-03-2013 - 4:39pm

Help!  My three-year-old WILL NOT clean up.  Not if it's a game, not if there are treats, not if there are dire threats (of losing his night-time vitamin).  I'm at a total loss.  Monkey and Mayhem (5 and 18 mos) will clean up, but not Monster.  Any advice?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 06-03-2013 - 7:16pm

My son is 17 now so 3 is a long time ago but as I remember just getting him not to toss everything on the floor was a big accomplishment--forget cleaning up!  People call it "terrible twos" but I think age 3 was much worse.  I wonder if by now it's a control issue.  Maybe you should just forget about it for a while.  I'm sure at this age he really doesn't understand the threat of something not happening later either (and if you are giving him a vitamin for his health why would you withhold that as punishment?)  Kids that age only understand immediate consequences--like "if you don't put on your sweater, we can't go outside NOW."

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2011
Thu, 06-06-2013 - 4:19pm

We only use the vitamin loss as a consequence when they're cleaning up before bed, and because while yes, the vitamin is for the extra nutritional value, to him it's like candy.  He eats well enough that I'm not worried about him not getting enough vitamins and nutrients if he doesn't get his vitamin every night.

It could very well be a control issue; I hadn't thought about it that way.  Thanks for that idea!  I'll have to try coming at this from a different angle and see what happens.