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Preteens often have trouble understanding the phrase "pick up your room." Somehow their young minds hear this as "blah blah blah." This can easily result in your losing your patience, and perpetuating a very frustrating cycle. Take heart! The parents of preteens on iVillage have some proven ideas to motivate kids.
• "I use Post-It notes on my daughter's door to list three or four things I want her to do, and this really helps. She told me she likes the lists and even crosses each job off when it's done. I have found it helps to make the jobs specific so it's not so overwhelming. Instead of 'clean up your room,' I write, 'pick up all your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper,' 'vacuum carpet in your room,' or whatever needs doing most. I have even tried lists of homework when she got behind and had so much to do that she didn't know where to start. She helped me write down all the assignments she hadn't finished and I told her just to start from the top and do one at a time, not to worry about the others until one was done. Once we made the list she saw that it really wasn't going to take as long as she thought."
Make it Easy for Them to Remember
• "My 12-1/2-year-old stepson always uses 'I forgot.' A previous counselor said that they do indeed forget because it's not important to them; what is important to them they don't forget -- like their favorite TV show. We had to resort to some form of punishment to help him remember. For example -- he's supposed to write down homework assignments. Every day he doesn't write it down in his assignment book, a dollar is taken off his $6.00 allowance. The first week he ended up with $3.00; the next week he remembered every day. Money is very important to my stepson. We had to get to him through something he cared about."