Q: My little boy is always making a terrible mess of his room. I'm starting to get angry and yell at him and don't like this? What can I do?

A: Here are some ideas:
First, consider limiting the number of toys your child has to play with. I recommend that you pick his current favorite toys and fill one regular box. Box up the rest and put them in a closet or attic. In six months you can bring them down from the attic and let him pick out new ones and box up current toys not used. It will be like a second Christmas. A child will scatter all his toys no matter how many he has. Few toys make easy cleaning, many toys make a disaster.

Next, tell your child they have 10 min. to clean their room. After 10 minutes you will enter their room with a confiscation box and pick up any toys left. The child will at first, probably goof around and do little during the 10 minutes. When you enter the room begin by putting his most favorite toys in your box. The child will most likely become very upset yet motivated at that point to save his toys from your box. You can then either keep the toys for 2 days, or even better, show the child the toys he has lost and let him earn them back with small easy chores. If you are in a hurry, consider challenging your child in a game. In a fun way, bet him that you can put more toys (or other things like clothes) away than he can. Play it up laugh and have fun. If used occasionally this can motivate the child to get the job done quickly.

If you have lots of time and would like some peace and relaxation, and the child is age 6 or above, consider putting him in his room and telling him that he can't come out till the room is clean. Unless his is motivated to go somewhere like a friend's house, he will probably play more than clean. However, this can be a nice time to relax and enjoy the quite peace knowing that he is not making messes in other parts of the house. In about 20-30 minutes you can check on him. If he is still not done you could tell him you will help him clean as long as he is cleaning. If the child begins to play with the toys, repeat that you are there to help only as long as he is helping and then leave the room. When you are ready return to offer help again.

Try an idea and let me know how it goes!

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