Q: My daughter is 7.5 years old and destroys her room while playing. She does not clean up or put away her things. I am tired of telling her the same thing everyday. I help her clean up, but her habits do not seem to change. How do I get her to put things away when it is time to stop playing? She leaves her clothes, food wrappers, juice boxes , toys, markers, books, everything on the floor and does not try to put things away in its place. I show her how, but it remains a mess.

A: I hate to say it, but this is about your expectations -- not her room cleaning. Get used to it -- most kids just won't clean their rooms automatically without some prodding and rewards along the way. Create a chart (with her help) with reminders on what you expect from her. When she follows the list -- she gets a small reward. Nothing fancy or expensive is necessary -- even special time with you can work. And try to be unemotional about it -- you'll only get yourself upset, and it won't make her a better room cleaner.

Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg



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