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Old 08-07-2010, 01:45 PM   #1
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MESSES!!!

Ok so..I have an almost 3 year old boy who is really sweet. He's a good boy but he's really,...curious which I'm sure is normal. My problem is that he makes the biggest messes! I dunno what to do. Some days I feel like my eyeballs are going to pop out. He makes a mess,..and while I'm cleaning that up he runs and makes another mess and I'm following him around all day cleaning up messes. Today I gave him an applesauce cup and he dumped it out on the floor so as I'm cleaning that he goes in his room to play only he doesn't play,..he pulls EVERYSINGLE DIAPER, insert, and wipe I have out into the floor. I have a lot of diapers BTW so it was a HUGE mess. So I'm cleaning THAT up and he goes into the kitchen and dumps out all my sewing stuff onto the floor AHHHHHHHHHHHH This happens like a couple times a week and SOME days it's when we are trying to get ready and out the door and those days I want to just break down crying in a closet and renounce mommyhood. I dunno what to do. Is this something that goes away ANYTIME soon?! He'll be 3 in Sept. Whenever he gets into something he's not supposed to I put him in time out. and I explain why before and after he's done and he gives me a hug and tells me he's sorry,..but then he goes and does something else! help?!

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Old 08-07-2010, 02:18 PM   #2
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Re: MESSES!!!

My (now 3yo) son went through that phase too! It's REALLY hard, but he did grow out of it. They don't mean to make a mess, they are just exploring and have low impulse control at 2.5 The other factor for MY son (may or may not be for yours) is that he needed attention. While I was cleaning mess 1, I couldn't give him the attention he needed, so he got into something else, and the downward spiral continued!

Here's what I did to get through the phase - it didn't work perfectly, but it did help. I would see mess #1 and try to involve my son in the clean up. Maybe he could fetch a rag to help wipe the applesauce. I tried to stay calm and just explain that, "Whoops, messes happen, but then we need to clean them up." I'd verbally walk him through what we had to do - wipe, put the rag in the laundry bag, mop, wash our hands. That gave him more incentive to be more careful with the applesauce next time too, because now he witnessed and experienced the consequence. Then I'd do my best to give him attention right away, like sit down on the floor and play with him. If there's a mess he couldn't help with (like broken glass), I'd ask him if he could sit quietly on the couch and watch a short video or have him go read books in his room while I got it cleaned up.

Sometimes, after a mess spiral, we'd both take a "time out", then I'd tell him not only about not getting into things he shouldn't, but I'd also explain that the messes were draining my energy, and that I need my energy to do fun things like play with blocks or take him to the park. I'd ask him if he could think of a way to give me more energy, and sometimes he'd come up with a hug or suggest we have a healthy snack together.

Another tip is to set out really interesting activities to keep him occupied, Montessori-style, especially if I know I'm going to need computer time or housework time when I can't give him 100% of my attention. I'll set out 2 cups of rice on a tray and teach him to pour/scoop/spoon transfer it. Or a small pitcher of water and cups on the kitchen floor, on a beach towel. Or some cut out paper shapes, a blank sheet of paper, and a glue stick. Or a small handful of beads (now that he keeps things out of his mouth) and a mini broom and dustpan to practice sweeping. Or I'll set up a blanket fort under the dining room table and put pillows, stuffed animals, and a flashlight in there.

Oh, and sometimes (this is hard), the best thing to do to stop the mess cycle is to JUST LEAVE IT! Sometimes you can't (like slippery food on the floor), but the diapers you could leave and get them later. I recently taught my son to tell me in a kind voice, "I need some attention please," which I realize may get annoying, but I prefer him verbalizing his need instead of just trashing the house or throwing a huge fit.

He really seems to "get it" now, so hang in there! It will pass! Good luck
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: MESSES!!!

Oh mama! I am sorry-- you sound so overwhelmed! Hugs! My 32 month old dd is the same way--into everything constantly. I think at this age self-control is still in early development. I hardly have anything within her reach that is dangerous or messy. Though she has gotten the dipes out everywhere once or twice, lol. Have you tried setting him up with a fun activity while you clean up a mess? Or, what I do is ask her to help me clean it up, putting all the dipes away or the puzzle pieces everywhere or whatever. Then I know where she is and what she's doing. She is starting to learn that messes have to be picked up. Does she always help? No, maybe 75 percent of the time. Does she do it "right"? Not usually, lol, but it is learning process! I encourage her every step of the way. I look forward to reading other posts on this topic! Have a good day!
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:32 PM   #4
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Re: MESSES!!!

At 3 years old, he needs to be helping clean up the messes. I make DS and DD pick up their messes, and help them if they need help. He needs to learn to clean up after himself. It will make him not want to make such a mess next time.
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:32 PM   #5
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Re: MESSES!!!

Oh my gosh mama...can I be your support friend!?!?!

I need help too! My son is 1 1/2 and it is incredible what he can get into and what he can make messes with. My 5 other kids are angels when it comes to messes then he is...

My house has never had to be cleaned more and I just feel so hopeless. I feel like I can spontaneously cry throughout the day. I feel like what's the point in cleaning.

Its like a bomb went off here everyday.

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Old 08-07-2010, 02:42 PM   #6
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Re: MESSES!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisnsteph1022 View Post
At 3 years old, he needs to be helping clean up the messes. I make DS and DD pick up their messes, and help them if they need help. He needs to learn to clean up after himself. It will make him not want to make such a mess next time.


I am starting to make my 20 month old DD help clean up. Kids needs to learn cause and effect; if she dumps a cup of applesauce she has to clean it up. Not so much fun when you have to do it yourself. Also, teaches responsibility.

At almost 3 he should be capable enough to mop a wet spot or stack some diapers.

Good luck! I know it can be frustrating.

(PS, I dont wanna come off as a meany but I think its really important for kids to learn these lessons early. It will carry him through life)
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:09 AM   #7
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Re: MESSES!!!

Thanks mamas! I do try to get him to help me clean up messes sometimes..Like with the diapers I made him hand them to me. I ALWAYS make him clean up his toys though. I suppose I should try to involve him more and if it's something that he can't be involved in I should try to set him up with something interesting while I'm cleaning. My husband is a neat freak and it's so stressful on me when I'm following DS around all day and then I don't get the "real" chores out of the way like vacuuming and dishes and all that. My husband comes in and thinks I've been sitting around all day and of course that makes me even more stressed. (kinna makes me want to pinch his head off too lol) I know this stage will pass. DS has ALWAYS been a very CAPABLE child in that he figures out how to do what EVER he wants (make any MESS he wants lol) child safety things,..barriers,..whatever..mean nothing to him. And now he's able to undo zippers, buttons, locks,..you name it he can get into it and it's able to be poured out,...that's whats happening lol. I've always heard that the more curious kids are usually smart so that's what I'm hoping!! lol.
I love the suggestions on interesting things for him to DO Anyone else have suggestions for me!!?!?!!
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:36 AM   #8
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Re: MESSES!!!

I have a son about the same age and it is good to hear that he is not the only little mess maker. My dd made messes but not the same way. She was confinable when I need to clean up things. He will get out of anywhere I put him and putting things up high doe s not really work as he is a climber as well. On the other hand, the kid loves to clean. Fav toy, a dustmop! So when I need to clean something or organize the diapers he and sis got into again I give them rags and a squirt bottle of water and have them clean the walls or floor. They'll stay busy that way for a while.
But he hates the vaccuum cleaner and has dismantled three in the last few months. Nothing permanently damaged but, come on kid, I am tired of putting them back together.
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