He Won’t Clean His Room?

I was at your seminar… with my husband, and I want to thank you for it. It is so exciting for me to have a plan in place for parenting my kids, so that I can govern my own emotions and not resort to yelling and other bad measures just because I don’t know what else to do. This gives me so much hope that there is a solution for every problem, and having those solutions and steps laid out for me is invaluable. My husband is also very excited about it, and for the first time he is actively engaged in creating a family vision and wanting to lead and mentor more in our home. This is a long awaited blessing!I’m having trouble figuring out a good consequence beyond time out for my 3 yr old. He and his brother who just turned 6 share a room. I gave them an instruction to clean their room this morning, and he left the room to play with toys before it was done. I told him, just now I told you to clean your room, and you said ok, and then you didn’t do it. You left your brother to do it all alone. That makes it take a long time for your room to get done, andthen it takes a long time before you can have breakfast! You chose not to clean so we need to have a time out. He went into time out nicely, and loved being praised for being good in time out after his 3 minutes were up. He promised to finished cleaning. But then he did it again. We repeated the process and he had a second time out, but he left time out before the time was up. Is it bad to use the same consquence twice in a row? Do consequences always need to get bigger? I don’t want to keep using time out, but I don’t have a chore to give him that would punish him either – he likes doing chores! I don’t know if he is big enough to understand SODAS, so should I just move to loss of privileges? Or should I plan a treat and take his snack privileges (we don’t usually have snacks or treats so it would require a trip to the store)?

This 3 year old is not following instructions, so he should be treated as out of instructional control. Walking away from an instruction is missing the the last two steps of following instructions. He should earn an immediate negative consequence if he chooses to do this. It sounds like you are doing great with time out. For his age I would probably use time-out as the first consequence in the rule of three; loss of snack for the second consequence, and loss of all privileges for 1 hour for the third consequence. (you should probably have a job jar with age appropriate jobs in it that he can pick out for his 1 hour.) If he is old enough to clean his stuff up, he is old enough to be kept busy for 1 hour following instructions from mom. By age 4 my children are ready to start earning extra chores from time to time as well as time out. They can do things.

The most important thing to do is to stick to your system. After he looses everything and you talk about and practice the appropriate way to follow instructions, then he should follow the original instruction, like clean the room, then follow through with the other things he has earned. Be sure to write them down, sothat you don’t forget to have him follow through.



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