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Old 11-27-2015, 10:10 AM
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Default Playroom Issues

Geesh. One of my DCG's who is 7 is giving me huge issues in the playroom. My rule is you may get out one thing at a time to play with and it must be put away before you get out anything else. I just went in there a few minutes ago and she had out tons of stuff and was "rearranging" the play room. I spoke to her about it, and since this has happened before, took away the playroom privilege for today now they must play in the living room. Of course now it is crying and drama from her (she is my drama queen) so she is in the crying spot where she has no audience. Of course I always end up cleaning up because she just wont put things back where they belong when she does this.

Have you had any kiddos like this and how did you handle it?
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:55 AM
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I have this issue with my daughter and the before school kid who are both 6. I implemented a reward chart. They clean up they get a stamp from a bingo blotter. After 5 stamps I go to the dollar store and get a small reward. This is the only behavior I reward because I know everyone hates to clean up!

I know most people hate rewarding for behavior that is expected and should happen, but those same people have no issue with punishment. Punishment in my opinion rarely works for the long term.

I also see cleaning up after children as part of my job description. I would rather that than have negative interactions all day or limit play to one toy.
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:06 AM
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Hmm, I'm torn on this one. I had SA dcks who used to love to rearrange the playroom from time to time; kept them very busy, the others would pitch in and work together, and they'd usually play in the newly rearranged playroom together nicely the rest of the day. BUT if that's not what's happening with you and all you're left with is a huge mess at the end of the day, then I'd maybe let her 'rearrange' a smaller part of the playroom, maybe even mark it off with duct tape or something. Give her a set time within to do this, then when there might be 10 minutes left(or whatever) set the timer and forwarn her that as soon as the timer goes ding, it'll be time to clean up.
I don't know, I think little girls love to play house by rearranging(I used to anyways) and as long as they play within the rules and don't just make it into a 'free for all' for the rest of the day, I'd say try to establish some rules you both can live with?
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:10 AM
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One other idea is to downsize the amount of toys you have available so that clean up is not that big of a deal? How many kids do you have and what are the others doing when she's busy doing the rearranging? I can see it ensuing chaos if all the kids choose to rearrange by just throwing toys everywhere.

I know during one summer, the younger SA dcks would do that outside too. They'd put everything(that they could possibly move) and make a huge dump heap with it all. I just let them have at it and told the littler ones they couldn't play on the pile because it wasn't safe to climb over. But then insisted everything be put away before they went home.
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:11 AM
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I think at 7 I might allow more things out than one thing at a time. At that age it would depend on how she is using the things as well. If she is using them constructively then I'd let it go BUT I'd have a clean up plan. For example, if she is playing store and wants to have stuffed animals, books, cars and dolls in her 'store' to sell then I'd let her do that. If she is just getting the animals out dumping them, playing with them for a few seconds and then leaving them lie and then doing the same with other toys then that is a different situation. At that age, and still, my granddaughter loves to organize things. I have let her and others rearrange the playroom because the littles didn't care. As long as it looks neat I really didn't care and it was in my comfort level. It depends on your comfort level with these types of things.

At 7 she surely should be putting it all away when finished though. With younger children when they wouldn't clean up I made a game of it. "Who can find something green to put away?" "Put everything with wheels away." Seven seems a little too old for that but it might be worth a shot. Maybe also reduce the amount in the bin. For example, is there a huge tub of legos when a smaller container would suffice? Once it is poured out, is it overwhelming to put away? Probably not, just throwing that out there.

I wouldn't put it away for her. That is just telling her that if she puts up a big enough fit, you'll eventually pick it up. Maybe leave her pile lie and give her one toy in a separate area such as the living room and tell her that is the ONLY toy she gets to use until the pile is put away. Every so often go to the doorway and say "Would you like to put the blocks away now?". If she does but leaves other things out then send her back to her one toy. A little bit later say "Would you like to put the markers away now?" and so on until everything is picked up. That's all I can think of for the moment.

P.S. I must have been posting at the same time as others as I see some of this was mentioned.
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:27 AM
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Well her rearranging is taking everything out and leaving it on the floor all over the room. The reason I don't allow more than one thing at a time right now is I am so tired of spending an hour or two a day cleaning, because when these two sister "pick up" they just throw stuff in a pile. If I could find a way to not have to spend my whole time after they leave at 8PM cleaning, I would be so much happier. Today I cleaned in there twice (they get here at 6 AM) so I won 't have to tonight. I don't know something needs to change one way or another.
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:38 AM
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Do you have a space to store a lot of your toys? Maybe you could just leave out a few things? Explain to them why you've done that and tell them when they can be more helpful with clean-up then you'll allow a couple more choices. At 6-7 they should be more responsible than that. I remember hearing from a training I think, to stop their world until they pick up. IOW sit them right beside their pile of stuff and don't them them move away until things are picked up.

Yeh that would drive me nuts too. I have 2yo-3 yos that do that now. Not so much piles of stuff but they'll have a couple books or babies or whatever in their arms and as they're walking through and something else catches their eye, they just let go of it no matter where they are. Constant trail of toys unless I am right on their butt asking them if they're done with what they dropped and to put it away.
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Old 11-27-2015, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Thriftylady View Post
Well her rearranging is taking everything out and leaving it on the floor all over the room. The reason I don't allow more than one thing at a time right now is I am so tired of spending an hour or two a day cleaning, because when these two sister "pick up" they just throw stuff in a pile. If I could find a way to not have to spend my whole time after they leave at 8PM cleaning, I would be so much happier. Today I cleaned in there twice (they get here at 6 AM) so I won 't have to tonight. I don't know something needs to change one way or another.
Well this suggestion isn't too PC nowadays but you could use a toy box. For things that have little pieces just don't put them out until they agree to clean it up. In other words, "You can play with the toys in the toy box and put them back when finished. If I see you putting them away in the toy box then I can let you play with the Legos." Then just introduce the things with a lot of pieces gradually as they learn to put them away.

A provider friend of mine had the plastic milk crates so I got some too. That way the 'toy box' doesn't hold too much so less to put away. I would bring out a crate and also have some things on a shelf. At least if she put them in the toy box that is step 1 on learning to put things away. Then graduate to the shelf. Although she should already do it the simple fact is that she isn't so I'd teach her to.
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Old 11-27-2015, 02:13 PM
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Most of children can follow rules in front of a teacher. So, I think the best way to solve the problem - to be in the same room with children most of time and constantly remind them about the rule. When they learn this rule very well a teacher can be out of the room for some period of time. There is one more way to avoid the mess. You can take ALL toys away. The kids will have nothing to make a mess. But I do not think that this is a good idea.
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Old 11-27-2015, 02:50 PM
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Most of children can follow rules in front of a teacher. So, I think the best way to solve the problem - to be in the same room with children most of time and constantly remind them about the rule. When they learn this rule very well a teacher can be out of the room for some period of time. There is one more way to avoid the mess. You can take ALL toys away. The kids will have nothing to make a mess. But I do not think that this is a good idea.
I don't like the idea of taking everything away, then they will be bored and find naughty things to do to keep each other occupied. I had a talk with them, and am allowing them back in the playroom. It is right off the living room, so I can see in at all times but there are some parts of the room where my vision is blocked due to shelving and such if I am not in there. Right now it is a privilege for the older kids to be in there. I don't allow the little ones in there alone. Keep the ideas coming because I know you all have great ones and have been through this before! I love the idea of allowing some free play in there, because one the 7 year old talks constantly even to herself if no one else so sometimes I need a break from the constant talking lol.
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:55 PM
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I need a break from the constant talking lol.
by my knowledge if you take a break now it will not help to solve the problem. If it would me ... I would prefer to continue talking about the rule, even more then did it before. I also never clean up a mess after children. They do it. Always. It doesn't matter how big mess is.
Punishment can help only temporally. I constantly demonstrate to children that breaking any rules here is unacceptable. As a result they stop to break my rules.
I don't take toys away, don't reduce amount of toys, don't punish. I teach them respect and follow my rules and directions. When they learn it I take a break.
I have 12 children here. 9 of them started my program three months ago. During the first two months I was talking non-stop. It is necessary to work very hard before to get a permanent result. If you get that result you can take a break. If you take the break too early you will need to start again from the beginning.
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Old 11-27-2015, 07:59 PM
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by my knowledge if you take a break now it will not help to solve the problem. If it would me ... I would prefer to continue talking about the rule, even more then did it before. I also never clean up a mess after children. They do it. Always. It doesn't matter how big mess is.
Punishment can help only temporally. I constantly demonstrate to children that breaking any rules here is unacceptable. As a result they stop to break my rules.
I don't take toys away, don't reduce amount of toys, don't punish. I teach them respect and follow my rules and directions. When they learn it I take a break.
I have 12 children here. 9 of them started my program three months ago. During the first two months I was talking non-stop. It is necessary to work very hard before to get a permanent result. If you get that result you can take a break. If you take the break too early you will need to start again from the beginning.
By break from constant talking, I meant letting her play in the playroom. The DCG talks constantly and sometimes I let them play in there while I am not in there to get a break from her constant talking. It wears me out!
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Old 11-28-2015, 02:56 PM
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I have one large and one small dedicated playroom. I do not leave that area unless they are sitting at the table waiting for snack! They use the math shelf while I make lunch and are seated at the table where I can see them at all times. My kitchen connects with my small playroom and this is where they eat. Generally over the years I've found I can not leave kids unattended. They will do stuff like you're talking about.
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Old 11-28-2015, 03:57 PM
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For a 7 year old you'd think you could leave them to play for a few minutes on their own. I have a 7 year old and I can trust her to play well in the playroom while I make lunch. I check on her every couple minutes, and I can hear everything. Most of the time she wants to hang out with me though, and talk, and talk, and talk Obviously I couldn't leave the two year old to play in there alone because she likes to dump, throw, and go. It depends on the age of the kids and if they've shown they can be trusted. But I'd certainly think that by 7 they could be trusted to follow the rules of the playroom and play independently in there for a few minutes. Thriftylady, do you have your toys organized into "centers" (areas) for the same type of toys? Like a Block center, housekeeping center, puzzles and manipulatives center, etc? If you do, it may help to take pictures of the toys and equipment (or clip art of that type of toys) and put a picture under each toy to show where it goes. For example, for the basket with mega blocks, you would hang a picture of mega blocks to that basket. For the shelf that holds the puzzles, you would put a picture of a puzzle on the space of that shelf where the puzzles go.
When I first did this for my class at a preschool I used to work at, I figured at clean up they would still just throw everything into piles or wherever they saw room. But I walked them through the centers pointing out the pictures and explained how it worked. I had to stay right on them for a couple days at clean up, but within the same week they were already putting the toys in the correct buckets an baskets and shelves. Pretty soon I could walk away to get lunch ready and leave them to clean up on their own. I had ages 2 1/2-5 in my class.

Last edited by Preschool/daycare teacher; 11-28-2015 at 04:04 PM. Reason: Edited to add
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:30 PM
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For a 7 year old you'd think you could leave them to play for a few minutes on their own. I have a 7 year old and I can trust her to play well in the playroom while I make lunch. I check on her every couple minutes, and I can hear everything. Most of the time she wants to hang out with me though, and talk, and talk, and talk Obviously I couldn't leave the two year old to play in there alone because she likes to dump, throw, and go. It depends on the age of the kids and if they've shown they can be trusted. But I'd certainly think that by 7 they could be trusted to follow the rules of the playroom and play independently in there for a few minutes. Thriftylady, do you have your toys organized into "centers" (areas) for the same type of toys? Like a Block center, housekeeping center, puzzles and manipulatives center, etc? If you do, it may help to take pictures of the toys and equipment (or clip art of that type of toys) and put a picture under each toy to show where it goes. For example, for the basket with mega blocks, you would hang a picture of mega blocks to that basket. For the shelf that holds the puzzles, you would put a picture of a puzzle on the space of that shelf where the puzzles go.
When I first did this for my class at a preschool I used to work at, I figured at clean up they would still just throw everything into piles or wherever they saw room. But I walked them through the centers pointing out the pictures and explained how it worked. I had to stay right on them for a couple days at clean up, but within the same week they were already putting the toys in the correct buckets an baskets and shelves. Pretty soon I could walk away to get lunch ready and leave them to clean up on their own. I had ages 2 1/2-5 in my class.
Sadly I don't have room for centers. I so wish I did! Every time I read about centers on here I get jealous! I do have a shelf of puzzles and games that they have to ask before they get down, because of the pieces and such. I let them play with them at will, but I like to know so I can supervise pick up of them.
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:49 PM
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Sadly I don't have room for centers. I so wish I did! Every time I read about centers on here I get jealous! I do have a shelf of puzzles and games that they have to ask before they get down, because of the pieces and such. I let them play with them at will, but I like to know so I can supervise pick up of them.
I know a great provider that has minimal, and I do mean minimal, space. She takes science boards and separates the three centers and rotates monthly...she has her daycare space in her dining room. Along the wall she will divide into three spaces with the science boards allowing the wall to be the backdrop barrier for all three centers. She is allowed to keep seven children. I like to take new providers to her house because they see that even the smallest space can be set up in centers. She limits the number to two that can be in each center. She has a small table and 7 chairs for the children to have meals on or do art work, etc. It is slightly away from the three centers. She also uses the science boards as a display board and can fold them up on the weekend for her family to use the dining room. Just sharing an idea!

Last edited by Annalee; 11-28-2015 at 06:52 PM. Reason: added
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Old 11-29-2015, 05:06 AM
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I know a great provider that has minimal, and I do mean minimal, space. She takes science boards and separates the three centers and rotates monthly...she has her daycare space in her dining room. Along the wall she will divide into three spaces with the science boards allowing the wall to be the backdrop barrier for all three centers. She is allowed to keep seven children. I like to take new providers to her house because they see that even the smallest space can be set up in centers. She limits the number to two that can be in each center. She has a small table and 7 chairs for the children to have meals on or do art work, etc. It is slightly away from the three centers. She also uses the science boards as a display board and can fold them up on the weekend for her family to use the dining room. Just sharing an idea!
It sounds great, yet I am having a hard time picturing it. I do use my dining room for daycare, but mostly for arts and crafts and of course for eating. I use my living room, playroom and dining room. Of course in the playroom are also lots of book cases for storage of toys and games. And the dining room has storage for food (tiny galley kitchen), and art supplies. I do let the older ones use the table for games and puzzles when I have little ones here who can't have the pieces.
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Old 11-29-2015, 10:19 AM
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A couple ideas:

Put everything where you want it, then take a picture of that shelf/area, and post the picture above the area. This is the guide or template for the children to put things back. "It should look just like this when you're done".

Give them work or play times, then give them a warning. "In 15 minutes, we will have breakfast/snack/art time. I will expect everything to be put back where it belongs before you join us". Then, give them another 5 minute warning. "Ok, clean up time, we eat in 5 minutes." If you have an timer they can see, better yet. This gives them fair warning.

Put on some clean up music? Even a 7 year old won't mind making it a little fun. It doesn't have to be "kids" music, just something up-tempo.

We complain that children now-a-days "don't know how to play" anymore because they're addicted to screens, but then we limit their play to one thing. They need to "make a mess" to get engrossed in good, deep play.

For things like Duplos/Legos, we always layed a sheet on the floor. They could dump them out, dig through them, etc, and when it was over, just pick up 3 corners and slide them back in the bin.

I would also have a "save spot" for things that they want to save, such as a Lego building. Obviously not forever, but there are some things kids like to work on over a few days. Maybe they can save things until Friday, and then ceremoniously dump it back into it's place (themselves, with forwarning, of course).

Last edited by Heidi; 11-29-2015 at 02:40 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:13 AM
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A couple ideas:

Put everything where you want it, then take a picture of that shelf/area, and post the picture above the area. This is the guide or template for the children to put things back. "It should look just like this when you're done".

Give them work or play times, then give them a warning. "In 15 minutes, we will have breakfast/snack/art time. I will expect everything to be put back where it belongs before you join us". Then, give them another 5 minute warning. "Ok, clean up time, we eat in 5 minutes." If you have an timer they can see, better yet. This gives them fair warning.

Put on some clean up music? Even a 7 year old won't mind making it a little fun. It doesn't have to be "kids" music, just something up-tempo.

We complain that children now-a-days "don't know how to play" anymore because they're addicted to screens, but then we limit their play to one thing. They need to "make a mess" to get engrossed in good, deep play.

For things like Duplos/Legos, we always layed a sheet on the floor. They could dump them out, dig through them, etc, and when it was over, just pick up 3 corners and slide them back in the bin.

I would also have a "save spot" for things that they want to save, such as a Lego building. Obviously not forever, but there are some things kids like to work on over a few days. Maybe they can save things until Friday, and then ceremoniously dump it back into it's place.
I think this is good advice. my group of olders will ask if they can get stuff out and I will tell them that as long as they will clean up after then they can. I don't limit toys out but will ask if they are still playing with the other. If they are done then it needs to get cleaned up. Lots of time warnings and natural consequences if they don't follow through with the cleanup aspect.
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