Since Megan was a little bitty thing, we have had issues with cleaning up. She is very obedient and cleans up right away...the problem is that I then find things hiding behind chairs, under beds, and in the closet. My first thought when Megs was little was that she just had too much stuff (go figure!). So, we got rid of stuff.
Then, I thought she needed better ways to organize. So, I invested in cubby shelves and baskets so that it would be simple to put things where they belong. It works for the boys--they almost always put their cars in the car bucket, their legos in the lego bucket, etc. But my Megan still has issues.
So, a few years ago, I started a new thing--every once in a while, I start at one corner of her room and go around the entire room, emptying everything and putting everything that was not in the right spot in the middle of the room for her to put away. I figured that eventually she would get tired of that and start putting things away.
Nope. So, now I have an 8 year old with a heart of gold who still 'hides' things so that she can clean up faster. Today, after she reassured me 5 times that everything was in its place and nothing was hiding, I decided to take a little bit more drastic measure. Instead of putting everything on the floor for her to put away, I put it in a laundry basket to "give away."
Of course, when her Awana book and one of her favorite shoes and several 'special' things ended up in the basket, she started frantically trying to put things away, crying. It about broke my heart, but I stayed firm.
As I was sorting through the basket to retrieve the items that don't belong to her, including BOTH pairs of Josyan's tennis shoes, which she had hidden in her closet--why??, in come Tristan and Josyan. Quickly realizing Megan's dilemma, both boys start helping her put away the toys in the basket. I told them they had until I was done putting away the other things that didn't belong to Megan to get as much as they could. I have to tell you that I have never been so proud of my boys. They were helping their sister just because they love her. Wow!
By the time I was done (I confess I took my time), there were only a few things left in the basket, which I put into a ziploc. Every time I find her room spotless, she gets to retrieve one of her toys. If I find anything out of place, we do the basket again.
We had a nice conversation about consequences. Like that it doesn't really take less time to cut corners, because then you have to do it all over again. Besides, if you don't put things where they belong, you will have a hard time finding them later. And Mommy needs to help Megan figure out how to be responsible, and if this doesn't work, we really will have to get rid of things. Because we need to take care of what we have.
I hope I'm not the only mom who has a 'hider'--and I hope that maybe this will help those moms with some ideas for taming the hiding monster. ;-)