Unfortunately my daughter has some of the same tendencies I have when it comes to cleaning. If I tell her to pick up her toys, she tells me, "It's too much. I can't do it." The child is overwhelmed. I know that feeling all too well. I look at the mess around the house and think, "It's too much. I can't do it." I try to turn off the inner voice in my head saying that, but it doesn't work very well.
For Zoe what has worked is to assign her very, very specific tasks. We call them her "missions". Some examples:
- Pick up ten toys.
- In one minute, find as many crayons as you can and put them in the box.
- Take this one item and put it away.
The last one is one we've been using frequently when working on specific rooms. I hand her something that is in the room that is not supposed to be in that room, and she takes it to the correct room. We both get more accomplished working together as a team than working by ourselves.
So, since yesterday's dining room mission was unsuccessful, we've started tackling it today. Zoe's out on a walk with Joel, and when she gets back we'll work some more. Then we'll tackle the kids' room since that is today's assigned room, even if we only do it for 10-15 minutes.