My fiance and I often watch our 6 year old niece (well, his, but you know what I mean.) She will do her school work books by herself, occasionally asking for help. She also played Mario on our Nintendo, and plays Halo (very well, actually) on Xbox. She puts her baby dolls to bed after "feeding" them and everything else. She always makes sure the dogs and cats have food. She even helps do the dishes (again, she washed them well-cups & plates, basic, easy dishes...) She also helps me do the laundry & put the towels out on the line. All without (generally) complaining. At 6!
However, over this last summer, I have asked her to clean her room every couple of days, or to pick up her toys around the house & put them away. I don't ask her to do something every day, and I have only asked her to do all of her "chores" in 1 day once, when her cousin was here to help.
I know kids will clean anything except their bedroom...
But she screams & cries. I will try saying things like, "Honey, I know you don't want to, but don't you like it when you can play in a clean room?" etc, to which I get a reluctant, "Yes...." But then she will call my finace into another room and whisper, "Will you help me?"
Here's where the trouble begins.
I will tell her, "No, you can do it yourself. It only takes you a couple of minutes."
So instantly, I'm a big fat meanie in her eyes. Well the other day, my fiance got mad and said that she isn't old enough to have to clean her room by herself, and by telling her she can't have help, I am teaching her she cannot ask for help, etc. I told him that I don't expect her to vacuum or to even clean it perfect, just pick up her toys, and that I support her every time she asks for help on her workbooks or something. Then he pulls the whole, "Are you going to treat OUR kids like this???"
The whole thing turned out into this horrible fight... and it got me wondering...
Am I in the wrong to expect her to clean her room sometimes? Or am I really expecting too much out of her? I had to clean my room as soon as I was able to... and if I left stuff laying around the house, my parents would take it and hide it.
I don't think that 6 years old is too young to expect a child to pick up after themselves. My son is 20 months old, and already we are including him in picking up around the house. He follows me around everywhere anyway, so I tell him to get his cars, blocks, books, etc. and help me put things away. He likes being able to help mommy.
I wonder why your fiance is getting so defensive??? When he is responsible for keeping the house clean, then he can do it however he chooses. Since it is your job, you should do it how you choose, which - rightly so - includes your niece picking up after herself. I think it's great that you're teaching her responsibility.
When your fiance asks if you are going to treat your own kids like that, tell him yes, you intend to teach them responsibility. He needs to understand that you and he are a team, and any issues should be discussed privately.
Your expectations are not unreasonable. I can identify with your niece, however. My room was always such a mess that the task seemed insurmountable. A compromise might be helping her get started (I'll help you for the first five minutes, but then you'll have to finish cleaning your room while I make dinner.) Then during those 5 minutes, help her attack the task...first we put away all the Barbies, then all your clothes, then all the books. If she's cleaning up "one" thing at a time, progress might seem faster.
Sounds to me your guy is a bit clueless. I used to work in a daycare and the 2 and 3 year olds were picking up their toys. Sure its wasn't perfect (and you even said you didnt care if it was) but the point is they learned to pick up after themselves. By 6 they should know how to do simple things like clean their room WITHOUT YOUR HELP. If you finacee thinks that 6 is too young, i hope he is prepared to deal with a spoiled brat. He needs to back you not his niece. If she is old enough to play video games by herself then she is old enough to clean her room by herself