I just tripped on a monster truck (maybe?) and did a face plant on my living room floor. As I sat up, I wondered... How can I get my kid to tidy up more often? Which prompted me to write this post, after doing a bit of research. I've also incorporated a lot of my own experiences and thoughts, but feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below. Let's make it fun for the kids to clean up and maybe we will do less face plants! After all, toddlers love anything that is a game.
Quality over Quantity
From experience, toddlers don't do well if you are on them several times a day to clean up. Instead, make it part of your regular routine—at bedtime or right after dinner. Incorporating it into a daily routine with a fun song or something you do together helps identify tidy up time as something enjoyable and before you know it your toddler will be begging you for clean up time!
Rome Wasn't Built In a Day—Be Flexible
When your daily clean up time rolls around, your kiddo may be building a block tower or putting together a puzzle. Try to be a little flexible and leave things like that be so he or she can continue it the next day. Otherwise they will dread clean-up time. Of course, don't let the "I'm not finished that!" apply to everything in the room.
There's A Place for Everything
In my house, different bins and shelves are for different toys. My toddler loves sorting things out into the according spots, so I am sure your kids will be the same. If they know there is a designated space for everything, it will make clean up more fun and easier on everyone.
I have also learned, that if I want my son to clean up I also have to clean up. If I sit there and direct him to tidy up his toys, it never gets done. Instead, I tell him it is time to tidy up and I get down to business as well. He sees me sorting the toys into their according places and he automatically pitches in.
Praise, Praise, Praise.
While you can't really expect perfection, you still need to praise your child for doing as you asked and helping out. After clean up, I sometimes find a Hot Wheels car or two under the couch - but at least he tried! With praise involved, your child will look forward to cleaning up and pleasing you. Hopefully this extends into their teenage years!
Have any helpful clean-up tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below, or join the chat over on our Facebook page.
Main Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass