How to teach kids to clean up?

Liz - posted on 01/30/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Hi, I have a set of b/g twins that will be three in June and a son that will be one in July. What are the best ways to approach teaching children how to clean up toys after they are done playing with them? What methods have you found that work best?

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Sarah - posted on 09/16/2011

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I have a 2 1/2 year old boy and am teaching him to tidy up after himself too! I try to make it a game while cleaning. If we are picking up his toys for example I make it into a basket ball game and have him toss or place toys in his bucket to see how many he gets in. When he makes a mess, like the other day he decided to throw all the burp cloths out of the drawer I keep them in, I have him help me pick them up and we sing a clean up song while doing it. Every child learns different, you just have to find what works for you and your child

Bethany - posted on 04/19/2011

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I have one daughter, she's just turned 2. Until recently, I would tidy up for her, but now she's more physically capable, she tidies up at each 'transition', like before a meal, or bath, or whatever.

My biggest draw-card at the moment is the TV. I didn't let her watch TV until just recently. We now have a free preschooler channel with no ads, so I let her watch play school, etc and she's wrapped. BUT the living room, where the TV and her toys are needs to be spotless for her to watch TV and much of the time, I find she ends up playing with what she's tidying and never gets to the TV part of the deal, which is fine with me. If she does eventually get everything tidy, she gets to watch TV.

I help her by suggesting where things go and some tasks are a bit overwhelming, and we do those together, but we have lots of little toyboxes and drawers, so she knows where they all go. It's just something she knows has to happen and I never budge.

We had some little friends over the other day and the room was wall to wall toys (thanks to the little visitors) and I turned the TV on for them and Charlotte is sitting up on the couch waving her arms saying "all messy all messy" as she knows she can't watch TV if there are toys out. So cute. I said it's ok, it is for the visitors, not for her, and that made sense to her.

She gets a kick out of puting her cup andplate in the sink, and puting her cutlery on the table before dinner. She's a bit of a Mummy's helper and always has been, so I don't know if it's an individual thing, or if it's because I've always involved her as she's my only child. She's been 'helping' me in the kitchen ever since she could stand up on the step ladder, and loves her little broom and mop and dustpan. Any stick becomes a vacuum. It would have been much harder with twins, to monitor them and involve them without it taking 10 times as long to get things done.

I must say the best incentive to her helping me is the chance to be with me. Get down with them and make it a team sport would probably be the best bet. Time with mum is the thing a lot of kids value most, esp. if you've another younger child to.

Heather - posted on 01/31/2011

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The best thing I have found is to have them start 'helping' you. Show them where things go and ask them to help. At that age they usually love to help. Then once they know what it means to clean up, you can ask them to do it with minimal to no help.

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