Your kids are in bed, finally! It’s time to sit down after a long day of work and rest, right? Only the problem is there is no place to rest, because there are toys and kid clutter everywhere. An endless stream of toys and you have two choices, ignore it or spend the next hour picking it up and putting it away. Who wants to live like that??? I sure don’t and that is why I taught my kids to clean up their toys so I don’t have to. All you need is this simple 3 step strategy that will teach your kids to pick up their toys.
Step 1-Teach Your Kids that Work Comes Before Play
To teach your children that work comes before play you have to find something they want so badly that they will clean up their toys to get it. In our house the prize is a TV show. We limit the amount of TV time our kids get so TV is a treat. Our kids know that before they can “play” (watch a show), they have to work by picking up their toys.
Step 2-Praise Your Kids For Their Work
All kids loved to be recognized for their accomplishments. Especially if the task they achieved helped their parents in one way or another. Since the time they were little I have always praised my children for doing a good job at putting their toys away. You don’t have to be over the top about it, a simple “you did a great job at cleaning that up” or “this room looks so nice” will do. This small amount of praise has really paid off. My kids often pick up their toys now without prompting.
Step 3-Set Consequences
No parent likes to give consequences, but it is a necessary part of the process. If your children are not picking up their toys then they need to have consequences. In our house, there are two possible consequences for not picking up your toys when asked. The first consequence is we take the kids’ toys away for a short time. The second consequence is the loss of a privilege such as TV time.
Things to remember
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Clean up time does not have to be perfect. As long as your kids do their best and make an effort is all that matters. The older they get the better they will be at cleaning up.
Be a good role model. Help your kids cleanup. Show them how to clean up and where to put things.
Let your kids clean up to music of their choice. My kids request cleanup songs from our Amazon Echo Dot. I also have taught them these simple clean up songs. “Cleanup, cleanup, everybody, everyone, cleanup, cleanup, cleaning up is so much fun” or “Cleanup, cleanup, everybody everywhere, cleanup, cleanup, everybody do your share.”
Make sure every toy or item has a place to go. If not, make some time to declutter or reorganize. Get rid of old toys, broken toys, or toys with missing pieces.
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