More often than not, we seem to be reminding our children that they need to clean up their toys. We try to live in well maintained homes, but many days when we have children under 5, keeping a tidy house seems impossible (well for me anyways!!!). As parents, we need to learn to find the right balance between encouraging our children to clean up after they are done playing and being too fussy about tidiness. Teaching our children to tidy up will take time, just like every other skill we are trying to encourage in them.
How can I teach my child to clean up?
- Set a good example
- Store your child’s toys so they are easily accessible
- Decide when it is time to clean up
- Before you go outside
- Playing blocks to painting pictures
- Snack or meal time
- Preparing to leave the house
- Give your child a warning
- Let them know they have 10 minutes left of play time then it’s time to clean up
- Calmly tell your child to begin to tidy up
- Give a second prompt if necessary
- Keep in mind the age of your child – you may have to physically help and show them how to put their toys away.
- Praise your child for cleaning up their toys/activities
- Make tidying up fun
- Play a game called “Beat the Buzzer” where you have to get all your toys cleaned up before the buzzer goes off.
- Gradually decrease your help
- If your child refuses or has a fit, follow through with:
- Telling your child what to do
- Guiding them through the steps of tidying up
- Applying consequences (Quiet Time/Time Out)
- Returning your child to tidy up
Adapted from Triple P Tip Sheet