Recently, I asked you all who cleans up the toys in your house and the majority of you said that the adult does. I followed up by asking if you wanted to be the one picking up toys or if you wanted your child to put away their own toys and you all said YES to having your kids do it!
I have a whole course on this coming out soon that will help you completely transform the way clean up happens in your house (make sure you’re on my email list!). Here’s one strategy that’s a great starting point!
MAKE IT FUN
I heard that phrase a lot as a teacher. “Just make it fun and the kids will enjoy it!” — Uhh great, thanks, I already knew that. Everyone enjoys things they like more so HOW do I make it fun?? Here’s my hack: figure out what motivates your child and then find a way to incorporate that! Some kids are competitive, others love to organize, some love to count and others like to track their progress. Here are 5 ways to make picking up toys fun.
- Race the clock
- Sort by color
- Use a sticker chart
- Use counting
- Sort by bin
ONE: RACE THE CLOCK
Is your child competitive? Do they like to race you or their siblings? Do they love to “win”? If so, this is a good one for them! Set a timer at the end of play time but still during their allotted play time and have them race to put everything away before the timer goes off.
TWO: SORT BY COLOR
Does your child enjoy organizing? I always had a handful of kids who LOVED to organize things. This was their jam. Have your kids pick up all the blue toys first, then all of the pink toys, then the yellow, and so on.
THREE: USE A STICKER CHART
Does your child love to see their progress? Do they love stickers? This is the one for them, then! It could be as simple as a piece of paper with 21 boxes or as fancy as this one. Each time they pick up all the toys within the expected timeframe they earn a sticker. Celebrate when they fill a row!
FOUR: USE COUNTING
Do you have a child who LOVES math and counting or simply loves hearing their own voice? Show them how to count out groups of 10 toys. Have them make groups of 10 then put away each group one at a time.
FIVE: SORT BY BIN
Organization lovers once again. Does your child like to pick out details? Do they want to add “just one more color” to their drawing or one more piece to their Lego masterpiece? Have them pick up toys based on which bin/storage container they go into. Have them start this way by doing one bin at a time.
- Having the kids clean up means it will take longer. Give them plenty of time.
- Set them up for success. It does take some effort from you up front to make sure you’re setting them up to win. But once they’ve done it a handful of times successfully they’ll be ready to do it on their own.
- Be flexible. If they get off track but they’re still being productive that’s okay. If they call this out you can tell them that overall the goal is cleaning up, and if they do it a different way and the job still gets done that’s okay.
- Reach out to me with questions! email@example.com