Picking Up Their Toys
Getting kids to pick up their toys and keep their play space clean doesn’t have to be a daily struggle.
- Start by keeping only thought provoking toys. Things that spur imagination. Toys that can be played with together in many different ways. Blocks can be used by a three-year-old in one way, and will be used in different context by a six-year-old.
- Choose containers that are appropriate for your child. You can find all kinds of storage containers for inspiration, look to your child’s school if you need a model. Make shelves easily accessible at the right height. If a kid can’t pick up the bin themselves, they won’t clean up or play with it.
- Don’t give too many choices. Smaller containers are easier than larger ones. It also gives you an opportunity to create theme baskets that go together. If a child pulls a basket down and can play with all the contents together, they are less likely to pull them all down. It can also mean they’ll find new things every week or two, which decreases boredom on those long afternoons alone.
You can teach a child good organization habits from the time they are small. Some kids are natural cleaners; others have a hard time letting go. In both cases, it’s good to have a box that is the “transition” box, which allows them to limit the keepsakes they choose to keep. As long as toys fit in a box, they can stay. But choices have to be made as to what stays in the box.
- Ensure every item in a room has a home. You can label containers to make it easy to understand where different things belong. You can include pictures for small children and incorporate words to help them with spelling. When kids ask for something, you know right where it is.
- Create categories. Blocks go with blocks. Art supplies stay with crafts. If you present each container with categories and themes, you can teach kids the crucial skill of sorting and organizing. You can make it a game to decide the proper home for everything in their room.
- Lists can also aid in clean up. Show them your shopping list and have them help you at the market. You can keep the list low on the refrigerator to allow them to add to it too. You can also use lists for many of your daily activities: packing for a trip, to do lists, home maintenance. Lists can be helpful in reducing the need for nagging for things to be done. They can also benefit your child to gain a sense of accomplishment as they see how they work together as a family to get things done.