Raising a toddler is such a wonderful experience. They are finally able to communicate quite well, they play independently at times, and they have incredible imaginations. Unfortunately, toddlers tend to make a mess as they go about their day. They will often pull out a toy, play with it for a bit, and then they will just drop the toy where they finished up. By the end of the day, there can be quite a mess in the home.
It’s helpful to teach a toddler how to help tidy up. Cleaning up before bed is a great way to keep the house organized each day. You can also schedule a couple of other times during the day where you clean up. This can take place before naptime or after dinner. Here are some tips for teaching your little one to tidy up.
Set a Good Example
Your toddler isn’t going to want to tidy up if it’s not something that they see you doing yourself. You can help them to clean up their toys. You should also be setting a good example by cleaning up your own messes. If a toddler is living in a messy house, that child isn’t going to understand why they need to take the time to clean up their items. Not to mention that stress levels tend to go down in a household when things are kept neat and tidy. You can set aside a time each day for everyone to clean up their belongings to help set the example for the toddler in the family.
Make a Game of Tidying Up
When it comes time to tidy up, see if you can get your child excited about the process. If your child is old enough to understand competition, you can compete with your child to see who can get a certain amount of items cleaned up first. As you race through the house, you’ll be making quick work of the cleaning up that needs to be done. By the time the house is all clean, you will both be laughing and bonding together. Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a negative experience that your child will dread.
Designate a Correct Place for Everything
Having a specific spot for each toy can keep your toddler’s playroom clean and safe. Having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place promotes organization. You can let your child pick out a fun toy chest that they will be motivated to put their items into when it’s time to tidy up. If you have various play areas throughout the home, you can invest in a few different toy organizational items. In addition to toy chests, there are cube organizers with various bins included. This allows you to keep items organized where they belong.
Use a Reward System
Many children understand that their parents want them to clean up after themselves, but there are children that simply don’t respond well unless they are getting rewarded in some way. An acceptable reward for a job well done cleaning up could be a small piece of candy, a cookie, getting to watch a television show or getting to stay up five extra minutes past bedtime. You can also set up a system where your child accumulates points each time that they clean. When they reach a certain amount of points, they can cash those points in for something they want. A reward system tends to work out better than having to discipline your child. Disciplining them when they don’t clean up will often make them resent the process of tidying up even more.
Teaching a child the basics of how to tidy up is just like teaching them how to use the potty, brush their teeth or sleep through the night. It takes patience and consistency. If you expect your child to clean up each day, you’ll need to tell your child each day that this is something they need to do. A good rule to have in your home is that one toy should be cleaned up before something else is pulled out. This gets a good flow of tidying up as they go along.
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