Why are parents always so shocked when they go into their child’s room to find every toy out of the cupboard and chaos everywhere? When they are asked to put it all away parents are surprised that a child is asking where does it all go? I have been listening to parents asking their children to put away their toys and they say I have asked and asked and they still don’t do it. What they don’t realize is they haven’t taught their child how to clean up and take responsibility for their own belongings. In order to do this, you have to make the experience and process simple and fun. Your attitude should generally be one of gratitude because when we can take care of our belongings and make sure they go back into their box and all the pieces are together we earn the privilege to play with it all again tomorrow. The fact is, teaching kids to tidy up is a skill that takes perseverance and patience. Normally at times when we are trying to get dinner ready or baths run is not a good time. It is a skill that is necessary to be taught because it teaches our children to have respect for themselves and others too. So here are a few tips below to start your child off on the right track.
Here is what to do:
- Set at least 30 minutes aside for this technique.
- Tell your child in advance that you will be tidying up the bedroom or play area just before tea time. In some cases, before bath time. This is so your child knows what to expect.
- Bring a timer or some music to make the experience a fun one. They can race against the clock or dance as they put everything away.
- Make sure containers and storage boxes are labeled or visible for the naked eye to see where all belongings should go.
- You might want to use color codes for older children or pictures for the young.
- Now set the task of putting all the floor matter into small piles, so that together you can accomplish one module at a time and high five each other when each heap disappears.
- The general consensus is to make sure that all the Lego is together, or all the Hot Wheel cars are together and all the puzzles are in one place. As your child becomes older they may decide they want to separate their toys into their own compartments.
- All tracks and built pieces should not be completely broken up as I believe it is important for a child to see their achievements as motivation to build something else.
- If your child loses interest, make sure to take turns with your child and encourage them to place the items where they belong as you do so in return.
- Remember like any chore, you need to develop the muscle in the brain to become stronger. So, with practice and repetition your child will not only become more efficient but remember where everything goes and this task will become easier and not take so long.
NOTE: I think it is every important for your child to do so not only in your own home but when on playdates too. This teaches a respect for using other people’s belongings and taking care of them.
Copywritten by Jo Frost