There’s nothing mums hate more than having to clear up their kids toy clutter. But what if we could tell you that there is a way you’ll never have to tidy up their messes again…
That’s right! As a parent you should try to set some ground rules – some simple ways of making clearing up fun and easy for them so that you’ll never have to stand on a toy again. Here are just a few ideas:
Stick to a routine
At pre-school, kids learn that toys are picked up after playtime. At home you can do the same “before dinner, we’ll need to put your books back on the shelf” or “before getting out a new set of toys put your existing collection back.” Make sure you teach your kids to help each evening to clean up what they have taken out. By reinforcing these rules and reminding your kids means that they’ll soon pick it up and have no trouble doing it themselves.
Show them how it’s done
Toddlers can get confused with commands like “clean up your toys”. That’s a concept that doesn’t come naturally. It would be more beneficial for you (the parent) to show your children what you mean. Spend some time with them and talk them through what needs to be done when they finished playing – then ask them to help you. The more times they do this with you means they’ll eventually pick it up themselves.
Tip: To make it even easier for them, you can use picture labels to show your children where toys belong. Use lots of individual pictures to avoid confusion.
The one in, one out rule
It’s important to make sure that your children all have suitable storage in their bedroom and/or playroom for all of their personal possessions – after all every toy needs a home. Then make sure you teach them the ‘one in, one out rule’ – whenever they bring something new home to keep, something old has to go. It’s amazing how much tidier their rooms will be when all of their stuff has a place to live.
Use boxes/bins to put things away rather than just piling them
Toy boxes or a pile in the corner can be tempting because it’s easy to throw everything in at once, but it really just leads to more chaos because you have to actually dump out the whole box to find all of the toys you’re looking for rather than just being able to pull out individual containers. Try to teach your kids that each of their toys has its own home – when things have a home, you know where to put them back quickly and easily.
Just remember, while you may find it easier and faster to organise their toys for them – it’s better to teach them these habits while they’re young so that you aren’t the one left to do all the dirty work.