clean up toys

If you enjoy cleaning but never having a clean house, parenting might be for you.

Or how about this one: “Cleaning with children is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.”

But parents, it DOES NOT have to be that way. Kids are totally capable of cleaning up after themselves!

Do you have to train them to do it? Yes. Is it going to be perfect every time? No. But it can be done.

Want to teach your kids to clean up toys without constantly hounding them to do it? Here are 6 tips to get you started.

1. Think Like a Preschool Teacher

Ever notice how your kid’s teacher can get a class of twenty 4-year-olds to clean a room in under five minutes? And somehow you can’t get your two kids to clean up their own toys?

A preschool teacher knows that the key to a clean space is routine and making the job fun.

If cleaning is an expected part of the day, there is less likely to be grumbling. And if the job is a game (thanks, Mary Poppins), it becomes something to look forward to.

2. Be the Change

If you don’t clean up your area, your children are not likely to do so either. Why should they?

Children learn habits by observing their caregivers. If you model cleaning up after yourself and tidying up regularly, they will pick up on it. They may not magically become mystical cleaning elves overnight, but it will make the job of guiding them easier.

3. Think Small and Specific

“Clean your room” is broad and overwhelming. “Put the Legos in the bin” is specific and doable.

Helping children break larger tasks into smaller pieces can make the task seem less huge and insurmountable.

4. Set Clear Expectations

When we all live in a home, it’s expected that we all contribute. This goes for kids, too.

Making it clear that cleaning up is not a choice, and that tidying up is a requirement, not a request, will go a long way to getting the cleaning done.

5. Make it a Game

“Can you clean up before this song ends?” “Who can pick up the most cars?”

Making things fun goes a long way into making things habitual. If children connect cleaning to fun and good emotions, they are more likely to continue doing it on their own.

And who among us doesn’t like a good jam while cleaning up?

6. Use Logical Consequences

Some parents call it the toy fairy, or toy jail. But regardless, the idea is the same.

If toys are left out at the end of the day, they are scooped up and put into a bin, from whence they must be rescued by additional deeds of cleanliness.

This makes it a game, but also gives logical consequences for actions (or inactions).

Can Kids Clean Up Toys? Yes!

With consistency, ingenuity, and a little creativity, you can have kids who actually clean up toys when they are done playing. It takes patience, and consistent effort (which is perhaps the hardest part), but you can do it!

Need a little extra help getting your house spic and span? Get a quote today!