Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody do their Share...

I don’t know about you but my kids seem to make a huge mess…daily. They take out virtually every toy we own, and then they keep moving onto the next thing.  At first I tried the old “you can’t play with the next toy until you clean up what you are currently playing with” routine.  HAHA…in theory that worked for about a week and then slowly that rule went out the door. That may work for some (so keep it up if it works for you!) but I needed to find some ideas that would work for my kids. 

My 18 month old
I know that some might feel that kids should just learn to do chores and pick up toys because that is what is expected.  And while I do agree with this, my kids are still little so it’s a training process and they need to learn this but with some reward. Even if the reward is verbal or a hug.  As they get older, expectations will become different…and so will the reward.

Here are some suggestions:

·      You can use some fun ideas below to make the process easier.
·      Ask your child to only pick up one or two things so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Give specific instructions on what they need to clean up.  Don’t just say, “OK, go clean up!”  Tell them exactly what needs to be done, a little at a time.
·      Have bins for toys to go in that are reachable for kids. Even better…organize them by items that are similar.
·      However they clean up is fine. If it is just thrown in the bin or on the shelf just deal with it because you don’t want to start fixing it in front of them and discourage them from doing it again. (If there is a need to reorganize, don’t do in front of them.  Find time to sneak away and fix it later.)
·      Reward them for the effort. I use a marble system and they get rewards after five marbles earned. Whatever works for you and your child, but seriously…what kid doesn’t like a reward even if it is a hug and a big “thank you”!!
·      Limit the amount of toys out at a time, not just one a few can be out. This will help with any cleanup time.
·      Give yourself some time to clean up so that it is not a rushed experience to try to get out the door. For me that is where it can cause a problem or even a melt down.
·      Give a warning time so they know playtime is ending and the cleanup begins!
Say Thank You!! Make sure they know that you are proud of them for helping and cleaning up. For my daughter that really goes a long way.


Download the list:
Fun Clean Up Ideas.docx

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Lasso the Moon


  1. Great ideas! My little guys love helping clean up! We'd love to invite you to join us at Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes! I know everyone will love your great kid-friendly ideas! Have a great weekend!
    Mackenzie :)

    1. Mackenzie,
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I would love to come and share. I got a chance to check out Cheerios and Lattes and I loved it! I am going to become a regular. SO glad you found me, have a great week and see you Saturday!:)

  2. Great ideas! It's so easy to be impatient and cross at tidy up time. I will try to remeber these tomorrow...

    1. Ruth
      I agree, in our house there were many times I became impatient and needed to think of ways to make that task more fun and less stressful. Hope they help!


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