Kids 12 to 24 months aren’t too young to tidy up their own toys.
From as early as those first steps you can introduce simple rituals, “Oh, look! Doll, ball, lego!” Announce each new toy as you pick them up to bring to the corresponding basket. Most toddlers are generally happy to be your little helper. You can make it a playful game and use short, specific commands, such as “Bring me Dora,” or “Let’s pick up all our blocks.”
According to therapists, around 12 months is a good time to start tidying up toys together. If your child has the motor skills to pick things up and can understand what you’re asking, the earlier, the better. It’s so much harder to teach good habits later.”
Saving yourself the frustration of having to clean up after your kids later isn’t the only reason to encourage your toddler to keep her toys organized. The mindfulness of the activity develops the mid-prefrontal cortex that is associated with attention span, problem-solving, mood and body regulation.
With a little patience and consistent practise, your toddler will eventually make it a habit of her own.
If it’s important for your child to hold on to a certain toy he just can’t bear to put away, that’s OK. Toddlers see toys as extensions of themselves, it really is a developmental milestone for them to let go of something and put it away.”
Offer positive reinforcement
Reward your little helper with high-fives and hugs, and reiterate how nice it everything is in its place.
Some days your little one will be too cranky to clean. Don’t be discouraged if your toddler doesn’t want to clean up. Instead work together for a minute or two on some of the mess. As long as you stick to this path, sooner or later she will clean up independently.
Just don’t fall into the habit of cleaning up by yourself. Just be persistent, make it fun or make it a game that becomes a routine.
Are your kids good about toy clean up? Share your tricks with us.