Having a young child in your home means you have toys scattered in every room all day long!  It can be a tiresome task to keep on top of the toys, especially if you are the only one picking up the mess. You will love these proven steps to teach your toddler to pick up their toys.

How to Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys - These tips would also work with older children. | www.joyinthehome.com

How To Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys

This training starts best when a toddler first starts to walk, since they naturally think it is play.

  • I hand my toddler a toy that he played with and ask him to help me put it back.  All that he needs to do is ‘drop' it in the bin. (Hint… this is the stage when babies LOVE to drop things, so it works PERFECTLY to add training to this natural stage of childhood!)
  • I introduce the Clean Up song to him, as I start training the next stage. All my kids loved this song!
  • Once the ‘dropping training' is concrete and he knows to drop it in the toy bin when I hand it to him, I begin the ‘get it stage' training.  (This stage can last a long time before it is concrete, so be patience and consistent!) How it works is, you tell him to go get his ball and put it away, go get your truck and put it away, etc. Children do not see individual items on the ground, they only see a collection of things. If you don't believe me, as your child to go get something in the middle of a mess.  Many times it can be RIGHT AT THEIR FEET and they can't see it.  It overwhelms their senses and have a hard time concentrating.  It does take some time to train them in this step, but if you continue to train them, you can have a child of the age of 3-4 who can completely pick up their room on their own, IF YOU DO THIS DAILY…. OR BEFORE GETTING SOMETHING ELSE OUT. (I have made these bold for a purpose.  As a big mess overwhelms us, it is only fair to train your toddler with small jobs, not waiting until it is such a mess that you don't even want to do it.)
  • The next step is the freedom step to parents and one worth the work you put into it to get here.  At this stage, all you need to say is “It is time to clean up your trucks or your blocks.”  Even if they have more than one kind of toy on the ground, the child will be able to scan through the mess of scattered toy and only pick out the trucks, putting them back where the trucks belong.  Then they can pick up their blocks, and put them back in the rightful place.
  • I always have tried to make cleaning fun for my children.  Here are some things that I have done to help make it enjoyable for them: they practiced basketball when ‘tossing toys in their bins', we race to see who beats, we time them to see how fast they can do it, we try to beat the clock, we do it to music (my 13 year old still cleans and folds his laundry to music)

This is my little guy when he was a toddler, singing the ‘clean up' song and tossing his toys in the bin.

In the end, the more training that we do when they are young, it will seem like play to them and you will be instilling in them the ability to be independent in their play and cleaning up.  You can't go wrong with this training!

You may also enjoy reading How to Teach Your Child to Keep Their Room Clean

How To Teach Your Children to Keep Their Room Clean - These 5 things can make this difficult task really easy. | www.joyinthehome.com