How do you Get Your Toddler to Help Clean Up

  • I believe that cleanliness is something that you can teach a young child. While they won't be perfect, even young toddlers can learn to help pick up toys and throw away trash. How do you get your toddler to help clean up? Any great tricks out there? -- Bonnie, StrongMoms Facilitator

  • No great tricks, but we threaten to give away toys that are not picked up and eventually follow through on it and give toys to charity. Our oldest does a poretty good job cleaning up and the younger two kind of need more prodding. That's the problem in our house... the distribution of cleaning is not equal among the kids... which is probably a topic for a new thread!

  • Yes I agree. The ones who make the most mess aren't the ones that can really clean up as much. It is also hard to tell who took the toys out to begin with, so it doesn't seem fair to give them away when the "owner" of the toy didn't take it out. I am trying to weed through the toys anyway and give away those that aren't Loved to Death. It is a constant and never ending job.

  • This post is a reminder to me to get my child more involved in clean up!! That being said, my little one LOVES to put clothes in the washer for me, help set the table, and other tasks which make him feel grown up and important. As far as toys go, I've started asking him to pick up his toys before he gets another activity out. I don't always enforce it but when the mess is getting out of control, he has to stop what he is doing and I'll help him put his old game away before he can continue on with his new one. 

  • I completely agree with all the replies here. In addition my daughter loves to get the dvds out and any kind of book... so when she does we will ask her if she can put them away and when she actually does it we cheer like she has scored the winning goal.. if she seems like she is just being difficult then we intervene and help her by making a gathering game out of it. I will pick up a couple of books or dvds and stack them and then ask her to stack some and we will continue on like that until it is time to put them in their homes. The toys are often a different story, but i feel like we are making some headway with toy cleanup. I have started turning that into a game as well where we will gather like items (like balls) and put them in their homes. We will also play with the toys as we clean them up too... for example if her different shaped blocks ( shaped peg in hole toys) are all over the place then i will have her pick up one at a time and figure out which hole the shape goes into. it is a longer cleanup process, but i manage to get her to clean up.

  • My daughter and I pick up together. We sing her favorite song and see who can put more things away before the song is over. As she is getting older, I am weaning myself from picking up and allowing her to do it independently. She claps and gets super excited when she puts things away and I cheer for her and tell her what a great job she is doing. Cleaning up is almost as celebrated as going potty in the big girl potty!

  • Skatieyonts - so cute!! I love how you've made it such a fun and joyful thing! I'm going to try to incorporate the song idea into my clean ups. My 3 year old is very competitive so I'm sure he will get into the racing idea. ;-) 

  • I think my son is too young to help clean up yet, but making it into a game is something my mother did with my brother and I and it seemed to help a lot.