Friday, September 25, 2009

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share

I've been struggling lately with how to get my kids to pick up their toys. I know, I know, it's a battle that's been fought since the beginning of time probably. I'll tell you my ideas and thoughts so far, but I'd appreciate any input from more experienced moms!

The new bins have really helped with my daughter. She's 4, and is perfectly willing to clean up one bin before getting out another. My little boy is another story though. Let me preface this by saying that me cleaning his toys up for him is not an option. I've got a new baby and enough other stuff to do in a day. Anyway, when I tell him it's time to clean up his cars, he replies with a simple, "No." In a very polite tone, it sounds as though he would follow it up with, "I'd really rather not, thank you anyway." But he just refuses. I've threatened to take his bin of cars out to the garage, and he just says, "Okay," and even helps me take them out there. Meanwhile, my daughter is practically sobbing, "No! That's so sad! Don't take all his cars!"

I tried that a few times, but it didn't work at all. I don't know why he won't clean his stuff up. Maybe he doesn't understand yet, maybe it's just overwhelming to him, maybe he just doesn't feel like it. So my new theory is to just not let him have a lot of toys in the house. After a full day of no cars at all (which was miserable for everyone since he just swiped my daughter's toys all day), he was allowed to earn them back two at a time if he cleaned up after himself each day. Right now he's got about 8 in the house, and I think that's where I'm going to draw the line. Most of the rest of his toys are out in the garage as well. If he's not to the point where he can pick up a big mess, then he shouldn't have enough toys to make a big mess. So far, he doesn't really seem to care. Maybe 8 matchbox cars is all a boy really needs to make him happy?

Any great ideas for how to get toddlers to clean up their own stuff?

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Anissa said...

no ideas from me. I'm terrible at this with my kids and bad habits have already formed. It's not worth the battle every minute of every day to me, so I just do it. SO AWFUL, I know.
I hope someone posts some ideas soon!

lori said...

Mr. Gunnybag. He's a red bag with eyes on it, kind of scary. You sing the gunnybag song as he eats the toys that aren't put away. THe toys go in his "tummy" for whatever amount of time you feel effective, I usually do like 3 or 4 days. Anyway, worked for us growing up and I just started doing it with Avery. She LOVES cleaning up so fast that gunnybag doesn't get a chance to put them in his tummy- it makes it a fun game. But it is effective when she is being stubborn and doesn't want to clean herself, if I end up cleaning them into gunnybags tummy, then there are fewer toys to clean up over then next few days. Song goes- Here comes gunnybag yum, yum, yummy. He eats all the toys and puts then in his tummy. Just sing over and over as gunnybag tries to eat toys faster than your kids can clean them. I usually giver her a 5 min warning before gunnybag will be there.