Is it developmentally appropriate to occasionally insist that a 23-month-old picks up one toy before taking out another? For example, my 23-mo DS1 LOVES to take out every single toy he has and then spread them out all over the floor. Recently, I've been thinking that it would be better if I try and get him to only take out a couple toys at a time. Having everything out at once is a major tripping hazard for both of us (I'm 38wks preggo) and he doesn't even play with the toys when there's that much out. So anyway, each time I've tried to "let's pick up X toy before getting Y toy" DS1 freaks out and throws a huge tantrum. I know he understands the request. I thought that 2 was a good age to start including DS1 in the "clean up" process. Does that sound about right? Thanks!
Picking up Toys
Thanks! My mom tells me to store and rotate the toys all the time too. We live in a really tiny apartment with little storage, so I haven't found a great place to put some away, but am looking into the option. I agree about the routine. I think he'll get more agreeable to this idea as time goes on if we keep doing it.
I tried a similar thing with DS when he was around 2, but it didn't really work for us. What worked was drastically reducing our toy inventory - like DRASTICALLY. He's the type who always sticks next to me anyway, so there were really only a few toys he played with regularly. Most times he's next to me cooking, cleaning, etc. Now that he's 2.75, he is pretty amenable to having clean-up time after dinner/before bed, as long as we make it fun.
DD's been helping with clean up since she was 12 mos - but I do it with her. It's always a fun time, and for the most part she does it without question (unless she's overtired). In the beginning she would just watch me but once she saw me "having fun" putting things away, she wanted to do it too. She's almost 22mos now and loves to not only help with cleaning up her own things, but with chores around the house as well :-) We have everything in baskets and all the toys get sorted by type: lego type blocks, wooden blocks, planes/trains/cars, puzzles, music toys....etc. Some days I let her go to town. She will take multiple baskets out and then I definitely have to jump in to help clean them up. Other times she's content with one type and I just throw in a casual "hey, I think if you put that guitar away you will have more room on the floor for puzzles" and she gets right to it. Sometimes it's all in how you phrase it. We definitely keep toys to a minimum - I hate clutter, we have a small house, and I want to encourage DD to be imaginative with what she has rather than bounce from toy to toy. So I've been very selective about what we buy and have donated quite a bit to goodwill, keeping only the quality stuff that will last us into future kids.
We had massive issues with toys. So, we went through all of them, have a toy library that DH and I can get a couple things out of as needed and everything has it's own space. The rule is you can take out anything to play with, once you're done, go put it away. Now both the big boys are getting good at it. (4 and 2 yrs) We made them help with the purge too and that helped them realize that lumping things about was not conducive to happy play. I also explained it that way to the kids and they got it.
We sing the clean up song as well when we're noticing things aren't being taken care of. We also "help" by just starting to do it, singing and then wham! every kid is singing and putting things away. (we have 3 littles so it's crucial to our sanity and safety of baby who is now just wanting to play with stuff)