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Encouraging clean-up

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ds (2.5 years) has much interest in making messes and absolutely no interest in helping to clean up. I've tried making it into a game, a race, an adventure, explaining the logic behind it (I was frustrated at the time and not thinking clearly : ). He's not falling for any of it. On the one hand, it's surprising because he loves to help with most anything I do (except for cleaning his messes, apparently). On the other hand, it's not at all surprising because he is constantly on the move and obviously doesn't want to stop to do something he considers not worthwhile.

Part of me says to let it go, part of me is really concerned about having an adolescent a few years down the road who leaves all of his stuff in the middle of the living room floor. What, if anything, can I do to encourage awareness and mindfulness of his messes without being an autoritarian pain in the rear or, honestly, am I expecting too much?

post #2 of 12
Is there some way you can find to make cleanup fun? I'm sure you've tried. Dd thinks cleanup is fun. I made a game out of it from very early in her life, but I actually don't think I can take any credit. I'm not that neat, really, and she's very neat.

She grabs a rag if she spills water. She moves the recycle bin that's in the way of her getting to the water dispenser machine, and she moves it back when she's done. She likes to clean up food tidbits she drops on the floor, right away! She'll want to get down from her dining room chair to pick up a stray noodle Dh nicknamed her Martha Stewart!

I don't have any adivice for you except to try your best but not get frustrated. I would love to take credit for Dd's meticulous nature but I can't - it's just her nature.
post #3 of 12
It's frustrating now. Will he help with even a tiny part of it?

I wouldn't worry, though, about this affecting how he is as an adolescent. I do believe that people are born with different tolerances for disorder and your son may have a high tolerance. Other than that teaching him to clean as a 2.5 year old will have little to do with him as a teenager. Remember as they get older you can more easily say things such as, "I'll be happy to give you a ride to ______ as soon as your room is clean."

For now, see if you can have him help with a small part of the clean up.
post #4 of 12
My boys are 5 and 3 and several times during the day we have a clean up time. To motivate them we'll do something special after clean up time. For example, we'll pull out the paints after all the other toys are cleaned up, or read stories, or watch a show on tv - whatever. It definately works with the 5 year old - the 3 year old needs lots of extra encouragement. He works best if I give him direct instructions like, "Can you put this car away in the basket?" rather than, "Pick up the cars?" Also the toys are easy to put away - we have lots of open bins and baskets.
post #5 of 12
We are having the same problem. Ds, who is 2, is actually very meticulous about some things - especially food and anything on his body. But when it comes to picking up toys, he just doesn't seem to get it. I have tried the making it fun, etc. He will help me put them back for a little bit, and then start flinging them around again. Even if I put it away while he is around, he will see me and come over and dump it all out again. I figured he's just maybe too young.

When he spills water or milk on the floor, we give him a rag to clean it up, and he usually will mop it up, but not always.
post #6 of 12
It's a gradual thing so I wouldn't write him off as a slob yet. I don't clean up the toys until ds is in bed, it's just too much for him to put things away when he's still playing, ya know? I do insist that before he gets out something big like the train set or Lego that we put everything else away and he generally agrees and helps. We have a tiny house and there just isn't room for more than one mess at a time. The other time I find he is receptive is when he steps on a toy and hurts himself or even if I do, then I say, "Let's clean up before we hurt ourselves again." In these two instances he can see the logic of cleaning up. Hopefully someday he will see the logic in cleaning up so the house doesn't look like a toy bomb hit it. Some day maybe dh will, too......
post #7 of 12
I got this great tip from a local Parent-involved preschool (we're going in Sept. YAY!)

Throw big, fuzzy DICE

Let the child (or you) throw. Then whatever number comes up means that's the number of items the child picks up. Brilliant.
post #8 of 12
Keep trying. My DS#1 was around three when he finally "got" cleaning up. His younger brother doesn't get it yet, but hopefully he will soon. I sometimes copy what the teacher does at our preschool - flash the lights once or twice and begin singing the clean up song (actually, I don't know the song she sings, I just make up as I go along).

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everyone, clean up, clean up, clean up as we sing our sing, throw the toys in the box, blah, blah, blah . . .
post #9 of 12
Originally posted by Teensy
I sometimes copy what the teacher does at our preschool - flash the lights once or twice and begin singing the clean up song (actually, I don't know the song she sings, I just make up as I go along).

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everyone, clean up, clean up, clean up as we sing our sing, throw the toys in the box, blah, blah, blah . . .
That's exactly what my ds's teacher does and I don't know the song either just his version! Clean up, clean up blah blah blah blah blah

That's so funny. Our children are all being brain washed with the same song!
post #10 of 12
We sing the
Clean clean up everybody everybody everywhere
Clean up clean up everyboyd do your share song, too.
I thougth me eldest and I got it from Mrl Rogers. She's 17 though, and I am old, so no telling where it really came from.
post #11 of 12
My son learned to clean up his toys at a very early age (maybe 1.5?) but he learned it from the big kids at the home of his care provider. I really can't take credit at all. So, maybe you could get someone else to teach him? My son really does his best learning of manners, social rules, etc. from someone other than me!
post #12 of 12
we do sheet rides, but you can't do a sheet ride if the floor is covered with toys. dd is quite excited to get everything put away to have sheet rides. Of course it doesn't get put away they same way I'd do it, but at least the floor is clear.

I have friends who have had great sucess with limiting the number of toys out and available for play to fewer than 10. Then of course they rotate them regularly. No only are their fewer toys out, but behavior improves and toys get played with for longer intense periods and more thoughtfully.
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