Should I be teaching her to clean up toys? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 12-11-2003, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 20 months old. We live in a small one bedroom apartment. Our living room *is* the playroom. I don't have a problem with small messes, as I am somewhat of a slob myself. I usually pick up her toys a couple of times a day. I don't usually ask her to help me, I guess because it's just quicker if I do it myself. I have asked her a couple of times to help, and she would put maybe one crayon in a bucket, and then run off to do something else. I am wondering now though if I am doing her a disservice by not trying a little harder to get her involved with cleanup, or if she is still too little to expect to help.

I have no personal experience with this as my mother always did everything herself. This is probably why I am a slob.

I don't want to have a "put it away before you get out something else" rule because I like how much she uses her imagination playing with different toys that don't really go together. But I'm thinking of maybe having a couple of cleanup times as a part of our day? What do y'all do? When did you start involving your kiddos in picking up?
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#2 of 12 Old 12-11-2003, 09:22 PM
 
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I have been wondering about this same issue. I try to make a game of picking up the toys with the kids, and ds will usually go for it, but not dd (she used to!). He likes to put all the blocks back in the bucket, for example.

With dd, I am struggling now. She is a great helper when we're at a playgroup or a friends' house, but at home, of course, it's a different story! I know what you mean about doing it yourself-it's quicker (and with a 3 yo less stressful!).

I'm sure this isn't extremely helpful to you! But I wanted to chime in and say I have the same issue. I'll be interested to see other replies.

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#3 of 12 Old 12-11-2003, 10:07 PM
 
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My 2.5 y.o. cleans up all of his toys and messies. And, yes, it can be painfully slow. BUT, he takes full responsibility; ie.I don't even ask him anymore. He just knows that before we go somewhere or eat or whatever, the room needs to be clean. And, now, my 13 mos. old helps him. Too funny to watch them work together.

But, I repeat...it takes a lot longer this way.:
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#4 of 12 Old 12-11-2003, 10:22 PM
 
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Orderliness is a very important virtue to my DH, and he is very neat. He has really taken the lead with encouraging our 19 month old DD to pick up and put away, and she does so happily. What I observe is that he is consistent, loving and persistent. I come from a family of never-finish-anything, leave-stuf-around people (in general), and I so appreciate my DH's initiative with teaching our DD this ethic. I find myself amazed to see what children are capable of with the 'right' encouragement - who knew that little kids could be neat?!

It does take longer. I also think that its important to minimize the stuff and have things on shelves (vs a toy box which is impossible to order and keep neat). That way the child is set up for success in being orderly. Its certainly true for me that I am better able to be neat and inclined to pick up if my environment is orderly - if its a mess or difficult to order then I am more inclined to let things go.

Cool thread - thanks for bringing it up. I'm curious as to what others do around this.

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#5 of 12 Old 12-11-2003, 11:35 PM
 
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I have encouraged this trait in my dc as well. IMO toddlerhood is a great time to start working on this as they generally love to do anything that mom or older siblings are doing. My littlest one will automatically put things in trash now and she is under two. She thinks it's great fun (we just have to watch her to make sure what she is throwing away is really trash!:LOL )
When my older one balked recently at the whole concept of cleaning up things we had a long talk about what it means to be a part of a family, that everyone has some responsiblities to take care of the home, each other, etc.
I think I have pretty strong feelings about wanting my dc to help out in basic household chores because my mom was the opposite extreme. She never wanted her children to have to lift a finger around the house because she felt like that all too soon enough we would be grown up and having to do those things. So as long as we were in her home we didn't have to do a thing. While there were times as a child that I obviously thought that was cool, it wasn't so much fun the first time I moved away from home and had absolutely no idea how to do ANYTHING!
I try really hard not to make cleaning up one of those control issues. I try to make it fun. On those occasions that I get grumpy, bullying, and/or mean about it, my dc only get more resentful and less likely to clean up after themselves.
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#6 of 12 Old 12-12-2003, 12:32 AM
 
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My oldest is 28 months and my youngest 12 months. We are just starting the pick up before bed thing, and I wish we would have done it earlier. I chose not to start earlier because it was faster for me to do it. The younger kids are when you teach them things the easier it is and you get a lot less resistance. At least that is what I found with my girls.

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#7 of 12 Old 12-12-2003, 02:13 AM
 
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I encourage my ds to help me pick up toys (and other stuff too, hey he lives here too) and most of the time he will do it. I don't force the issue though. He even cleans up by himself sometimes.

he's 2.5 now.

I noticed that kids will rise to the level of their expectation. Mine will do all sorts of things I ask him that his friend of the same age simply cannot or willnot do.
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#8 of 12 Old 12-12-2003, 04:19 AM
 
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For toys and stuff like that, I try to encourage him to help me, but don't force it. He usually wil helpl, but it's often then followed by dumping it all out again.

When he does something he knows he's not supposed to do - like throw food on the bathroom floor from his highchair, or empty the bowl of walnuts onto the floor, I have sometimes made him pick it up. We had a bad mommy moment this morning with him throwing dried bits of playdough all over the floor even though I continually asked him not to (I was in the shower so couldn't taken it away from him immediately). I told him we weren't leaving the bathroom to watch Sesame Street (which is what he does after our shower) until he picked up the playdough. I'm not proud of myself though, because I was getting a little harsh with him in my tone of voice, exasperated because he was ignoring me. He did finally do it, and then I started helping him, and all was fine. But I'm not sure how I feel about this.

(On a side note, I think my neighbor was home and heard the exchange (our bathroom windows face each other). It was one of those moments during the day that we all have, but we know would sound really bad to someone overhering it. I'm so embarassed!)
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#9 of 12 Old 12-21-2003, 07:56 PM
 
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I've wondered a bit about this too. DS is 19 months and will sometimes help pick up one or two items, but then run off to do something else. I know he can understand what I'm saying, but haven't wanted to make it a power struggle quite yet. So, thanks for this thread! It helps me get some ideas on how to implement more cleaning in a gentle way.
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#10 of 12 Old 12-21-2003, 10:08 PM
 
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There are a lot of fun ways to get toddlers to help clean up, and to foster orderliness and personal responsibilty. If DC understands the concept, you could try "racing" to put away all the toys by the end of a certain song he likes, or each take turns putting away one thing. I guess I am lucky, in that DD loves cleaning up, but it might be in part because I have encouraged her, since she was 8-9 months old, to put away her books and toys periodically throughout the day. It's not at all a punitive thing, we make it fun. I clap and dance when she gets the books on the shelf, and I don't make her do it all herself. If she gets 3-4 books on the shelf, I will do the rest. KWIM?
Also, I have found that it helps TREMENDOUSLY (another small apt dweller here) to limit the access to a million toys. It helped us a lot to rotate toys in an out of use-every week or two I pick out toys she is not that into any more and put them in the closet. She actually seems more interested in the toys she has when there is less of a selection. HTH

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#11 of 12 Old 12-21-2003, 11:53 PM
 
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We sing "pick up, pick up everybody, everywhere, pickup, pick up everybody do your share." The kids love it and start picking up while singing along.

Mama to DD#1 2001 reading.gif, DD#2 2002 2whistle.gif, dog2.gif, & cat.gif. Me & my man partners.gifbelly.gif June 2014.
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#12 of 12 Old 12-22-2003, 12:04 AM
 
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You have to clean up with them and show them exactly what you expect them to do.

Make it fun.

Have a good attitude about the "work".

Be consistent.

It has worked pretty well for me.
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