Ideas to speed up the drag (when cleaning, picking-up, dressing, etc) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-16-2011, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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My 19-month old often drags his feet when asked to do something (put toys back, put shoes on, finish washing hands in the sink, clean up, etc).  What can I do to make him go quicker, and on my first request so I'm not nagging (asking him over and over "put your toy back")?  I need whatever brilliant ideas you've got to speed up your kids and move things along.


I hear some people use a song, for example, for clean up or whatever task - when the song finishes they need to finish the task.  How does that work?  If it works well, can someone tell me some songs please because I know very very little songs.   Besides songs, what other ideas you've got.


And if they still don't do it when you ask them to, what do you do?


Also, when you ask, is it a polite language like "could you put your toys back, please?", or is it a commanding language with a hard tone like "put your toys back"?


I'd like him to request things in a polite, nice way using "could you..., would you....please?" but I don't feel that's effective when I speak to him.



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#2 of 6 Old 03-16-2011, 02:47 PM
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Honestly I think you are expecting a little too much from a kid that young.

I have a twenty month old and I will ask him politely to do things, but its pretty rare that he does what I ask. His development just isn't there yet. So I will then take him by the hand and lead him through what I am asking him to do, with a running narrative of what we are doing and why. Then I thank him at the end.
I'm hoping that by doing things this way he won't become accustomed to tuning me out. I'll let you know in a few years if it works lol.gif.
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#3 of 6 Old 03-16-2011, 03:04 PM
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Yeah I would be shocked to see a 19 month old do what his parents ask at all, nevermind getting him to do it quickly!

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#4 of 6 Old 03-16-2011, 05:03 PM
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The only thing that seems to work is helping him along (picking up toys along with him, turning the water off myself, etc.) I think at that age they just aren't coordinated and efficient enough to do things quickly -- they are still learning how their bodies move, and thinking all sorts of thoughts that probably have nothing to do with what you're asking them to do, and have very little concept of time.

Other things that help sometimes are counting (not in a menacing/punitive way -- DS loves it actually -- make it fun, kind of like a game, finish up while I count to 10!)... You can also make up just about any song to go with an already familiar tune. Also, telling him why (let's get your shoes on so we can go to storytime!!) sometimes helps...

Lead by example... i.e. don't talk about changing his diaper (or whatever) and get sidetracked and not change it 'til half an hour later...

Oh and be very very specific. Not, "Put your toys away," -- try, "Can you put all the blocks back in that basket?" and not, "Get dressed," but "Go get your shirt and put it on please." Otherwise it's easy for them to get overwhelmed and not quite know where to start.

I kind of mix all these ideas together and often they work (sometimes they don't) but DS just turned 2 and I found over the last couple months he's gotten much better at getting things done when asked... it might still be kind of soon for your DS...

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#5 of 6 Old 03-17-2011, 12:11 PM
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I used to teach at a Steiner/Reggio based early ed school. Encouraging independence and responsibility is wonderful at any age.

I would just like to share what I would do.

I would eliminate all words such as could, would, can, etc. Instead rephrase with "It is time to clean up now." If no action, and obviously continued playing or whatever is the goal you are trying to attain, you say "Ok, Mommy will help you clean" And allow him to clean up with you OR watch you.

At this stage in life you are teaching your DS how life works. How play works. Leading by example, not by force. You are also creating a rhythm. Toys come out, toys go back.

In time, he will feel a great deal of encouragement to help, if he doesn't already.


These are just my suggestions. I have seen many a 19 month old with a lot of independence (with their physical abilities, not mentally) because they were in a rhythm and had the right support. 


I really suggest the book "Beyond the Rainbow Bridge" by Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley, if this sort of nurturing is something that interests you. 


Good luck!


oops, ETA that I completely agree with the PP, sorry I was in a rush and hadn't read that suggestion yet!

 "Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high,  Still I'll rise." ~ Maya Angelou
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#6 of 6 Old 03-18-2011, 06:31 PM
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I agree. It's too much to expect a toddler to follow verbal commands reliably, let alone quickly. I always remind my DH that you can't just tell a toddler to do something, you have to show them. Get down on their level and take them by the hand and make it fun. If LO isn't picking up toys, at least they are learning that this is the routine. You talk and walk them through it. If you're consistent, they catch on, but still need reminders/help sometimes.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
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