At what age is it reasonable to expect them to pick up their toys? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-25-2013, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not talking "clean your room" and it be spotless. That takes a long time, I know (even some of us adults aren't so good at it). But at what age can I expect my daughter to take the book we finished reading and walk it back to the bookcase? She used to do this. Now she's stopped for some reason. She is 19 months old. I tell her explicitly "pick the book up" "walk over to the bookcase", "put it on the shelf" or "put it down" and I know she understands because she's done it before. At what point can I set this as a household expectation, at what point can I expect her to do as I say? (I know that point is not now, but I'd like to know what I'm in for.) (please don't laugh at me... at least not too hard.) 

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#2 of 11 Old 01-25-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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My 29 mo is expected to clean up after himself but rarely does without a reminder wink1.gif I just keep reminding and helping him with it!

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#3 of 11 Old 01-25-2013, 11:22 AM
 
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I'm not sure when we started having her get used to the idea of putting stuff away, awhile ago, but actually making it an expectation, not until recently. She turned 3 in November and we started doing "I'll help you pick up" at night before bed and "You can play with X, but you need to clean up when you are done or X is going in time-out for awhile." I don't expect her to clean up without reminders and usually some help, but she is capable of it now for sure. It helps that since she is in daycare, she is pretty used to the clean up routine from there.

I also take every opportunity I can to point out that the natural consequences of not picking up toys off the floor when she is done playing is that she can't do things like run around, spin in a circle, play with other stuff, etc. without tripping on, stepping on, etc. the toys all over everywhere. So she does sometimes initiate cleaning up herself now because she is thinking about this. I also will use logical consequences where "We can't do X (fun thing she wants to do like go to the park) until we clean up the toys in the living room." I'll help direct her where to put things if she isn't sure, but I'm trying to make things easy and consistent so she will know where things go.

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#4 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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my 25 month olds have been cleaning up the play rom with my reminders and participation since about 20 months. i found that if i help them focus on one task at a time i get a pretty good outcome. so it's "ok lets put the balls back in the pit" and once that is done, "help me pick up the books and put them on the shelf", they get a lot of pride from it and i usally just sit in the middle of hte room directing traffic.  somedays work better than others, but i think it is good to start the expectation young and be consistent.  they also clear the table for us and do al but the largest or most breakable dishes, they adore that job!


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#5 of 11 Old 01-29-2013, 05:01 AM
 
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Probably depends on the kid, but I noticed mine was able to help do some cleaning up starting around 18 months, so I jumped on that.  Once they hit that kind of OCD phase that toddlers seem to go through (where they notice when things are out of place), or want to do a lot of stuff themselves, that's a good time to make it a daily practice.  Expecting them to do it independently takes awhile, but you can build up to it, by doing it together, and gradually making your child responsible for more of the task.

 

Things that seem to help:

 

Cleaning up at regular times (for instance, in our house, clean up times are usually before lunch, before dinner, and again before bedtime).  Like most things involving toddlers, routines help a lot.

 

Making it "fun":  putting a little pizazz into it definitely helps.  There's a reason why they sing the "clean up" song in preschool.

 

Make it easy:  have some kind of easy system for storing the toys so they're easy to take out and put away.

 

Breaking it down:  Put away items categorically (e.g. first the cars, then the trains, then the books)

 

Limited quantities:  no new toys out, until something gets put away.  (I see you want to play with trains, first you need to put away either the books or the cars).

 

Preferred activity:  If there's something the child REALLY likes to do, delay that activity until the toys get cleaned up.

 

If mama has to pick it up, it goes bye-bye:  for special occasions, but highly effective.

 

If all else fails, I highly recommend buying one of those pickup sticks that janitors use for picking up trash.  Makes picking up toys in a hurry a breeze (you'll never have to bend over to pick something up again in your life), good for retrieving toys that have gotten into awkward places, and by far the best $20 you'll ever spend in your life.

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#6 of 11 Old 01-29-2013, 05:04 AM
 
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I think 19 months is early for it to be an expectation - they're too self-absorbed at that age and without much impulse control - however I am a huge fan for getting them into the habit early so I would keep working with her on it until it becomes habit. You'll probably have to keep directing and even helping, but IMO you're on the right track if you can get her used to having her space neat and picking up thing A before getting out thing B. It makes life so much easier if they're used to that.
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#7 of 11 Old 01-29-2013, 05:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

 At what point can I set this as a household expectation, at what point can I expect her to do as I say? (I know that point is not now, but I'd like to know what I'm in for.) (please don't laugh at me... at least not too hard.) 

When they have children of their own? Actually they probably will ignore us even more for the first few kids :-)

 

I think with little kids it's the parents tone that is the most important part, and the way we phrase things. My 18 month old, or even my almost four won't follow "do this, then do this kind of directions" but they both jump and run if I get all excited and ask them if they can do something, even if that "something" is a totally normal chore like bringing their dishes into the kitchen

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#8 of 11 Old 01-30-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sageowl View Post

Probably depends on the kid, but I noticed mine was able to help do some cleaning up starting around 18 months, so I jumped on that.  Once they hit that kind of OCD phase that toddlers seem to go through (where they notice when things are out of place), or want to do a lot of stuff themselves, that's a good time to make it a daily practice.  Expecting them to do it independently takes awhile, but you can build up to it, by doing it together, and gradually making your child responsible for more of the task.

Things that seem to help:

Cleaning up at regular times (for instance, in our house, clean up times are usually before lunch, before dinner, and again before bedtime).  Like most things involving toddlers, routines help a lot.

Making it "fun":  putting a little pizazz into it definitely helps.  There's a reason why they sing the "clean up" song in preschool.

Make it easy:  have some kind of easy system for storing the toys so they're easy to take out and put away.

Breaking it down:  Put away items categorically (e.g. first the cars, then the trains, then the books)

Limited quantities:  no new toys out, until something gets put away.  (I see you want to play with trains, first you need to put away either the books or the cars).

Preferred activity:  If there's something the child REALLY likes to do, delay that activity until the toys get cleaned up.

If mama has to pick it up, it goes bye-bye:  for special occasions, but highly effective.

If all else fails, I highly recommend buying one of those pickup sticks that janitors use for picking up trash.  Makes picking up toys in a hurry a breeze (you'll never have to bend over to pick something up again in your life), good for retrieving toys that have gotten into awkward places, and by far the best $20 you'll ever spend in your life.

This is exactly us. I always had him "help" put away once he got to the age of pulling stuff out. By around 18 months he was getting it and actually helping and we'd frequently sing "clean up... everybody clean up". Now, at 2.5 he has put away something before pulling out something new & without being told exactly twice. Both times we told him thank you for putting them away without being told and he just beamed joy.gif But I also must say we go through phases where he won't put away. After age 2 if I put away without help whatever it was usually goes away until the next day.

Wooden blocks go in a certain basket. Duplo blocks go in a big plastic bag (the kind a comforter comes in). Though use safety precautions with that type of bag of course. His train blocks go in a different basket. All have their own specific spot on a shelf.

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#9 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 08:07 PM
 
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My 26 month old spontaneously puts (most) toys away when he's finished.  I never encouraged or directed it, and this is NOT behavior that is consistent with his general temperament, and all I can attribute it to is either mimicry, or the fact that every toy has a specific home and it's easy for him to return it to its place.  He is at that stage where he wants to help with everything, but he does it by himself, so it isn't the same as when he's helping me complete a task, like sweeping or something like that.  

 

 

I don't know if I should expect this pattern to hold, or if he'll start resisting the cleaning at some point.  I'm just soaking it up while it lasts! 




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#10 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 11:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sageowl View Post

Probably depends on the kid, but I noticed mine was able to help do some cleaning up starting around 18 months, so I jumped on that.  Once they hit that kind of OCD phase that toddlers seem to go through (where they notice when things are out of place), or want to do a lot of stuff themselves, that's a good time to make it a daily practice.  Expecting them to do it independently takes awhile, but you can build up to it, by doing it together, and gradually making your child responsible for more of the task.

 

Things that seem to help:

 

Cleaning up at regular times (for instance, in our house, clean up times are usually before lunch, before dinner, and again before bedtime).  Like most things involving toddlers, routines help a lot.

 

Making it "fun":  putting a little pizazz into it definitely helps.  There's a reason why they sing the "clean up" song in preschool.

 

Make it easy:  have some kind of easy system for storing the toys so they're easy to take out and put away.

 

Breaking it down:  Put away items categorically (e.g. first the cars, then the trains, then the books)

 

Limited quantities:  no new toys out, until something gets put away.  (I see you want to play with trains, first you need to put away either the books or the cars).

 

Preferred activity:  If there's something the child REALLY likes to do, delay that activity until the toys get cleaned up.

 

If mama has to pick it up, it goes bye-bye:  for special occasions, but highly effective.

 

If all else fails, I highly recommend buying one of those pickup sticks that janitors use for picking up trash.  Makes picking up toys in a hurry a breeze (you'll never have to bend over to pick something up again in your life), good for retrieving toys that have gotten into awkward places, and by far the best $20 you'll ever spend in your life.


THIS.

My son, now 3.5 of course still needs to be reminded. It is a constant reminder but I wouldn't say "struggle". We established systems long time ago, probably 18mos.

 

18mos is when I established patterns and also when he started going to daycare PT. And they would sing clean-up songs - which we incorporated in to home. At home, we weren't 1/2 that "fun" and he still picked up, but since daycare sung a song, yay, why not.

 

Now at 3.5 the rule is clean up one toy before you move to the next.

of course there is the random action figure that went to bed then came to breakfast and is now on the floor. Of course. there's always a need for Saturday Clean-Up that is not related to activities at the moment. And that is a struggle. But I can always get back to some type of bargaining (rarely the threat of time-out, most often a positive like.... let's clean up and Then we'll have lunch or go to the park).

And the rest is just daily... clean up this before you do that.

 

So original answer would be 18mos-ish.


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#11 of 11 Old 02-05-2013, 09:58 AM
 
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Oh! I forgot one of the big motivators. Our dogs will eat his toys. He now has a chewed wooden train part, a dinosaur with no arms, and a zombie girl pilot (a chunk of her head is missing). lol.gif He's getting much better about not leaving things on the floor!

Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (15).
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