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Hi all,<br><br>
My DS is nearly two (22 months); for the last year or so, we've had a very regular routine in which DH and I sing a clean up song after dinner, when we clean up the dinner dishes and Elijah's toys. Until now, basically, I've been very content to just have this routine become normalized for Elijah -- even though he almost entirely watched us clean up (or played as we did so). When Elijah does "help" at this time, it is usually by my asking him very concrete requests about putting "your guitar" back, etc. Again, this has seemed fine with me and developmentally completely to be expected.<br><br>
SO ... DS, like other kids, is beginning to show some signs of interest in cleaning (e.g. sweeping, etc.) and on his own, often puts things in the garbage (e.g., he'll pick up crumpled paper on the floor and say "garbage" and throw it away). Often, during the day, he'll happily participate/help me when I'm doing things or while we are playing. All of this suggests to me that it might be time to be more directed in the clean up routine at night.<br><br>
I think it is really healthy for kids to see themselves as a part of the household, as contributing to it running smoothly and having developmentally appropriate ways of helping out. My questions are:<br><br>
1) (after reading the "Doing for Kids" thread): should I just continue doing as we are, allowing DS to help out when he feels internally motivated; or<br><br>
2) if we should shift gears a bit, what is reasonable to expect of a two year old during a structured clean up time?<br><br>
3) and if I can begin to expect a bit more, how do I initiate that with DS? The "make it fun" idea is great in theory, but somehow, it seems like Elijah doesn't buy it. Or maybe he doesn't like the compulsory feeling around it ... or maybe I'm just woefully uncreative.<br><br>
Any ideas?
 

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I think you are doing fine. What I did was carry them while I cleaned up from the time they could grasp a toy in their fist. I would hand them a block or something now and then and ask them to pitch it in the bin while I cleaned up, so they were "helping." I'm talking as young as 5 or 6 months. They gradually did more and more on their own initiative. My feeling is that you "ruin" the spirit of the activity when you start making "requirements."<br><br>
There are ways to make it fun though. One of my favorite ways is to pick a color or a shape, and suggest, "First pick up everything green." Or "Lets pick up everything round." You could try a timer and see how fast you can work. You can also use a truck of some sort to get the work done -- a dump truck or a front loader. Another thing thats fun is using a dustpan and little broom. My kids had their own at that age. Great for scooping up blocks or crayons.
 
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