How can we teach our children to clean up after themselves?


Many parents have trouble getting their children to clean up their toys when they are done playing with them. It is important that we, as parents, think about what we can say to encourage our children to clean up instead of getting angry. In this article, we will introduce some methods for encouraging children to clean up after themselves.

Create a clean up friendly environment

Confirm where the play area and the toy storage box are. Are they near each other? In order to encourage your child to clean up after him/herself, it is important that parents create a clean up friendly environment, where he/she can reach the storage box. If your child plays in the living room a lot, then it is important that parents have a clean up box close by. It can be a toy storage box with wheels if you do not have room for permanent storage in the living room. Encourage your child to put away his/her toys when he/she is finished playing with them.

Set specific clean up times

It is often effective if parents set specific clean up times before meals or before going to bed. Parents can let their child know that they can have a snack or a meal only after the room is clean. It is important to tell them that they can play with their toys again but for now it is important to put them away where they belong.

Explain the benefits of cleaning up

Instead of just yelling at them to clean up, try explaining why they should clean up their toys. Some reasons are: it is easier to find the toys later and it is more comfortable to be in a clean room. Younger children may not understand the reasons right away so it is important to repeat them whenever they play with their toys.

Make cleaning up fun

It is important that children do not dislike clean up, if they are going to learn to clean up after themselves. When parents yell at their children to clean up, they acquire negative feelings towards clean up. Instead, parents should make cleaning up fun so their children will want to do it. One way may be to use the world “display” instead of “clean up” and buy a shelf where your child can display his/her toys. This way, children will begin to have fun cleaning up and feel positive when they clean up their toys. It is important to consider what environments your child is exposed to outside of the house as well. Attending mommy and me classes will enable your child to experience sharing and cleaning up toys with their peers. This will help encourage them to clean up at home as well.

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