How to Get Kids to Clean Up Their Toys

How to Get Kids to Clean Up Their Toys

Start Early, Minimize Toys, Establish Routines & Clean with Dad 

Children are easily overwhelmed when it’s time to pick up toys. Take the struggle out of cleaning up with a few simple changes. Start early to teach good cleaning habits. Keep the amount of toys available for play to a minimum. Develop cleaning routines and engage dad to help put toys away at the end of the day.


Start Early to Teach Good Cleaning Habits

As soon as children are walking, start encouraging them to pick up toys. The youngest of toddlers can put toys in a basket. Many toddlers and preschoolers will copy mom and dad as they pick up toys. If not, hand the toddler a toy and show him how to drop it in a basket. Make cleaning and picking up toys into a game.


Put Away Extra Toys

Kids that have trouble picking up their toys on a regular basis may be overwhelmed by the amount of toys they have. Give away toys that are outgrown or that the children aren’t interested in. Toys that the kids have a passing interest in can be packed away in boxes. Rotate the toy selection that is available for play every few weeks or every few months. Keep the toys organized.

How to Get Kids to Clean Up Their Toys

Build Toy Clean-up Routines into the Day

Cleaning routines are a practical, quick way to tidy every day. Find clean-up routines that work for you and your children. Here are some ideas:

  • Race to pick up 50 toys each before lunch.
  • Set the timer for five minutes at the end of the day and pick up as much as possible before the time is up.
  • Pick up ten or twenty toys before watching TV or playing a video game.


Clean with Dad

Children who are reluctant to help mom pick up toys may have a renewed interest in it when dad is the helper. In their 2008 Time Use Survey, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that, on an average day, 52% of women did some form of housework, while only 20% of men did. It stands to reason that children see their mothers do housework more often than they see their fathers do the same.

Boys are especially likely to follow their father’s example. If dad encourages the kids to work as a team with him to pick up the toys, the family may find clean-up time is less of a struggle.

If the amount of toys available for play is kept to a minimum, clean-up time will be less likely to become a burden for children and parents. Start as early as possible to develop cleaning habits and work to establish daily routines to get toys picked up. Encourage dad to help and get the whole family working as a team to take the struggle out of clean-up time.

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