I am by no means a neat-freak. In fact, my tendencies naturally run more along the lines of being a chronic mess-maker. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t long for a clean, orderly space where things are easily found and well taken care of. The same is true for kids.
Almost as soon as your child can walk, you can begin teaching them to put their toys away after playing. At first, it is almost as fun as actually playing with the toy: in fact they probably think they are!
At some point, however, kids begin to balk at cleaning up. They smile at you and run away or just refuse totally, making you want to pull your hair out. You feel like you are left with few choices: begin threatening and screaming, or, just do it yourself.
But, take heart. These are NOT your only options. On the days when the little people in your life are less committed to the task than you are, why not try out a couple of the suggestions listed below.
5 Ways To Make Tidying Up Fun
Beat the clock - Open the stopwatch on your phone. Tell your kids that you are going to time them as they put away the toys as quickly as possible. As soon as they are done, they race back to you and press the Stop button. Be sure to cheer them on as they race around.
Pick a number - Write the numbers 1-5 on slips of paper (or craft sticks for something more durable). Place the numbers in your a bag and shake them up. Each person draws a number and runs to put that many items away. They return to pick another number. Repeat until everything is cleaned up.
Draw a card - Similar to Pick a Number, this game uses the numbers from a deck of cards instead. Each person draws a card to see how many objects to clean up.
Memory - First, name the sets of things that need to be picked up (blocks, dolls, books, etc). YOU close your eyes while your child cleans up one set of toys. When finished, they tell you to open your eyes and you guess what they cleaned up.
Freeze-Dance - Turn on your favorite cleaning playlist (and if you don’t have one, make one!). Kids clean as much as possible unti lyu stop the music. When the music stops, they freeze! Then repeat until all toys are put away!
“In every job that must be done,
There is an element of fun.
You find the fun and snap,
The job’s a game.”
- Mary Poppins
While these twists on tidying up aren't fail-proof, they are sure to be more fun than nagging and fussing at kids. If you have ideas that work great with your kids, please share via email and I'll send them out to others, as well. After all, we are all in this together!
Until next time!