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  • Having a young child in your home means you have toys scattered in every room all day long! It can be a tiresome task to keep on top of the toys, especially if you are the only one picking up the mess. You will love these proven steps to teach your toddler to pick up their toys.

    Playing with toys is one of the most fun things to do with a toddler, since it really helps show us just what the children enjoy and just how active their imaginations are. However, one of the draw backs to playing with toddlers, is to get them to pick up their toys once they are done, and for them to clear out the mess that they have made.

  • As for the mess at their house, just ask your son what toys he played with and ask him to put those away. If the mom says not to worry about it, just say that it is important to you that your son contribute to the clean up and it is a family rule. That way, you are consistent with your son and the friend. The mom can do whatever she wants with the toys, but your messge to the kids is clear. anon I would start w/ trying to handle this by letting BOTH kids know, 10 minutes before departure time, that it's ''clean up'' time & then go up to the BR or LR to clean with them. If necessary, you can explain to the other mom that you are trying to get ''your'' child in the habit of cleaning his own toys. I've been there and done this. susan I think it's okay for you to set the rules in your own house. Do whatever works for you...maybe ask the child to clean up, and if he won't, tell him that you will give him one toy at a time. When he's done, he can bring it to you and trade for a different one. Or play in the yard. Or set a timer for 4 minutes at the end of the playdate and challenge the kids to clean up with you as fast as they can. Whatever makes it okay for you and your son. It really is okay to ask guests to live up to the standards your son does. Like it clean We play a game with my child's friends called 'beat the clock'. I set an egg timer for 5 minutes and see which kid can put away the most toys. It works really well and, best of all, the kids have fun. You didn't mention whether the other mom stays the whole time so it might be awkward to do this in front of her. - RK Hi Tidy Mom, I'm like the other mom who doesn't make the children pick up toys after the playdate. My child's room is always messy, as is most of the rest of the house! We're just a messy family! (I guess my momma did not raise me right!) Anyway, you're entitled to have your own rules at your house, and vice versa. I would not be at all averse to waiting a few minutes while my child helps pick up after playing at your house. Who knows, maybe it will make a good impression on me and I'll start doing the same! But in the meantime, I think when you come to my house to pick your child up, you should not have the expectation that we have the same rules at our house that you have at yours. If I say I'll pick up later myself, then that's that. (Actually I probably won't pick them up, and they will still be there when you come over next time. But that's just the way we do things at our house.) Don't worry - kids learn early on about different rules at different kids' houses. Messy Mom August 2005

    Lead by example

    The best way to teach a toddler to pick up their toys, is to lead by example. You can play with their toys when they are doing the same, but once you signal that it is time to go, start putting the toys away and then encourage them to do the same. Not only will they want to copy you, but they would slowly turn it into a habit.

    At times it may seem that your child has a million toys scattered throughout the house. It's easy to get frustrated over the never- ending battle of who will pick up the toys -- you or your child. Here are some ideas to try:

    • Have a place to store the toys that your child can reach.
    • Work with your child. Start when your child is young and get into the habit of storing toys every night.
    • Make picking up toys a family project. This is a good time for parents to check the toys for needed repairs or discard items beyond repair. A minor repair can keep a toy lasting for a long time.
    • Keep expectations reasonable. Your child may not be able to do things just the way you want them done. This is a time for your child to learn.
    • Your child may need help in understanding just what needs to be done. Try breaking down "pick up your toys" into small steps -- For example try: Put all blocks in the bag and hang it up on the peg, or pick up the cars on the floor and put them on the "car" shelf.
    • Reward good behavior. When your child picks up his toys, spend extra time with him as a reward.
    • Plan in advance. Before playing with toys that have small parts lay a sheet down on the floor. When playtime is over, pick the sheet up by the corners and "pour" the pieces into the storage container.
    • Make a game out of toy pickup time -- "I see something that is a green square" -- your child identifies the item and puts it away.
    • Keep a basket or box in the room for small toys and parts that you find. At the end of the day, you and your child can sort out the items. Your child will also know where to look for missing items.
    • Set a timer. How many toys can you and your child pick up before it rings?
    • Have everyone in the family pick up five items at the end of the day and put each thing away.
    • Help your child learn where things belong. Cut a picture of the toy out of a magazine and glue it onto the container where you want the item stored.

    Prepared by Nancy Gartner, Extension Educator, Family Life.







  • At times it may seem that your child has a million toys scattered throughout the house. It's easy to get frustrated over the never- ending battle of who will pick up the toys -- you or your child. Here are some ideas to try:

    • Have a place to store the toys that your child can reach.
    • Work with your child. Start when your child is young and get into the habit of storing toys every night.
    • Make picking up toys a family project. This is a good time for parents to check the toys for needed repairs or discard items beyond repair. A minor repair can keep a toy lasting for a long time.
    • Keep expectations reasonable. Your child may not be able to do things just the way you want them done. This is a time for your child to learn.
    • Your child may need help in understanding just what needs to be done. Try breaking down "pick up your toys" into small steps -- For example try: Put all blocks in the bag and hang it up on the peg, or pick up the cars on the floor and put them on the "car" shelf.
    • Reward good behavior. When your child picks up his toys, spend extra time with him as a reward.
    • Plan in advance. Before playing with toys that have small parts lay a sheet down on the floor. When playtime is over, pick the sheet up by the corners and "pour" the pieces into the storage container.
    • Make a game out of toy pickup time -- "I see something that is a green square" -- your child identifies the item and puts it away.
    • Keep a basket or box in the room for small toys and parts that you find. At the end of the day, you and your child can sort out the items. Your child will also know where to look for missing items.
    • Set a timer. How many toys can you and your child pick up before it rings?
    • Have everyone in the family pick up five items at the end of the day and put each thing away.
    • Help your child learn where things belong. Cut a picture of the toy out of a magazine and glue it onto the container where you want the item stored.

    Prepared by Nancy Gartner, Extension Educator, Family Life.

    Good luck, EP Here are some tips. You could make it a competition-- who can clean up their part faster and better. You should have very clear places where toys get put away. You can make cleaning up toys routine-- what you always do before lunch, or bed, or whatever. You can clean up WITH the kids-- I find that this even works with teenagers, say with making beds or putting laundry away. Almost any chore is easier with company, and seems more of a cooperative activity than like following orders. not a tidy freak As long as my daughter has been able to pick up toys by herself, I have been asking her to put them away. The rule in our house is that if she wants to get something else out, she has to put something away first--so we never have more than two or three things out at a time. This helps keep her focused, while teaching her responsibility, and helps me keep my house from looking like a cyclone hit it. My personal opinion is that kids that don't pick up after themselves don't do it because they know someone else will. anon August 2005

Picking up Toys - Easy Ideas To Reduce The Clutter

Having a young child in your home means you have toys scattered in every room all day long! It can be a tiresome task to keep on top of the toys, especially if you are the only one picking up the mess. You will love these proven steps to teach your toddler to pick up their toys.