Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Making Clean-Up Less of a Chore

Even very young children can help out with clean-up. The truth is it's easier for you to just do it yourself, but it helps them feel independent and proud to have helped and learning to contribute is important. These pictures represent one way I've found to make clean-up time a lot easier. I have crates and plastic drawers with pictures on them so every set of toys has a place and it's easy to put away. You can also cover cardboard boxes with fabric or construction paper. Even my two-year-old knows where everything goes and can clean up quickly. I also like it because when other kids come over to play they can put toys away too. I also put up a peg board to hang dresses and purses. Clean-ups at our house are so much faster now. Another thing I do to keep messes to a minimum is to have them clean up the toys before moving on to a new activity. If they want to go in the yard, have a snack, watch a movie, get a game, I tell them to clean up the basement first (the playroom where we keep the toys). So they clean up several times a day, but it helps keep the mess from becoming too overwhelming (usually) and teaches them responsibility.

What are your clean-up tricks? Got a great organizing tip, game, or rule that helps your kids pitch in? Share your ideas in the comment section! Or if it's better explained with a picture, send it to my e-mail and I'll include it on the post.
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shayla said...

I love how organized your toys are. The pictures on the outside are a great idea! Unfortunately, I've gotten into the habit of just "letting it go" during the day, telling myself there's no need to put the toys away, 'cause he's just going to pull it out again later. So my husband does one big round-up at the end of the day. I've tried the "let's clean up before the next activity" bit, but it never seems to work. So either he doesn't understand that concept yet or I'm not approaching it the right way. Or I just have an openly rebellious child. In any case, we have some work to do when it comes to clean-up time. Thanks for your ideas.

Gina Rochelle said...

No sweat, Weston's just barely starting to get this concept and only because Emma's become somewhat of a nazi about it. Weston will pick up a few toys now on good days. His main "chore" here is to take the clothes to the hamper after they get dressed.

Angie said...

I recently came to the end of my rope in terms of cleaning up after my kids. I was doing too much of it and Carter (3) wasn't really doing home. I made separate bags for each type of toy (blocks, cars, animals, Mr. Potato Head, etc.). Not only does this make clean up easier, but my kids have found toys that used to be buried in a toy box with pieces missing. It's like Christmas all over again!

Jodi Jean said...

you mean throwing everything into one large bin is not organized? it sure make it easier so i don't have to separate anything and can just chuck stuff in the general direction and then in the bin ... probably not the most organized idea.

i need to invest in a better system ... and maybe get the toys out of my living room