Teaching Children to Tidy away their Toys

Teaching children from a young age to tidy away their toys is a great way for them to learn how to be responsible for their belongings. The earlier children learn, the more likely they are to cooperate when it is time to tidy up. Not only does this help reserve your energy whilst getting your toddler to be physically active, it also promotes his self-confidence. Giving him the responsibility of tidying away allows him to feel independent and gain a feeling of accomplishment.

How do you get your toddler to tidy the toys away?

• Get organized

Firstly, the toys need to have some order. If there is nowhere for the toys to be put, it can make it confusing and more time consuming to tidy up. If there are no storage boxes or shelves, decide on which solution would be best to keep the toys neat and tidy and off the floor. Storage boxes are a great idea, as they can be used to keep groups of toys together, and these can be labeled for easy finding as well as easy putting away. Giving your child’s room a once over and making sure it is functional will help him to respect his space and belongings.

• Tidy away

At the end of a play session, inform your toddler that it is tidy up time. This may not always be met with a positive response, as your toddler is engaged in playing. However, there are times when the toys need to be put away. If your toddler needs to stop playing for dinner, and he has his toys set up, allow him to keep them out if play can resume soon after. During times when it is time to go out, or at the end of the day, are good times that toys should be put away. Only during instances where your toddler may be working on something may it be left to be completed.

• Tidy together

To encourage and teach your toddler how to tidy his toys away, you need to demonstrate putting the toys away whilst saying, “Tidy up.” This helps your toddler to understand. You can ask him to help by putting away certain toys, or allow him to join in of his own accord. This can be continued until he gets into the habit of tidying away and to allow him to understand where things go. It may take a little time for him to get it right, however, always keep this a positive tasks. Your toddler needs to know that what he is doing is good, and he needs to believe in his own capabilities.

• Practice makes perfect

The way in which you may wish the room to look and be organized may not be achieved. However, this is not important. What is important is your child’s self-esteem and giving him the chance to learn for himself. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and some may prefer a more organized look, while others are just happy to see a tidy looking room. The main objective here is to ensure all the toys are put away and are off of the floor. This is a great achievement and is a good skill to teach your toddler.

• Get him organized

Explain to your toddler the importance of tidying up. Toys need to be put away to keep them looked after and from becoming lost and damaged. In addition, it makes it easier for him to find the toys he wants to play with. Tell him how good it looks when the toys are put away and show him your approval. Once he knows the importance of tidying up, and has mastered this skill, help him learn how to keep the right toys together to keep his toys even safer. This allows him to learn good organizational techniques, as well as saving precious time looking for items.

• Praise and reward

The most important aspect of teaching your child to tidy his toys away is to praise and acknowledge his efforts. No matter how few toys he picks up, help should be praised and approved. Keep it positive and refrain from nagging or complaining in any way. Children learn nothing good from negativity. For children that are reluctant to help, a reward chart can be created. A simple sticker chart is a good motivational tool to get children working towards a goal. A small and appropriate reward can be given when a target has been met. Keep this simple, like allowing him to enjoy a favorite activity with you.

Teaching toddlers to tidy away after themselves can take a little time and patience. However, with the right encouragement and praise, great things can be achieved. Never expect perfection, and be happy with any efforts given. If your child shows willingness, this is a great start. Soon he will have mastered the art of organization, as well as being more respectful towards his belongings. Teaching him to tidy away his toys keeps the home tidy, while teaching him skills that are useful for now and later on in life.