How to get Little Kids to Pick Up Their Toys
By Susie E. Caron © 6/28/15
This will be short because I’m trying to sell my home and move, so I’m busy packing. However, as I’m going through a lot of ‘blessed items’ (i.e.junk) I recall what a miserable job it was to get kids to pick up their toys or ‘clean their rooms.’ This was especially true all summer, whenever they played indoors. When it came time to ‘pick up’ they suddenly wanted to be outside. However, I discovered a quick solution to getting all the toys in the living room picked up, and it worked beautifully, day after day.
Get a sturdy laundry basket with good solid handles. Tell the kids that 15 minutes before you begin to make supper, you are all going to play “Quick, Hide the Toys” game. (You can give the game any name you want, or ask the kids to name it after you all play once.) Explain that this is so they can start fresh tomorrow. But once each day, before supper, the toys have to disappear. Then you can all enjoy supper and family time without clutter."
This is how you play: You will hold the basket in both hands and the kids’ job is to see if they can throw their toys quickly and accurately into the basket, no matter where you are in the room and before the timer rings. (I hope you don’t let them play with large metal trucks in the house!!!) Now run through the living room and other living areas where toys were dispersed throughout the day. Make it fun by altering how easy or difficult it becomes for them to “hit the basket”!!! At the end you all do high fives and then you carry the basket to the children’s rooms and say, “Now I want you to put them away so you can find them again tomorrow. While you are doing that, I will make supper. When you finish putting your toys away, you can watch some TV”. (As a parent you offer one choice at this point to keep them focused. Remember they are tired and getting hungry.)
Now, it really doesn’t matter how they put the toys away or even if they get distracted and play with them. All you want is for them to be putting them back into their rooms and giving you time to make the evening meal. How’s that sound?
Next week I’ll tell you how to get the kids bedrooms picked up once each week and also how to get the kids to sort through and reduce the amounts of toys and ‘stuff’ they collect in their rooms.
If you like this article, or you have a great idea to share about getting kids to pick up, please share below. Also share this neat tip with your friends on social. Just click the links to share.
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Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!