I had interesting messages and emails about my last post.
Yes, two year olds can learn to put their toys away AS SOON as they are finished playing with them.
BUT, as with anything else that we are training our young children to do….it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort on our part.
Sort of like potty training. It takes more than one day of instruction.
I have listed 5 tips that I learned from a mother of 12, to teach my children to pick up their toys:
-Understand that the work required to make this happen is well worth it. Putting away toys not only becomes a habit with toys, but with their other belongings and personal items as they get older.
-Start talking to them about it from age 18ish months on, as you clean up. You might say something like, “We are finished playing with the blocks, so we put them away.”
-When you think that they are ready, ( I waited until mine were 22 months ish), sit on the floor with them EVERY time you are ready to clean up the toys, and remind them that toys are put away before we bring out new ones. Mom usually does a majority of the actual picking up items and ‘putting away’ for the first few days, but it becomes a habit that the child quickly learns. The child will mirror mom’s behavior.
– Have a ‘home’ for everything! And, it should be in easy reach for their little bodies. I used baskets and had 2 or 3 baskets in each room to put the toys in when they were finished with them. Some of my children dumped the toys in the baskets without rhyme or reason. A truck and a baby doll might be in the same basket. That didn’t bother me, but some moms prefer more order.
-Use A LOT of positive affirmation as they learn. They really do want to please us!
Your thoughts? I’d love to ‘hear’ them.