What are toddlers known for? DESTRUCTION. MESSES. CHAOS.
Lately I’ve been battling with my toddler because he loves to make messes. However, I like to keep my house clean… see my problem? Luckily for me after all my persistence of trying to get him to pick up after himself, it’s finally paying off.
But how did I get him to help me?
MAKE IT A GAME
I honestly make everything a game. When I cleaned his toys up, I would throw the toys into his toy bin. Every time I made it I would get excited, and that made him want to help me. The downside of making cleaning a game, is it takes longer to actually achieve clean. I think it’s worth the extra time it takes, because it is teaching your toddler to pick up after themselves.
Every time I clean his messes I make it a habit to sing “the cleanup song”.
Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.
I’ve sang it so much now, that he tries to sing along with me. When I ask him to clean all by himself he will start to sing this song all on his own. Like I said earlier, it’s all in keeping it fun.
Anytime my toddler spills something or dumps his snacks on the floor, I have him help me clean it up. This way I am slowly teaching him responsibility for his actions. We usually take turns picking the snacks up off the ground, and putting them in a container. If he spills liquid he either helps me wipes it up off the floor with a towel or paper towels, or if he spills on the carpet, then we take turns standing on the towel soaking up the liquid. He doesn’t get scolded, but he must help in the cleanup.
We have a routine we’re working on that’s actually coming along quite nicely. Right before bed I tell him “it’s time to clean up your toys”, and he will walk around the living room picking up his toys. Now he’s only a toddler, so I can’t expect him to clean the whole living room for me, but he does pick up 5 or 6 toys and put them away. Then he will get distracted or lose interest. I will either tell him “keep cleaning”, or I will help him pick up his toys, which usually makes him interested in cleaning again.
He is still learning the concept of cleaning, but I think it’s totally appropriate (with guidance) to expect him to help me clean up his messes.
- Make cleaning a game
- Don’t expect too much
- Only push cleaning their messes (to start)
- Sing fun songs
- Never scold or punish over messes/cleaning
- Praise them, let them know you like what they are doing
- Create a routine so they learn when they SHOULD clean
Getting your toddler to help you clean doesn’t have to be a terrible time. I personally have had fun getting him to help me. It’s like another playtime right before bed. Give this approach with your toddler a try. They won’t start cleaning overnight and it will take some persistence, but they will learn. Let me know what works to get your kids to help you clean!
If you are struggling to get your “mom cleaning” done while your child is running around crazy, I might have some tips for you HERE!
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