Thursday, 16 August 2012
Making tidy up time fast and fun
It's the end of the day, your little one is getting tired and possibly a bit fractious but the living room looks like a bomb site...it's tidy up time! If your child is anything like mine, the mention of tidying up might elicit moaning and groaning and it can be a real challenge to get them stuck in to picking up and putting away their toys. Even if you get them to pick up one toy to put away, the whole job can take way too long and everyone is fed up during the process!
In just the past week, since the news of our impending move, my husband and I have been doing a lot of extra clearing up and cleaning, as we sort stuff out to pack or get rid of. We are also keeping our flat in a more presentable condition than normal in case we get a call that someone wants to come and view it. Interestingly, I've noticed that our three-year old son has in turn been tidying up a lot more often throughout the day and being pro-active in putting things away when I ask him to.
With that in mind, I started thinking more about tidy up time and how to make it more fun and less of a battle, to get the job done quickly and easily. Here are some suggestions:
- Lead by example. As demonstrated by my son, it helps if they see you regularly tidying up. Children always enjoy imitating adult behaviour and activities.
- Sing a tidy up song. My son used to go a music class where they finished with a tidy up song, whilst tidying up the instruments etc. He was taught another one at nursery so we have a couple to choose from. If you don't know one, make one up! It lightens the mood and helps keep parent and child more relaxed.
- Make it a race or a game. Especially when we have something like lots of Lego pieces to put back in a box, I often make it a challenge to see who can pick up the most and most quickly. When my son sees me hurriedly grabbing handfuls and putting them into the box, he does the same and the job is soon done.
- Talk about what you'll do after you've tidied up. My son loves his bedtime stories and really looks forward to them. Reminding him that we can start the stories as soon as he's tidied up really helps encourage him get it done quickly.
- Give praise where it's due. Remember to give the recognition owed when they do tidy up without any fuss and it will help encourage them to adopt a good attitude towards it all the more. Be enthusiastic about their good efforts, give big hugs and kind words and they will feel rightly pleased with themselves :-)
How does tidy up time happen in your home? Do you have any tricks or tips you employ to get your children clearing up effectively and happily?