to pick up toys and belongings doesn't have to be a
daily struggle. Good role modeling, structure, and a
little fun can be used to create a more motivated little
cleaner in your home. Follow some of our
suggestions below and you might have a little more
success in getting your kids to pick up!
Most importantly, be a good
role model for your children. Pick up your own
clothes and belongings on a daily basis. When we
leave our belongings all over the house, we give our
kids permission to do the same!
Set up a consistent time
every day when each family member picks up her
belongings. For instance, every day at 7pm is "pick
up time". If every family member participates, it's
more fun and enjoyable and feels more like a group
chore chart to
structure time during the week when your kids need
to pick up. You can set up a reward system for
chores done in a timely manner. Check out our
printable chore charts.
With younger kids, make
picking up toys a game. See who can pick up the most
toys in a minute. Or, if the toys are small enough,
play basketball while tossing them into a box. Play
a counting game, and tell your child to pick up 6 things while
you pick up six things.
Make cleaning a treasure
hunt. Designate a special bag as the "treasure bag".
When your child comes across a special toy that he
hasn't seen for a while, it goes into the treasure
bag. See how many treasures you can find. This is a
great way to clean all those tricky places like
under beds or in closets!
Set up an easy and
appealing storage system. Store toys and belongings
in easy to reach places and use bright colored
storage containers and toy boxes. You don't have to spend lots of
money on this either. Take old cardboard boxes and
spend a day painting and decorating them for storage
units. Kids will love this project and enjoy keeping
their belongings safe and sound in a container they
Be specific in your
expectations. For example, don't merely instruct
your child to "clean your room". Younger kids can be
especially intimidated by this type of instruction.
Break down your expectations into specifics. For
example, start out by having your child pick up all
the balls and put them in the ball container or put
the cars in the car basket. This way, your child
won't become too overwhelmed.
Maintain the expectation
that your child needs to clean up one game completely
before getting out another. For example, pick up the
markers before getting out the board game.
If your child doesn't pick
up her toys in a timely manner, put them in a
special box labeled with a day of the week. When a
parent has to pick up the toys and put them in this
special box, the child won't get the toys back until
that day of the week. For example, if it's Saturday
and the box is labeled the "Thursday Box", any toy
that goes into the box stays there until Thursday.
Follow through with this or it won't work. If you
give the toys back sooner, this method won't be
Last but not least, praise, praise, praise....catch
your kids being good and praise them for picking up