September 30, 2014

How to Train your Toddler to Pick up Their Toys

Clean up Clean Up

I'm seeing a parenting theme in my posts this week.

Please don't think I'm an expert in parenting because I am soooooo NOT. Trust me, this parenting gig is hard. SO hard! And I often get it wrong….not just daily, more like hourly.

Ok so after many, many…..many months of trying to get the girls to pick up their toys, I think I've finally figured it out!

It's so simple.

Are you ready to hear what it is?

Ok.

Here it is.

A timer.

Duh.

How many of you use a timer for yourself for tasks? I know I do. I have to. I get distracted otherwise.  So why not use it for your kids?

One night, out of desperation (again with the desperation…see? Parenting. Hard.) I downloaded a (free) timer app for kids on my iPad and you know what? IT WORKED!

Since the girls have no concept of time I found an app that uses a picture that is slowly uncovered as time passes. It also plays music…which can be annoying but if my kids are picking up their toys, I can deal.

Here's what I do:

  1. I tell them to get their shopping carts (or you could use a basket or shopping bag…basically anything that they can use to collect their toys.
  2. I tell them to go through the house and any toy that is not in the playroom needs to be collected in their shopping cart and dumped into their playroom.
  3. Then I set the timer for 15 minutes. (I will often tell them where the toys are that need to be collected)
  4. Once they have dumped all of their toys in their playroom, I set the timer again for 15 minutes and tell them to put all of the toys in the floor in their proper places.

Now when I tell them it's time to pick up their toys, they ask, no, beg for the timer.  I have to put it where they can see it because they love trying to guess what picture I have chosen (I recently paid to upgrade the app so I could use other pictures and pictures from my camera roll).

We have been using the timer app for about a month now and I'm happy to say it still works.


Here's a few pointers if you decide to try this….

  • Limit the amount of time to 15 minutes – setting a time over 15 minutes for 2-4 year olds is pointless since they have very short attention spans.
  • Direct them on what to pick up – toddlers get overwhelmed by the big messes they make and don't have a clue where to begin when picking up. Tell them certain things to pick up like "pick up the blocks and put them in their box"
  • Help them pick up – I usually get the girls started and then I go do my own picking up. If I hear them playing or notice they've gotten off task, I go in and get them back on track. Yes, this means you'll do a lot of the picking up but remember, you are training them and one day (hopefully soon) they will be doing it all by themselves!

I hope this helps! If you try it, please let me know if it worked for you.

 

heather

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