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?
Here it is.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Then I set the timer for 15 minutes. (I will often tell them where the toys are that need to be collected)
- 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.