When children are taught from an early age to pick up their toys after playing, the process becomes routine. Not requiring immediate cleanup when kids are little leads to difficulty later on. Solutions can be achieved, however, at any age. The goal of this article is to both offer advice on how to make very young kids learn to pick up after themselves so the process becomes second nature and how to teach older children the same responsibility even if they have not been required to do so in the past.
Discipline, discipline, disciple. Nothing could be more important when trying to teach kids responsibility for any task or chore. The stricter you are and the earlier you begin with your kids, the greater success you will have in getting them to follow rules as toddlers all the way through their teenage years. Children must have boundaries and they must know that there are consequences for not staying within these parameters. Realizing that you will have to be the bad guy more times than not when your children are young will help you say no and enforce rules much easier.
Picking up their toys is a great chore for young children. They can learn to perform this task as soon as they can walk. Teaching your kids early on that they will not be allowed to play with any other toys or participate in any other fun activities until they clean up their mess is crucial to future success. Parents must enforce the rules so children will learn that they must finish one task before they can move on to another.
Older children may prove a little more difficult in teaching to pick up their toys if they have not been trained to do so from an earlier age. Changing habits is never easy, but it can be done. After all, parents have the right to discipline their kids. First try the above tactic of holding out other toys and activities until they pick up. If you have to physically remove toys, games, TV’s, etc. from your child’s presence don’t be afraid to do so. They should learn quickly that if they want something they will have to do what you want first.
Avoid bribery with your kids at all costs. Don’t promise them a reward for cleaning up their toys. They don’t need to be given something for doing what they are supposed to. If you bribe them once, they will expect something in return for picking up their toys every time. This behavior will create bad habits and will do your kids a great disservice as they get older and find themselves in situations where they must follow rules and regulations.
Although bribery is never a good option, turning cleanup into a game is certainly a great option to try. Time your kids to see how fast they can put their toys away in the same place they found them. Test their number and color skills by asking them to pick up three toys or put away one red toy, or any other fun game you can think of. There is a wide variety of kid’s books, videos and CD’s that teach your kids about putting away their toys. Seeing or hearing their favorite characters preach the merits of picking up their toys will influence your kids to emulate what they see.
Getting your kids to put away their toys is not always a simple task. Obviously the earlier you teach them, the better. It’s okay to set rules for your children. They need discipline at home in order to become fully functioning adults. Knowing how to respect authority and follow guidelines will help kids down the road in social settings such as school and work. Even if your kids don’t learn to pick up early, they can still learn. It’s never too late to start enforcing rules. If your kids complain, stick to your guns as much as you might want to give in to them. Discipline really is best for your children. They will thank you when they’re a little older and wiser.