Have you ever stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night? Ask any parent about the pain involved with these little plastic bricks.
Have you trampled over your child’s favorite happy meal toy in your heavy winter boots? Those cheap toys shatter into a million tiny pieces.
Even though sometimes I may as well be talking to myself, I have tried to make my children understand the consequences of leaving their toys out everywhere. The bottom line is people get hurt and toys get broken when everything is left on the floor. As any good parent does, you ask your child to clean up their toys. When you check on them, your child is playing or just sitting in the chaos. There is stuff everywhere. Since we live in the land of more than plenty, maybe your child just doesn’t know where to start. Cleaning a whole room can be overwhelming for children and adults. Below are some tips that can help make cleanup time easier on everyone!
- Have your child pick up toys by category.First, ask your child to put away all the cars. Next, clean up blocks and then cars. Keep going in this fashion until all the toys are put away. 2. Use simple systems for storing toys. Bins without lids work great for everyone because there is only one step to putting things away. Dish tubs, inexpensive totes, and laundry baskets from a dollar store make great toy storage. 3. Make life simple. Cut down the amount of toys your children have and cleaning up will be a snap. I recently went through my four year old son’s toys. Does he need 50 hot wheels? I think not. Twenty cars are too many. Does your child really need twenty stuffed animals or dolls? I think you know the answer to this rhetorical question. Are there books on the bookshelf that they have outgrown? Give your child a number to guide the downsizing process. Tell them to pick out ten puzzles, five dolls, fifteen small cars, etc. Then get rid of the rest. 4. Donate, sell, or, rotate extras. Do this immediately so that no one gets anything back out. If you rotate toys put the extras in a storage tote away from children’s reach and put them away immediately.
- Ask relatives and friends to give experiences instead of things. Kids love to go to the zoo, museums, movies, beach, bouncy house, theme park, ice cream parlor, book store, and the list goes on. I Tunes, Google, and other sites have games, music, and videos for children. Grandparents can buy gift cards for these activities at many retail stores and online. When you give experiences you are giving the parents a gift as well.
These tips will help you get a handle on teaching your child to clean up their toys and keeping playrooms a little neater.
Sunshine Fox is a professional organizer who lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with her husband and two boys. She enjoys helping others simplify their lives. Sunshine’s website is www.organizedbysunshine.com